From: Kyle Dillon (
Date: Mon Nov 09 1998 - 15:52:44 EST

>In a message dated 11/9/98 4:46:30 AM Pacific Standard Time,
><< Kyle, however, wrote: "Wallace's points seem very sound and convincing.
> the footnotes, he lists some of the Biblical passages where PRWTOTOKOS
>to preeminence--1 Chron 5:1; Ps 89:27; Rom 8:29; Rev 1:5." What does the
>phrase "where PRWTOTOKOS refers to preeminence" mean? None of the passages
>referred to indicate a *lexical* meaning for PRWTOTOKOS different from
>one who is born first". Was Wallace using pragmatic implicature rather than
>semantics? >>
>I believe so. In fact, three of the pasages to which Wallace refers have a
>temporal meaning, with preeminence following as a result of the temporal
>priority. The other, Psalm 89:27, is figurative, as shown by the use of
>Also, either Christ is the actual firstborn of God, or someone else is. If
>use of PRWTOTOKOS in Col. 1:15 is figurative, then who is it that Christ
>supplants as firstborn?
>Greg Stafford

It seems that there is a distinction between TOKOS and KTISIS in the Greek
language. The PRWTOKTISIS, according to Genesis 1:1, was Heaven and Earth,
and we could assume the heavenly hosts as well. The PRWTOTOKOS is Christ,
but not in a temporal sense (in which case it would be synonymous with
PRWTOKTISIS). According to the Nicene Creed, the Son of God is "...begotten
not made, of the same substance as the Father...And to those that
say...'before he was begotten he was not'...these the Catholic and apostolic
church anathemizes."

I don't think that there is any way to determine the meaning of PRWTOTOKOS
PASHS KTISEWS on solely grammatical grounds. The different uses of the
genitive are determined by context, not inflection or syntax. And in
Colossians 1:15, the context makes one thing clear: All things were created
in Christ, so Christ is the firstborn of every creature. There is no doubt
that PASHS KTISEWS is a genitive of subordination, but is it also partitive?
It seems to me that such an interpretation would be in contradiction with
the following clause in verse 16. How can Jesus be the first member of
creation if EN AUTWi EKTISQH TA PANTA? And perhaps the strongest argument is
that this phrase is found within a causal clause, linked to the preceding
verse by hOTI. Why is Christ firstborn? Because he was instrumental in the
making of all created things.

Kyle Dillon

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:07 EDT