Jesus Uncreated

Unitarians and other non-Trinitarians, who perceive of Jesus as merely an exalted man, are guilty of idolatry -- not merely because they "worship" the wrong Jesus (cf. 2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:8), though they do, and also the wrong Unitarian-conceived God, though that God does not exist; but because they "worship" a mere man and not God; who Himself confessed that only God is worthy of worship (Ex. 20:4, 5), and to this, even Jesus Himself agreed (Luke 4:8), as did the angel in Revelation (Rev. 19:10; 22:8, 9). If we are to worship only God, then attributing any semblance of "worship" to a mere man is overt idolatry. But Unitarians deconstruct worship to merely "showing respect." That, they confess, is how one can "worship" Jesus while denying that He is God. While bowing down before individuals, in order to show them respect and honor, was a custom in the ancient world; and though this same act is practiced in many cultures today; Unitarians fail to distinguish between showing respect and honor of human beings and a proper worship of God, who is to be sanctified or set apart in a far different manner than merely revering a mortal.

While Lot revered the angels who came to visit him (Gen. 19:1), he did not worship them as God; while Moses revered his father-in-law (Ex. 18:7), he did not worship him as God; while Abigail revered King David (1 Sam. 25:23), she did not worship him as God. Unitarians are obligated to such deconstruction of "worship" in order to avoid the truth that Jesus Christ is God, the eternal uncreated Son of God, and is worthy of worship as God -- God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.


Non-Trinitarians hold that Jesus was the first creature God the Father ever created,1 using and misinterpreting the passage: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." (Col. 1:15 NRSV) The Greek word for "firstborn," prōtotokos, is a compound word referring to the first-born child in a family -- prótos, first, and tokos, child, or offspring. (link) In the ancient Hebrew culture this typically referred to the first-born son. What this text does not teach is that God created Jesus, or that Jesus was the first object (or being, entity) God the Father created. 

Incidentally, some refer to Proverbs 8:22, alleging that God created Jesus, who is thought to be the Wisdom of God, "The LORD created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago." But of course this interpretation is proved ludicrous at best, given that the passage itself explicitly refers to Wisdom as female (Prov. 8:1, 2, 3, 11). Unless Jesus was ontologically female in a biologically male body in His incarnation, the interpretation that Jesus is referred to at Proverbs 8:22 and was thus created by God poses gender-confusion problems that are entirely irreconcilable theologically and biblically. In other words, such an interpretation is implausible.

Jesus is considered the firstborn in God's family because He is the preeminent Redeemer of all those who will by grace through faith in Him become children of God. "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he [Jesus] might be the firstborn within a large family." (Rom. 8:29 NRSV) Jesus is the Head of the Body of Christ, of which all believers are members. He is "the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything." (Col. 1:18, emphasis added) 

Notice that Jesus is called the firstborn again, and the firstborn from the dead. He was not, however, the first to be raised from the dead, since we remember Lazarus being raised from the dead during Jesus' ministry (John 11:43), demonstrating that Jesus has power over death. So we could no more suggest that Jesus was the first one to be created by God than we could admit that Jesus was the first person ever to be raised from the dead. The position of Jesus as the firstborn is, as the NRSV states, the Head or Firstborn within a large family. (Rom. 8:29) This title recognizes that Christ is supreme over all God's creation, the preeminent One who maintains special rights and privileges as of the firstborn son in Jewish culture, above those of any other mortal -- a confession one can only grant proper reference to deity. (cf. Col. 1:18; Ps. 89:27)

Jesus always existed in form as God: "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped [harpazó, to seize, take by force; the same word used to refer to the rapture at 1 Thess. 4:17]" (Phil. 2:5, 6 NASB). Here we have Paul admit that Jesus always existed: (1) that pre-existence noted in the Greek uparchōn, a present active participle better translated "existing and continuing to exist"; i.e., in the form of God He was existing and is continuing to exist; (2) that Jesus always existed in the form of God, and this pre-existence as God was not an eternal reality that He had to seize upon by force, or exploit (NRSV), or use to His own advantage (NIV); (3) rather, Jesus "emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human form" (Phil. 2:7).

This form, morphē, of God, in which Jesus pre-existed, was not merely an image, eikōn, of God, in which we humans are created (cf. Gen. 1:26, 27). Robert Bowman and J. Ed Komoszewski, in their book, Putting Jesus in His Place, rightly contextualize this issue and explain:
It would be better to draw a contrast between Adam, who existed in God's image, and Christ, who existed in God's form. The contrast should be understood in the light of Paul's contrast between Christ's existence "in the form of God" and his subsequent act of becoming a human being when he took "the form of a slave" (v. 7). The "image of God" in human beings refers to their role as earthly, physical representatives of God's rule (Gen. 1:26-30). The "form of God" in which Christ existed refers to his being the heavenly reflection of God's nature and glory [cf. Heb. 1:3].2
Since we hold that Jesus has always existed in form as God, as St Paul explicitly insists at Philippians 2:6, then, as deity, eternal by definition, Jesus is worthy of worship as God.


Christians do not merely revere or honor Jesus Christ as one man worthy of accolades or for mere human accomplishments: we view Jesus as worthy of worship as God. Thomas, one of Christ's disciples, worshiped Jesus as God when he exclaimed to Jesus, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28, emphasis added) Jesus neither corrected Thomas, nor scolded him for failing to reserve his worship for God alone, but received the worship as is right for Him to do as the divine Son of God.

While Jehovah's Witnesses and others are forced to reinterpret Thomas' worship, by suggesting that he called Jesus "Lord," but then referenced "God" to God the Father in heaven, is specious at best. To which view Jamieson-Fausset-Brown note as an "invasion of the supreme divinity of Christ here manifestly taught -- as if it were a mere call upon God in a fit of astonishment -- is beneath notice, save for the profanity it charges upon this disciple, and the straits to which it shows themselves reduced." (link) In other words, this notion is a presupposition in search of warrant, and only displays the desperate attempt at undermining the intent of the disciple.

Moreover, such a view completely ignores -- indeed, it must ignore -- that Jesus is revealed as LORD (YHWH), meaning God, and that to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9, 10, 11). Furthermore, such a view must also ignore the divine claims made by Jesus Himself (Matt. 10:37, 38; 12:58; Mark 3:33, 34; 12:6; Luke 2:41-52; 14:26; John 5:23, 25; 8:28, 38, 58; 10:30, 38; 11:4; 14:10; 18:1-5 with Exodus 3:14-15), as well as His divine relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit (cf. Ps. 2:7; 45:6, 7; 110:1, 2, 3, 4; Isaiah 53:10, 11; Matt. 11:27; 28:18, 19, 20; Luke 22:29; John 5:17, 18; 14:1, 6; 10:28, 30; 14:9; 17:21; Acts 2:34, 35, 36; 1 Cor. 8:6; 12:4, 5, 6; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:8, 9, 10; Col. 1:15, 19; 2:9; 1 Thess. 3:11; 1 Tim. 1:15, 16; 1 John 2:23), which further demonstrates that Jesus Christ, the uncreated and divine pre-existent Son of God, is worthy to be worshiped as preeminent God, God the Son in the Trinity.


1 This ancient pagan Greek heresy originated with Arius, with whom Unitarians agree that, "God resolved to create the world, and so He created first a superior being, which we call the Son or Word, destined to be the instrument of creation. The Son occupies a place intermediate between God and the world, for he is neither God nor part of the world-system. He is before all creatures and the instrument of their creation." This quote by Edmund J. Fortman is found in Robert Morey, The Trinity: Evidence and Issues (Iowa Falls: World Bible Publishers, Inc., 1996), 473.

2 Robert M. Bowman and J. Ed Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2007), 83.


Post a Comment


My photo

My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.