QUESTION: John 1:3 says in reference to Christ, “All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence”. How could Christ have been a created being if ALL things came into existence through him? If Jesus was a created being, then according to John 1:3 Jesus would have had to create himself.
Sometimes little words are very important in determining the meaning of statements. Take the word “through” for example. On dictionary.com the word has various shades of meaning and can be used as an adjective, adverb, conjunction or as a preposition. As it appears at John 1:3 it is a preposition. The basic meaning conveyed has to do with being an agent of God, a conduit, by means of which God creates. This simple truth is conveyed in Genesis where God invited an unnamed entity to join him in the act of creation, when he said: “let us make man in our image.”
Other passages make this more clear. For example, Colossians 1:13-16 explains Jesus’ role this way: “He rescued us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, by means of whom we have our release by ransom, the forgiveness of our sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him.”
“He” in the opening words is in reference to God. Paul indicates that Jesus is the image of God, the beloved Son and God gave him the privilege of creating everything else. It should be evident though, at least to reasonable people, that Jesus did not create himself. God made him as the beginning of all creation.
We also see the similar phrase as in John 1:3, which says that “all things have been created through him.” But Paul also stated that creation came about “by means of him.”
Obviously if God was the sole agent there would be no need to explain the role of the Son. But, Paul’s explanation enables truth-seekers to understand why Jesus is called the only-begotten Son of God. He was the only thing or person that God directly created, because God then empowered his firstborn to create everything else. That is why the Scriptures say “through him” and “by means of him” God created all things.
By way of illustration, suppose someone sends a valuable gift package to you through the postal service. On the receiving end you could say that the package was delivered through the post office or by means of an agent working in the employ of the postal system. But would you consider the deliverer of the package as being the giver? Would you send the delivery person a thank you note for his/her wonderful generosity? Probably not.
In the opening words of his letter to the Hebrews Paul again explains the relationship between God and Jesus, saying: “Long ago God spoke to our forefathers by means of the prophets on many occasions and in many ways. Now at the end of these days he has spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power.”
Notice that Jesus has been appointed by God as the heir of all things. Nobody appoints God to anything, do they? Does God inherit his own creation? Of course not.
Furthermore, Paul reiterates that it was “through” the Son God made the systems of things. Not only that, to underscore the fact that Jesus is in God’s image Paul emphasized that Jesus is “the exact representation” of Jehovah’s very being. Going back to Genesis, that is why God said “let us make man in our image.”
As the firstborn of all creation Jehovah made his Son exactly like himself and by means of him God created everything else. And because God is so generous he gave everything to his first son, making him heir of all things.
The real question is, why is that simple truth so hard for churchgoers to accept?