Christians should make the most rational understanding of the term “firstborn.” Status, and not time, should dictate the nature of Jesus Christ as the firstborn. Several groups of people have beliefs contrary to Christianity. For instance, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus Christ was God’s first creation, while Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is humanity’s eldest brother since he was the son of God and one of his goddess wives (Lutzer 20).
Christianity disapproves both views even though the aforementioned belief systems justify themselves using scriptures in the Bible as Colossians 1:15, which refer to Jesus as the commencement of God’s creation of the universe (Lutzer 25). To the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus was the first creation of God as he was creating the universe. To the Mormons, Jesus Christ is God’s first creation through procreation. However, this is not the case since Christ’s “firstborn” nature is similar to the situation of Jacob and Esau in the Bible. Even though Jacob was younger than Esau was, he was the firstborn son (Lutzer 30).
When placed in a Christian context, Jesus Christ as the firstborn should denote a sense of leadership. Jesus Christ is God without qualification; only through Him did God enter humanity (Lutzer 33). He made it possible for human beings to fellowship with God. Through Him, there was forgiveness of sin and the promise of immortality after death. Since Jesus Christ was the true epitome of a perfectly ethical human life, he is the “firstborn” in the sense that he provided an example of how humanity should co-exist. In fact, the life of Jesus Christ sums up what Christianity is all about; to follow the example he set in complying with God’s commandments.
The best response Christians can give to the interpretation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons regarding the nature of Christ as the firstborn should have the intense explanation of the trinity (Boyd and Paul 112). Christians should make the people with different belief systems understand that Jesus is fully God and fully man at the same time. Jesus shares the same essence as God the Father. The deity of Jesus and his incarnate nature are inseparable. Jesus’ intellectual and physical growth was in every way similar to that of a man as indicated by scriptures as Luke 2: 52 (Boyd and Paul 112).
Moreover, Jesus, like any other man, had to be entirely dependent on His father (God the Father). The fact that Jesus prayed to God the Father (Mathew 26: 39), submitted to Him, and remained dependent on him up to the time of his death proves Jesus’ incarnate nature. As man, Jesus also underwent temptation (John 2: 13) as God the Father tried to prove that Jesus is more powerful than the devil and that man, through God’s help, can overcome temptations (Boyd and Paul 112).
Like a human being, Jesus died. However, this does not mean that God died. Rather, it means that physically, the human soul and body of Jesus separated thus he left his incarnation. Spiritually, the man part of God separated from the God part. Thus in his life, Christ united God and man by being both man and God and in his death, he reconciled man to God and reclaimed his position as part of the Godhead in trinity (Boyd and Paul 112).
Therefore, the death of Christ symbolized how Jesus left his man form and became God again. If Jesus were just part of God’s creation, he would not have the ability to save humanity from sin since only God bears the ability of reconciling humanity to himself. Since God needed a ransom to cover for man’s transgressions, he had to sacrifice himself through his demystification. If Jesus were just a man, then he would not have received all the worship and prayers he did during his life without fear and embarrassment since this was the utmost form of blasphemy in that age of time.
Boyd, Gregory A, and Paul R. Eddy. Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2009. Print.
Lutzer, Erwin. The Doctrines that Divide. Grand Rapids, Mich: Kregel, 1998. Print.