“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” (Colossians 1:15)
A widespread cult heresy based on this verse claims that Jesus Christ was not eternal but merely the first being created—perhaps an angel—before becoming a man. Note, however, that the verse does not say He was the “first created of every creature” but the “first born of every creature,” and there is a big difference. In fact, the very next verse says that “by him were all things created” (v. 16). He was never created, for He Himself is the Creator. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).
He is “born” of God, not “made,” the “only begotten Son” of God (John 3:16). “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). The eternal Father is omnipresent, and therefore invisible, inaudible, inaccessible to the physical senses. The eternally existing Son is the “image” of the invisible Father, the One who declares, reveals, embodies His essence. Although He is always “in the bosom of the Father,” yet He is eternally also “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Hebrews 1:3). He is the eternal, living Word, which was “in the beginning with God” (John 1:2), and which “was God” (John 1:1).
Thus, the phrase “firstborn of every creature” in our text can be translated literally as “begotten before all creation.” The eternal inter-relationship of the Persons of the Godhead is beyond human comprehension in its fullness, and the terms “Son” and “begotten” are the best human language can do to describe it. Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, is the only begotten, eternally generated, Son of the Father, forever shining forth as the image of the otherwise invisible God. HMM