(Rev. 3:14) Was Christ a created being?

CLAIM: John writes that Jesus was “the Beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14). Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that this means that Jesus was a created being, and therefore, not God.

RESPONSE: This passage is variously translated:

(NASB) the Beginning of the creation of God.

(ESV) the beginning of God’s creation.

(NRSV) the origin of God’s creation.

(NIV) the ruler of God’s creation.

The word for “beginning” is the Greek word arche. This is the root from which we get our modern term “architect.” Walvoord writes, “As ‘the beginning’ (Gr., arche), He is not the first of creation but He is before all creation.”[1] Robert Bowman writes,

Elsewhere in John’s Gospel and Epistles it always refers to a beginning point in time (John 1:1, 2; 6:64; 8:25, 44; 15:27; 16:4; 1 John 1:1; 2:7, 13, 14, 24; 3:8, 11; 2 John 5, 6), not the first thing in a series. In the Book of Revelation, in fact, arche is used only three other times, and always of God as ‘the beginning and end’ (Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13). Yet Witnesses will rightly deny that God is a first thing in a series of other things.[2]

This fits with other NT passages that teach that Christ created the universe (Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:15, 18). In Colossians 1:18, Paul writes that Jesus “is the beginning (arche).” This is quite significant for two reasons: First, Colossians 1:15-20 describes Jesus as God incarnate and the Creator of all things. Second, the Colossians and Laodiceans both had letters addressed to them, and they were told to exchange their letters (Col. 4:16). Therefore, the Laodiceans would’ve been familiar with this teaching from Paul. Consequently, Mounce writes, “The close geographical proximity of the two cities and Paul’s instructions to Colossae that they exchange letters make it all but certain that the writer of Revelation knew the Colossian epistle.”[3] All of this means that Christ is the “origin of God’s creation” (NRSV) or the “ruler of God’s creation” (NIV).

Moreover, since Christ created the universe, we need to point out that Isaiah 44:24 explicitly states that Yahweh did not delegate anyone else to create the universe (“I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth all alone”). Since God created the universe “all alone,” this implies that Jesus is equal with God himself.

[1] John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Galaxie Software, 2008), 90.

[2] Robert M. Bowman, Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1989), 65.

[3] Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 108.