Colossians 1:12-18

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BibleNew TestamentColossians

12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by* him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

* See notes below about "by him"; also alternative translations listed at Colossians 1:16.

Before the foundation of the world

The New Testament teaching that the Redeemer, the one "in whom we have redemption" (v. 14), was anticipated before the foundation of the world has important implications for our understanding of Origins, ruling out ideas that the Lord was created as a problem-solving afterthought. See Before the foundation of the world and other passages cited there.

Two creations in the Bible

From How is Colossians 1:15-20 compatible with biblical unitarianism? by Christadelphian Tom Gaston.

. . . The Trinitarian interpretation of this passage is based upon the assumption that Paul is talking about the same creation as referred to in Genesis and thereby it is assumed that Jesus must be the Creator (i.e. God). Even if Paul were talking about the Genesis Creation then Jesus would not be the Creator since Paul says things were created ‘by [en] him’ and ‘through [dia] him’. Such terms would make Christ the instrument (or the purpose) of creation, not the initiator. Yet we find within the writings of Paul talk of another creation: the New Creation.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,

24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Though it may seem a little strange to the modern reader, it is clear that Paul uses creation language to talk about the spiritual re-birth of the believer. In fact, this passage is more easily understood as referring to the New Creation. For instance ‘thrones or dominions or principalities or powers’ are not the sort of things that Genesis 1 talks about God creating . . . 

Cited by Jonathan Pogson here as an example of respecting the witness of the natural world; and here when arguing against an Adam-based faith.

Literal Reading

This passage is cited here as "accepting" events of early Genesis as literally true. See references here. —BP

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