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CHRISTALAYA BIBLE STUDY: COLOSSIANS 1:15-17 Growing Up Into the Fullness of Christ

A Controversial Poem  

What is a poem? What happens when we interpret a poem as though it were prose? What happens if we push a metaphor too far?

Image of the Invisible God 

Image  Genesis

1 – Humans made to be the image of God  Jesus is the true human being – the image of God 

Invisible  Only

something invisible ‘needs’ an image

Firstborn of all Creation 

Firstborn  The

inheritance is his as firstborn

Of all creation  Jesus

is above creation, not a part of it  All of creation is subject to him

In him all things were created 

In him  Not

‘by’ him as in the NIV! What is suggested here is not ‘agency’ but ‘atmosphere’  By our rebellion all creation ended up being ‘not in him’ – and we too became like fish out of water

‘All things…’ 

Spatial  The

heavens and the earth

Optical  Visible

and invisible

Political  Thrones

(seats of power), powers (political structures), lords (persons in power), authorities (capacity to act)

Through, for, and before him 

All things were created through him  Jesus

and for him  Jesus

is the agent of creation

is the goal of creation

He is before all things  Not

a mere chronological priority  But also supremacy

In him all things hold together 

Jesus is  the

glue that keeps things from falling apart  the grease that keeps things running smoothly  the mechanism that keeps things moving precisely  the fuel that keeps things going steadily

Heresies arising from vv. 15-17 

Docetism - Jesus only appeared to be human  The

Socianism Jesus was the first created being who then created the rest of creation  The

 

image of the invisible God

firstborn of creation

These are not issues that Paul was refuting! They are later issues arising from these verses.

Views refuted by Paul in vv. 15-17 

Jesus was not fully human  The

image of the invisible God  A refutation from a Jewish perspective fueled a heresy from a Greek perspective! 

Faith in Jesus is world denying  In

him all things were created  In him all things hold together

Colossians 1:15-17  

First part of the Christ hymn

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