Jesus: Uncreated God, yet Begotten Firstborn Son?

Street Theologian
14 min readJan 25, 2024
All images are from Wikimedia Commons

Was Jesus created as God’s Son?

Is Jesus uncreated?

1. Disputed passages?

2. Colossians 1:15–20

3. Hebrews 1:1–14

4. The One who laid the foundations of the earth- Trinity in Isaiah 48?

5. The apaugasma- Jewish binitarianism

6. What begotten and firstborn mean

7. Wasn’t Adam also God’s son?

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On the one hand, there are the passages we covered in our previous posts which point towards Jesus being God in Matthew, Mark and Luke as well as the passages in the Old Testament that point towards a multi-personal Godhead.

Is Jesus GOD in Matthew, Mark and Luke? 20 Key Considerations

Did Constantine INVENT Jesus as God?

Jesus’ Favourite Name for Himself: 3 BIG Implications

Short Conversations: Trinity in the Old Testament?

However, there are passages that refer to Jesus as a firstborn, a Son and Someone who is begotten. Surely, such passages show Jesus did have a beginning, that he is created and that he is not the eternal God? purports:

God created Jesus before creating Adam. In fact, God created Jesus and then used him to make everything else, including the angels. That is why the Bible calls Jesus “the firstborn of all creation” by God.

Not so fast. Let’s take a look at the relevant passages, and explore the context and meaning of words such as firstborn and begotten in the context of Scripture.

Here are the two key passages normally discussed:

Colossians 1:15–20

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Hebrews 1:1–14

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.” But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?


People often love to pick out words such as begotten and firstborn from Hebrews and Colossians 1 to suggest Jesus is not God but ignore the overall points of these passages.

Colossians 1:15–20 describes Jesus as:

  • the image of the invisible God (v.15),
  • creating all things for himself (v.16) echoing Paul’s words in Romans 11:36 that all things are for God and his glory and Isaiah’s words that YHWH does things for his own sake sharing his glory with no one (Isaiah 48:11)
  • holding together or sustaining all things (v.17)
  • being before all that exists (v.17)
  • preeminent (v.18)
  • the beginning (v.18) when God is the first and the last in Isaiah 44:6
  • indwelt by the fullness of God (v.19) echoing Colossians 2:9
  • reconciling and making peace by the blood of his cross (v.20) when Isaiah explains there is no saviour besides YHWH in Isaiah 43:11 and YHWH is the one who blots out sins in Isaiah 43:25

Thus, it is very clear Paul who knew his Old Testament very well equates Jesus with YHWH.

New World Translation

The Jehovah’s Witnesses New World Translation of the Bible, translates the verse of Jesus creating all things (v.16) as creating all other things. This simply ignores the Greek words behind this text. To create all other things, Paul would need to have said ta panta alla but he only says ta panta meaning all things.

Hebrews 1

In Hebrews 1:1–14, Jesus is described as:

  • creating the world (v.2)
  • the radiance of the glory of God (v.3) when Isaiah 48:11 illustrates God shares his glory with no one
  • the exact imprint of God’s nature (v.3)
  • sustaining the world (v.3)
  • worshipped by the angels (v.6) when worship is due to no one but God alone (Exodus 20:3–6, Revelation 19:10)
  • God (v.8), with an eternal throne (v.8) much like the Son of Man of Daniel 7:13–14 which Jesus called himself multiple times including Mark 14:60–64
  • God (v.9), the One who laid the foundation of the earth (v.10)
  • YHWH of Psalm 102 as Psalm 102:25–28 concerning YHWH is applied to Jesus (v.10–12)
  • unchanging and the same (v.12) when YHWH is unchanging in Malachi 3:6
  • the Lord or Adonai of Psalm 110:1 when this verse is quoted in v.13

Much like the author of Colossians, the author of Hebrews illustrates Jesus is God.

Note: Hebrews 1:6 quotes Deuteronomy 32:43 about the angels showing worship but that section of Deuteronomy 32:43 is excluded by the KJV.

King James Onlyism EXAMINED: 16+11 KJV Considerations

Laying the foundation of the world and the Trinity in Isaiah 48?

Hebrews 1:10 refers to Jesus as the One who laid the foundation of the earth.

Interestingly, when we go to Isaiah 48. God who is speaking is the One who laid the foundation of the earth (Is. 48:13). God, who is speaking, will not share his glory with another (v.11), acts for his own sake (v. 9–11), called Israel and is the first and the last (v.12) just as Jesus refers to himself as the first and the last in Revelation (1:17).

Yet. when we go to Isaiah 48:16, we see God who has been speaking was sent by the Lord GOD and his Spirit! The very same Person who laid the foundations of the earth!

Scholars such as Gill, Jamieson and Fausset as well as church fathers such as Origen of Alexandria (though a controversial figure), Jerome and Augustine take this passage as a Trinitarian reference. Nonetheless, there is some ambiguity to it, with scholars such as Calvin and Whybray holding that either part or all of Isaiah 48:16 referred to Isaiah.

The challenge here, however, is there is no clear change in speaker from the One who is the first and the last, laid the foundations of the earth and was sent by God in Isaiah 48:11–16. This would not be the only time YHWH is sent by YHWH in the OT (eg. Zech. 2:7–11; Gen. 19:24).

Before we move on to the meaning of begotten and firstborn let’s look at one more point.


The word used to describe Jesus as the radiance of the glory of God is a very rare term. Heiser notes it only features once in the New Testament (Hebrews 1:3) and once in the Septuagint in a portion, many Jews and Christians today don’t consider part of the canon but which early Christians were still familiar with, namely, the Wisdom of Solomon.

For wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection [apaugasma] of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness. (Wisdom of Solomon 7:24–26 NRSV)

In Wisdom of Solomon chapter 9, wisdom sits by God’s throne.

Given how rare this term was, it would make sense to think the author of Hebrews has wisdom in mind.

Here we see the author of Hebrews is equating Jesus with the Wisdom of God which as highlighted in previous articles, in Jewish binitarian thinking, is a second person of God also equated with the Logos or Word of God.

Proverbs 8

Proverbs 8:22–30 outlines the role of the Wisdom of God in forming the world, illustrating it makes no sense to separate God from Wisdom, with the Wisdom of God being inextricably linked with God himself. To separate God and wisdom, would mean God lacked wisdom when he created wisdom which would make no sense.

Matthew and Luke- Jesus is the Wisdom of God

Luke 11:49 and Matthew 23:34, in conjunction, show Jesus thought he was the Wisdom of God.

Matt 23:34: Therefore I [Jesus] send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town

Luke 11:49: Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute’

Same quote. Same context. Jesus is speaking in one the Wisdom of God in the other. Make up your own mind what this is saying. It is no surprise then that the author of Hebrews called Jesus, the apaugasma, a rare term used to describe the Wisdom of God who amongst some Jewish binitarians was also known as the Logos as outlined in our article on the Trinity in the Old Testament.

James Dunn notes the Wisdom of God was somewhat similar to what Philo called the Logos or Word of God. “What pre-Christian Judaism said of Wisdom and Philo also of the Logos, Paul and the others say of Jesus. The role that Proverbs, ben Sira, etc. ascribe to Wisdom, these earliest Christians ascribe to Jesus.” [James D. G. Dunn, Christology in the Making, 167].


It is crucial to take the words firstborn and begotten in terms of what they mean in the Bible while keeping in mind the grammatical structure of the verse as well as the surrounding context which points to Jesus’ divinity.

Look how firstborn can be used in the Old Testament:

Exodus 4:22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son,

Psalm 89:27 And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.

The context of Psalm 89 is speaking of David and his descendants. Ask yourself who is the firstborn of God, is it Israel or Adam or David or Jesus? David was not the firstborn in his family in a chronological sense and Israel was not the first human that existed. This demonstrates the word firstborn is used to describe special status and not necessarily a literal physical chronologically prior birth.

Besides how can a firstborn be literally born at a point in time if they created all things and are the exact imprint of God?

Greek Grammar

Interestingly from a grammatical perspective in Greek under Wallace’s genitive rule “genitive of subordination” we could read this as firstborn over creation rather than firstborn of creation.

Wallace explains in the Basics of New Testament Syntax: An Intermediate Greek Grammar,The genitive substantive specifies that which is subordinated to or under the dominion of the head noun. Instead of of supply the gloss over or something like it that suggests dominion or priority (p.54).”

Firstborn in Colossians 1 v18 compared to v15?

Verse 18 which speaks of firstborn from the dead is grammatically structured differently to verse 15 which speaks of firstborn over creation.

Again, firstborn in context signifies special status, authority and control over all regardless of whether you translate v15 firstborn of or firstborn over creation (some scholars still take a partitive genitive approach “of creation” rather than a genitive of subordination approach “over creation”).


Again, with the word begotten we need to take it in context.

Psalm 2:7: I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.

Note here, the King of Psalm 2 already existed on the day he was begotten!

Acts 13:29–33: And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’

Here being begotten is tied in with the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus having completed his work. It is not about being physically born.

We see a similar pattern in Hebrews 5:5–10, the same book talks about being begotten twice.

So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Again, being begotten has nothing to do with being physically born or created in this passage.

Given it is the author of Hebrews writing this we should pay extra attention in helping explain Hebrews 1. In Acts 13, being begotten was tied to the resurrection while in Hebrews 5 it is tied to being the source of eternal salvation, being designated as a high priest once Christ’s work was complete. Thus, Jesus was a Son before he was begotten!

Abraham meets Melchizedek

This ties in perfectly with the context of Hebrews 1. Jesus being begotten is contextually tied in with v.3 where Jesus after making purification for sins sits at the right hand of God, mirroring the Son of Man passages of Mark 14:60–64 and Daniel 7:13–14.

We touched on these passages in our articles on the Trinity in the Old Testament and the deity of Christ.


Ok so Jesus is God’s Son, being begotten or firstborn is about a special status and inauguration into Kingship but wasn’t Adam also God’s son? Luke 3:38 says “Adam, son of God.”

Job 1:6 says the sons of God went to present themselves before God and Satan was amongst them. Is being God’s Son really unique to Jesus?

First, we need to note the context of Hebrews and Colossians 1 highlighted earlier which outline the unique role of Jesus as sustaining and creating the world. The Son is even called God in Hebrews 1:8. This is distinct from Adam and the other heavenly beings.

Second, in Mark 13:32 Jesus uses anabasis to distinguish the Son from the angels and humans. This demonstrates Jesus is at a different level to Adam or angelic beings which may have been referred to as sons of God or heavenly beings.

Third, Jesus sits at the right hand of the Power, co-ruling with God. This is a distinct role for Jesus. Daniel 7 only has a throne for the Ancient of Days or the Father and the Son of Man which is what Jesus called himself.

Fourth, Hebrews 1 and 2 emphasise the fact Jesus was on a different level to the angels (eg. Heb. 1:13; 2:9).

Fifth, Jesus is called the monogenes in John 3:16 which has commonly been translated as the only begotten Son. Scholars such as Heiser have made the case this word could be translated unique kind or type of Son meaning Jesus is the unique, divine, true Son of God distinct from any other “son of God” in his very nature.


The contexts of Colossians 1 and Hebrews 1 teach Jesus is God, YHWH of the Old Testament. Being a firstborn represents a special status, not necessarily a literal chronological starting or creation point and being begotten signifies an inauguration into Kingship after the key work is complete. Jesus was a Son before he was begotten.

With all this in mind, who do you say Jesus was? Is he timeless and the source of your salvation? What was the purpose of the work that he completed?

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