Continued from Part 10
Jesus as an instrument of the Creator
Even the authors of John, Colossians, and Hebrews, who elevate Jesus to a point where he is viewed as the medium through whom things are done, do not claim that he is the Creator or part of a triune deity. They consider him the supernatural instrument through which the Creator works:
All things came into being through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into being. (John 1:3)
For in him all things were created in the heavens and upon earth, visible and invisible, whether lordships or governments or authorities. All things have been created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)
In these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the ages. (Hebrews 1:2)
Do the preceding quotations from the New Testament show oneness of substance and coequality within the christological concept of a triune deity? On the contrary, they show that the various members of the so-called Trinity could not be considered one or coequal. These authors did not view Jesus as equal to God, but rather as the being through which God relates to His creation.
The Jewish Scriptures inform us that only God, who is “from everlasting to everlasting,” is eternal, and has no beginning (Psalms 90:2). In contrast, the New Testament refers to Jesus as, “the beginning [arche] of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14). Revelation’s author does not imply that Jesus always existed. The word “beginning” expresses the idea of a starting point in time. This clarifies John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word,” referring to the beginning of creation. John does not state that Jesus was eternally with God, only that he existed for an unspecified time before being used as the means through which God’s creative works were accomplished. It is only after creation began that John’s Jesus became God’s spokesman, the Word. The suggestion that Jesus is the author of the creation, and in that sense the beginning, does not accord with the meaning of the word arche. The claim that arche means the originating source of creation has no New Testament support. New Testament usage demonstrates that arche is not used in Revelation 3:14 in the sense of causing anything to come into being, but rather as a reference to the first thing created by God.
Albert Barnes writes, concerning the Greek word arche, “beginning” or “origin”:
The word properly refers to the commencement of a thing, not its authorship, and denotes properly primacy in time, and primacy in rank, but not primacy in the sense of causing anything to exist. . . . The word is not, therefore, found in the sense of authorship, as denoting that one is the beginning of anything in the sense that he caused it to have an existence.2
2 Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, Grand Rapids: Kregel