The Firstborn

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Colossians 1:15-20

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation . . . He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead. (vv. 15, 18)

How is it that we know who God is and what God is like? God is, after all, invisible. While God can be known in countless ways, for centuries Christians have insisted that God is known preeminently through Jesus Christ. For Christ is the image of the invisible God. To know God, look to Christ.

But who is Christ? In singing poetry Paul declares that Christ is the firstborn of all creation. Firstborn not in the sense of the first being to be created, but as the one through whom all creation comes to be. Christ’s reach is cosmic in scope. Nothing escapes his creative touch. And Christ is the firstborn from the dead. He is the firstfruits of those who have died, the first among those who are dead and will be raised.

So creation and redemption are two acts of one divine drama – a drama in which Christ has pride of place. God creates and redeems in and through Christ. So redemption is not escape from creation but its transformation – in and through Christ, the firstborn, the “icon” of God.


O Lord, for your Son, the firstborn of both creation and redemption, we give you great thanks.