Is Christ Jesus Created? Correcting Jehovah Witnesses Understanding of John 1:3
In this article I will expose the wrong extra-meaning behind Jehovah’s Witnesses Watch Tower society implication of the greek word choris(apart from) on John 1:3 to affirm their theological presupposition view of Christ Jesus as being a creature namely the Archangel Michael.
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3 ESV)
All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.(John 1:3 New World Translation)
panta egeneto di autou kai choris autou oude hen egeneto ho genonen(Greek John 1:3)
The word used in Greek to which we have without/apart from rendered from, is choris. Strong number 5565.
How to correct the Meaning behind John 1:3
1. Norms of Language
Robert H Stein defines norms of language as the range of meaning allowed by the words of a text.
Step one: Obtain the range of meanings allowed by the word choris. Greek-English Dictionary of New Testament will be of help. In my case I will use The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible 21st Century Edition:
Choris as adverb; by itself, separately: as improper preposition; without, besides apart from, independent from.
Why Norms of Language? Because I want to clear different Bible version rendering of the word used. In this case NTW and ESV (and other versions) are correct in rendering the word choris to without and apart from
2. Norms of Utterance
Stein defines Norms of Utterance as the specific meaning that the author has given to a word, phrase, sentence and the like in a text.
Step two:What is the specific meaning of choris that John gives in John 1:3. It is here were Jehovah’s Witnesses imposes their theology which differ from Orthodox Christians.
Jehovah’s Witness Meaning Behind John 1:3:
JW understanding of John 1:3 is that apart from himself, Jesus created every other things. Jehovah(God the Father) created only Jesus, then Jesus created every other creatures(beings).
Jehovah’s Witnesses use apart from to mean Jesus excluded(not including Jesus because Jesus is Jehovah’s only creation).
Here is how the JW imposes John chapter one verse three to mean:
All things came into existence through him, not including himself(Jesus) not even one thing came into existence. Every other things come to existence through Jesus except Jesus himself.
In this way Watch Tower Society theology of a created Jesus stay intact. But why do JW want so desperately for the verse to mean not including Jesus?
This is why:
- If Jesus is a created being, and that he created everything thing that came to existence.
- And that Jesus came to existence(JW theology of Christ Jesus being an archangel Michael)
- Then Jesus created himself according to Watch Tower theological chain of reasoning.(which is absurd)
So, not including Jesus as the supposed meaning for choris(apart from) seems a good hide ground to make sure that the Watch Tower Theology claim of Christ Jesus is not damaged.
How desperate is Watch Tower Theology of a created Jesus?
So desperate that JW New World Translation goes farther and add their own words to make sure that Christ Jesus stays a created being in their bible . One good example is in Colossian 1
“because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exists.” (Colossian 1:16-17 The New World Translation – Emphasis added)
The word other(allos or heteros) is not found in any existing Greek manuscripts. Jehovah’s Witnesses NWT Bible translation of 1961 had to add this word to emphasis their presupposition of a created Jesus.
It is just one word “other” you may say, but surprisingly it brings totally different meaning of Colossian 1:15-16. Here is how:
- I love all ice-creams
- I love all other ice-creams
With the first sentence, I love all ice-creams, all ice-creams included but in the second sentence, I love all other ice-creams except a certain ice-cream. All ice-cream except a certain one which is excluded(not included).
In John 1:3 NTW among other versions translated choris as apart from which is correct rendering but Watch Tower society teaches its follower a false and wrong extra-meaning behind apart from.
Apart from Jesus, Other than Jesus himself to whom Jehovah(God the Father) himself created, Christ created everything else.
Is This True? Correcting the Behind Meaning of John 1:3
No, not true: Why so? Can you show that it is not true that apart from in John 1:3 to mean everything else but Christ Jesus himself?
One way of finding the norms of utterance is to look for other places where the same word is used in a close or identical way. It is advised to start in order of the same book, same author but in different books, same kind of Genre, and on. In this way we use the Bible to translate the Bible. From clear verses to non-clear ones.
Brilliantly enough the author of the Gospel according to John uses the same word in the same way in John 15:5
Using of John 15:5 to find the Norms of Utterance for John 1:3
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:4-5 ESV)
I am the vine, YOU are the branches. He that remains in union with me, and I in union with him, this one bears much fruit; because apart from me YOU can do nothing at all.(John 15:5 NWT)
ego eimi he ampehlos hymeis ta klemata ho menon en emoi kago en auto houtos pherei polyn karpon hoti choris emou dynasthe poiein ou ouden(Greek John 15:5)
I added verse 4 in the ESV so as to get the context to make us understanding what is going on in this verses.
From the context, Jesus is teaching his followers that without him/apart from him no one can bear fruits. Nothing can please God the Father without it being through Christ Jesus. This is why Jesus said he was, is and will be the Only Way to the Father.(John 14:6) and also why we pray in Jesus’ name(Christ Jesus authority).
No Jesus, No Fruits. Apart from Jesus No Fruits. Without Jesus No Fruits. Now from this “apart from” Jesus means without Jesus there is nothing we can do(fruit) to please God the Father.
Back to John 1:3: No Jesus, No any created being that was created. This destoyes Watch Tower Society theology, why? because they teach Jesus Christ as a created being.(Arianian Heresy).
No Jesus, No ANY creature that was made, then it is absurd since Jesus according to JW is a creature that was made by Jehovah himself(God the Father).
- If No creature that was made was made but through Christs Jesus.
- then Christ Jesus can not be among creature that were created.
Who is Christ Jesus then?
Christ is the creator of ALL creatures that has being created.
How is Christ Jesus the Firstborn? Correcting Jehovah Witnesses’ Understanding of Colossians 1:15-20
Here are four good questions to ask the Door to Door JW when they bring up John 1:3 and created Jesus on your door but do this with love, gentleness and respect as 1 Peter 3:15-16 calls as to::
- Why did Jehovah God create a creature to create other creatures?
- No creature can redeem other creatures, If Jesus is a creature, even if a special creature, how can he redeem us?
- If Jesus was in the beginning, when did Jehovah create Jesus?
- If Proverb 8 comes up to show that Jehovah created Wisdom, then ask was Jehovah without wisdom before creating wisdom?
Now what? Why does it matter? It matters everything, If Jesus is a creature, then we are not saved, we are to face the wrath of God. The Passover Lamb’s blood is not on our doors as the angels of the Lord comes to execute God’s wrath as it was on Exodus 12:1-13 in times of Moses.
Christ Jesus is God the creator of all things, My Lord and my God and my only Redeemer, the perfect Lamb of God.
Books to Have:
A Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible: Playing by the Rules Robert H. Steing.
How To Read The Bible For What It Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart
Classes To Take:
Hermeneutics(Science of interpreting the bible) and New Testament Survey and Theology degree level classes for free on Biblicaltraining.org