ON COLOSSIANS 1:16
Does Colossians 1:16 teach that the Lord Jesus Christ created all things? The verse clearly said, “For by him all things were created…all things were created by him and for him” (Col. 1:16 NIV)
Nowhere in the verse that says “Christ is God” and “Jesus created all things.” What the verse actually said:
“For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” (Col. 1:16 NIV)
It is only the interpretation of those who believe that Jesus is God that this verse teaches that “Jesus created all things.” According to their interpretation, the phrase “For by him all things were created” means that “Jesus Christ created all things.”
However, their interpretation contradicts the teachings of the Bible. The Bible explicitly tells us who is the God who created all things. In Isaiah 45:18, this is what we could read:
“For thus says Yahweh who created the heavens, the God who formed the earth and made it, who established it and didn't create it a waste, who formed it to be inhabited: I am Yahweh; and there is no one else.” (Isa 45:18 World English Bible)
The Bible clearly said that the God “who created the heavens…who formed the earth and made it” is “Yahweh.” And the Bible also made explicit proclamation if who “Yahweh” is. In Exodus 3:15 this is what “Yahweh” said about Himself:
“God said moreover to Moses, ‘You shall tell the children of Israel this, 'Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations.” (Ex 3:15 WEB)
God said to Moses, “You shall tell the children of Israel this, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Thus, the God who created the heavens and formed the earth is the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” The Bible has explicit declaration that clearly proves the Lord Jesus Christ is not the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” this is what the Bible says about Jesus:
“The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.” (Acts 3:13 NKJV)
It is clear in the Bible that the Lord Jesus is the Servant of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Thus, those who say that Jesus is the God who created all things contradict the teachings of the Bible that the God who created everything, who made the heavens and the earth, is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Lord Jesus is His Servant.
Therefore, those who say that "Jesus created everything" misinterpreted Colossians 1:16. What does Colossians 1:16 meant in saying “For by him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth…”? Let us see first the Greek Text of Colossians 1:16 (the New Testament is originally written in Greek):
Take note that what some English Bible (like NIV and KJV) translated as “For by him” is “hoti en auto” in the Greek Text. Actually, the literal translation of “hoti en auto” is “For in him.” This is the reason why there are versions of the Bible that translated Colossians 1:16 as “For in him” like the American Standard Version:
“For in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him.” (Colossians 1:16 ASV)
“For IN him were all things created” is much appropriate rendition of the first part of Colossians 1:16 than “For BY him all things were created.”
What does “for in him were all things created” means? The last part of colossians 1:16 explains this. The last part of the verse said, “all things have been created through him, and unto him.” Take note of the difference between NIV and ASV.
NIV (and also KJV) rendered the last part as “all things were created BY him and for him.” While ASV rendered it as “all things have been created THROUGH him, and unto him.”
This part of Colossians 1:16 is "ta panta di' autou" in the Greek Text. According to the book Learn to Read Greek New Testament, p. 116, when the Greek word “dia” followed by a Greek word in genitive case, although it can be translated as “by,” however, the word “through” is more appropriate and this means “intermediary.”
The Greek “di’ autou,” the Greek word “autou” is in genitive case, and di’ is a contraction of the Greek word “dia.” Thus, the ASV’s “all things have been created THROUGH him, and unto him” is more appropriate rendition than NIV’s “all things were created BY him and for him” of the Greek’s "ta panta di' autou."
Applying the Greek rules, “dia” in “di' autou” (“through him”) means “intermediary.” The word “intermediary” means “mediator” according to Merriam dictionary, p. 266. Indeed, Christ is the mediator between the one true God and man:
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5 NIV)
Even Bible Scholars attest to this. This is what the book Bible knowledge Commentary states:
“The third characteristic of Christ is that by Him all things were created. In fact all things were created by Him (di' autou, instrumental Cause) and for Him (eis auton, final Cause), and in Him (en auto-) they hold together (He is the constituting or conserving Cause). Christ is not only the One through whom all things came to be, but also the One by whom they continue to exist. Two other New Testament verses parallel this description of Christ: "Through Him all things were made" (John 1:3), and Christ the Son is the One "through whom [the Father] made the universe" (Heb 1:2). The Father, then, is the ultimate Source (efficient Cause), and the Son is the mediating Cause of the world.” (Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries.)
This is the reason why Wuest rendered Colossians 1:16 as follows:
“Because in Him were created all things in the heavens and upon the earth, the visible things and the invisible ones, whether they are thrones or lordships or principalities or authorities. All things through Him as intermediate agent and with a view to Him stand created.” (Col 1:16 Wuest)
Thus, Colossians 1:16 does not teach that Christ created all things, but that all things were made through Him and for Him “as an intermediate agent” or as the mediator between God and man.