Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jesus' Place and Honor as Firstborn

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  (Col 1:15)

[Paul] touches also on the true doctrine about God.  He [Jesus] bears in visible form the stamp of the one who begot him.  This is what is said by the Lord to Philip, "The one who has me has also seen the Father."  Adam begot in his image, that is, in complete likeness to him.  Image, then, is indicative of oneness in being.  Whereas lifeless images do not have being of those whose images they are, the image that is living and is not susceptible of change has the same nature as the archetype.

Firstborn of all creation.  If only begotten, how firstborn?  If firstborn, how only-begotten?  Actually, he is called only-begotten in the divine Gospels.  So he is firstborn of all creation, not as though being connected with creation but as begotten before all creation.… This is especially true since the divine apostle called him not first-created but firstborn, that is, first.… This is also the way the divine apostle also called the Church the assembly of the firstborn saints—not that they all naturally issued first from their mothers' wombs, but that a greater honor is accorded the firstborn according to law, and so he indicated this honor by use of this name.

Theodoret of Cyrus, "The Letter to the Colossians"

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