The New Testament declares: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:1-3, 14). And other passages affirm that God created all things through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-2).
God the Father is certainly the Creator—with Christ as His Agent. Nevertheless, the fact that Christ did the work of all creation makes Christ the Creator as well (unless we would imagine Him as a mere mechanical tool or power with zero thought or input or creativity in what He was given to do—which we do not). Based on Scripture, the Church of God has specifically proclaimed Christ as the Creator along with the Father in its literature going back more than 60 years.
The fact is, God is the Creator—both the Father and Christ, with Christ executing the will of the Father. If Jesus made everything, then He is the Maker (at the Father’s behest). A maker is one who makes. If Jesus is the One who brought everything out of nothing—as He clearly did—then He is the Creator (again, of course, at the Father’s directive, so that they are both Creator). We’ll see more evidence of this as we examine the matter—along with why it’s so important to understand this properly.
“Remember Your Creators”
Jesus is specifically presented in Scripture as Creator along with the Father.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 tells us to remember our Creator while we’re young. But, as many commentaries acknowledge, this verse literally translated says, “Remember also thy Creators . . .” (Young’s Literal Translation). The word here is plural. Some will argue that this is merely a majestic plural for a singular Creator—just as they argue for the plural forms Elohim and Adonai.
However, we understand that these other words refer to an actual plurality that can be used in a singular way (just as “United States” is plural in form but is used with singular verbs, yet with an actual plurality of states being behind the name).
In any case, the actual word used in Ecclesiastes 12:1 is Creators. So the Bible explicitly acknowledges a plurality of Creators, just as it does a plurality of God Beings. There are two Creators, just as there are two who are God—the One who became the Father and the One who became Christ, the latter following the will of the former.
And again, Scripture says that all created things were created through Christ. This means Christ did the creating. If He did not, what would we call what He did? Made? Built? He called things out of nothing into existence (Psalm 33:6). That is creating. And since He did that, He is Creator. Not exclusively or even primarily, of course, because He was following the will of the One who became the Father. Nonetheless, Jesus shared in the role of Creator along with the Father, though in a subordinate position.
Christ an Assembly-Line Worker?
As an analogy to God creating through Christ, the Church has in the past used the illustration of Henry Ford being the creator of the Ford automobile, though using workmen on an assembly line to put the cars together. This is a valid analogy that was meant to show how the Father is Creator without doing the actual work of creation. It was not meant to deny Christ’s role as Creator, as He was referred to as Creator in the same context.
Of course all analogies break down. In this case, the Word who became Christ was not just an assembly-line worker among many assembly-line workers putting various parts of the creation in place. Rather, Jesus made everything that exists except for Himself and the Father! If Ford automobiles and all their parts were all made and put together by one single person, we would probably be inclined to call that person the maker of the Ford automobile along with Henry Ford himself—especially if this person also had input into how the cars were to be made.
No doubt, the One who became Christ was involved in the planning and design of the universe. As I asked earlier, do we imagine that the Father determined everything with zero input from the Word? You know, God set up headship in the family to follow the pattern of the God-plane relationship. A man does not rule his family with zero input from his wife. He receives counsel from his wife, and the two come to decisions together, with the husband as head having the final say. This is how the Father and Christ rule, to be sure.
Let me give another car analogy. If I take my car to Firestone to be repaired and a particular mechanic who works there repairs my car, who is the repairer of my car? Firestone? Yes. That particular mechanic? Yes. They are both the repairer of my car. If I said that Firestone repaired my car through this particular mechanic, would that mean this particular mechanic was not the repairer of my car? Of course not.
Here’s another analogy. If a Renaissance patron commissioned an artist like, say, Leonardo da Vinci to paint a particular painting with a list of desired details, who would be called the painter of that painting? Most likely the artist, even though both the patron and the artist would have brought it into existence. I bring this up to show that analogies can work at odds from what is trying to be shown. A difference between this scenario and creation is that the patron would not be as involved in the painting as God the Father was in creation. Of course, this brings up the question of how much personal creativity the Word was allowed in creation—and the answer is that we simply do not know because Scripture does not say. Of course, even if every tiny detail had to have the Father’s explicit approval, we would still expect that the Word had at least some input.
The Originator of the Creation
Some might think of the Father exclusively as the Originator or Source of creation. But we must consider Revelation 3:14, where Jesus refers to Himself as the arche of the creation of God. The Greek word here is often translated “beginning”—being the same word used in John 1:1 (“In the beginning [arche] was the Word”). We know Revelation 3:14 can’t mean that Jesus was the first thing created, as He was uncreated. What, then, does it mean?
Other versions translate the word here as “origin” (AMP, GNT, Moffatt, NRSV), “source” (CEV, GW, NABRE, REB), “prime source” (NEB), “primeval source” (LB), “ultimate source” (Cassirer, JB), “originator” (CSB, HCSB, ISV, LEB, NET, TLV), “beginner” (Fenton), and “ruler” (CEB, CJB, ERV, EXB, ICB, NCV, NIV).
The word “ruler” might seem an escape from the conclusion that Jesus is the Source of creation, but it’s not the straightforward meaning. And if Ruler is intended, the sense would be one who begins something, the first cause. Note the first three definitions of arche in Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament: “1) beginning, origin; 2) the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader; 3) that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause.”
So who leads the way in creation? Is it Jesus Christ, as Revelation 3:14 would seem to say, or God the Father? Such a dilemma regarding this verse arises only if we fail to acknowledge Christ as the Creator along with the Father.
The most likely proper translation of Revelation 3:14 is that Jesus is the Originator or Source of creation. But that does not exclude the Father from this role. He is likewise the Originator and Source of creation. This is a role They share as God—both of Them as God being Creator.
We should also note another Greek term derived from arche—the word archegos. This related term is sometimes translated “ruler” or “prince,” but at other times “author,” as in “Jesus, the author [archegos] and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Where some Bible versions translate Peter’s statement in Acts 3:15 as telling people they “killed the Prince [archegos] of life,” other versions have “author of life” (CEB, CJB, DLNT, DRA, ESV, TLB, MSG, NABRE, NASB margin, NIV, RSV, NRSV, TLV, VOICE), “source of life” (CSB, GW, HCSB, ISV), “originator of life” (LEB, NET), “maker of life” (WYC), or “Creator of Life” (MEV). Jesus is the Creator of life!
This scriptural presentation of Christ as sharing in the role of Creator in no way diminishes the Father. The Originator and Source of creation is God—and that includes both God the Father and Jesus Christ. Of course, the Father is supreme in this role. He is the Supreme Being. And Christ was and always is submitted to Him. We are further told that we are to honor the Son just as the Father (John 5:23).
On the other hand, it does diminish Christ to not recognize Him as the Creator He is—to deny Him the honor of His actual role. Jesus was much more than an assembly-line worker in the Father’s creation.
“In Him All Things Consist”
Colossians 1:17 says of Jesus that all things were made “through Him and for Him . . . and in Him all things consist,” including all principalities or angelic powers in the spirit world, making Him preeminent. There are some important things to note here.
First, everything was made not just through Christ but for Him. We should notice that the Eternal (YHWH) God in Isaiah 43:7 tells Israel that all were created for His own glory. What makes sense of this is to realize that the God who was speaking to Israel—who calls Himself the Creator in verse 15—was the One who later became Jesus Christ who was speaking collectively for Himself and the Father. Moreover, all things were made to be put under the rule of Christ, who Himself is under the rule of the Father.
Second, the declaration in Colossians 1:17 that in Christ all things consist means that everything exists because of Christ. If the focus here were on the Father as Creator, it would say that all things exist because of the Father. But it doesn’t, though that’s also true. The focus here is on Christ as the One through whom all was created—that is, on His role as Creator.
Third, this verse states that Christ is preeminent over all principalities or angelic powers by virtue of having created them all. This is quite revealing. The Father could have directly created these principalities Himself, but He did not—He gave that to Christ to do so that Christ would be their Creator and Ruler because of that, with the Father still above Him of course. If Jesus was just an assembly-line worker in the creation process, how would that establish His preeminence over the principalities? Quite certainly, these spirit beings understand Christ to be their Maker, not just a worker in the creation process.
The Maker and Father of Mankind
In Acts 17:28, Paul says to the men of Athens about the true God, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” But is this true of only God the Father? It was just stated in quoting Colossians 1:17 that in Christ all things consist, and Hebrews 1:3 says Christ sustains all things by the word of His power.
Continuing in Acts 17:28, Paul concurs with the Athenian idea that we are God’s offspring. This is by virtue of creation, and not yet by God spiritually begetting people. All human beings are the sons of God by creation in God’s image and likeness on a physical level, Adam being the son of God (Luke 3:38).
So who was the Father of humanity in terms of physical creation? Only God the Father? No, for Jesus also bears the name “Everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6). Consider further that Jesus said He is “the Root and Offspring of David” (Revelation 22:16). That is, He is both the Ancestor and Descendant of David. He is also called the Root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:10; Romans 15:12). How is Jesus the Ancestor of Jesse and David? By being the Father of the human race as the Creator!
Clearly, God the Father is also the Father of the human race as Creator, as Jesus told His disciples that God the Father was His Father as well as their Father before they received the Holy Spirit (John 20:17). Of course, spiritual begettal is of God the Father, though He and Christ then send and supply the Spirit to us, as Scripture attests (John 14:26; 15:26).
Our Creator’s Death to Atone for Our Sins
Finally, we need to recognize, as the Church has long taught, that as the Maker of the human race, Christ’s life was more valuable than the sum total of all human beings. So only His sacrificed life—that of the Creator—could pay the full penalty of sin for all mankind.
If Christ is not our Creator, then how does His sacrifice pay for the sins of all those created? Just because He was a worker in the creation? This does not readily follow.
Clearly this is a very important matter. Let’s hold fast to this wonderful truth we’ve been given—that Jesus Christ is our Creator along with the Father, and that through the sacrificed life of our Creator we can all receive redemption.