The Watchtower does not believe that Jesus is God, so it concludes that he must be a created being.

Here are the two primary Bible passages they use in support of this claim, along with my suggestions as to how to answer them.

Colossians 1:15

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…” (Watchtower translation)

 In its book, Reasoning From the Scriptures, p. 408, the Watchtower goes on to say:

Trinitarians say that “first-born” here means prime, most excellent, most distinguished; thus Christ would be understood to be, not part of creation, but the most distinguished in relation to those who were created. If that is so, and if the Trinity doctrine is true, why are the Father and the holy spirit not also said to be the firstborn of all creation? But the Bible applies this expression only to the Son. According to the customary meaning of “firstborn,” it indicates that Jesus is the eldest in Jehovah’s family of sons… Before Colossians 1:15, the expression “the firstborn of” occurs upwards of 30 times in the Bible, and in each instance that it is applied to living creatures the same meaning applies—the firstborn is part of the group. “The firstborn of Israel” is one of the sons of Israel; “the firstborn of Pharaoh” is one of Pharaoh’s family; “the firstborn of beast” are themselves animals. What, then, causes some to ascribe a different meaning to it at Colossians 1:15? Is it Bible usage or is it a belief to which they already hold and for which they seek proof?

The Watchtower states its position on page 41 of the its book What Does the Bible Really Teach: “There is something else that makes this Son special. He is the only begotten Son. This means that Jesus is the only one directly created by God. Jesus is also the only one whom God used when He created all other things. (Colossians 1:16)”

You can point out to Jehovah’s Witnesses that in the Bible the word “firstborn” often refers to preeminence, not order of creation. Show them that King David was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons, so he was the last son born to his father, not the first (1 Samuel 17:12-14). Nevertheless, in Psalm 89:27, Jehovah says that he “will also appoint him [David] my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth.” Here, “firstborn” obviously means “preeminent,” not “first one created.” Likewise, point out that Ephraim was Joseph’s second son (Genesis 41:52), yet in Jeremiah 31:9, Jehovah says, “I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.”

If we substitute for “firstborn” the word “preeminent” in Colossians 1:15-17, we find that it fits the context perfectly: “He is the image of the invisible God, [preeminent] over all creation; For by him all things were created 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. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

In response to the Watchtower’s question as to why the Father and Holy Spirit aren’t also called “the firstborn of all creation,” you can point out that the Colossians passage is focused on the person and work of Christ. It’s not a discussion of the nature of God in general.

You need to be aware that the Watchtower Bible has inserted the word “other” four times in this passage before the word “things” in order to make it appear that Christ was one of the things created. However, the word “other” appears nowhere in the original Greek text. You can point this out to Jehovah’s Witnesses using their own Kingdom Interlinear Translation, which gives the Greek interlined with the English translation.

Concerning the topic of creation, I recommend that you ask one of Jehovah’s Witnesses to read aloud Isaiah 44:24 from the Watchtower translation: “This is what Jehovah says, your Repurchaser, who formed you since you were in the womb; I am Jehovah, who made everything. I stretched out the heavens by myself, and I spread out the earth. Who was with me?’”

Show them John 1:3, which says of Jesus: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. Make sure they understand the point you are making—the Old Testament says that Jehovah stretched out the heavens and earth by himself, but the New Testament says that Jesus did it. Ask, “Based on that, do you see why I believe that Jesus as well as the Father is Jehovah?”

Stress that the verse says that Jehovah did it all by himself, not with the help of anyone else.

 Revelation 3:14

“To the angel of the congregation in Laodicea write: These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God…” (Watchtower translation)

The Christian position is that Christ is the “beginning” of the creation by God in that he is the one who began the creation—that is, he originated it.

You can point out that in Revelation 21:6, God calls himself “the beginning and the end.” That doesn’t mean that he had a beginning or that he will go out of existence some day.

On page 409 of its book Reasoning From the Scriptures, p. 409, the Watchtower argues as follows: “Some take the view that what is meant is that the Son was ‘the beginner of God’s creation,’ that he was its ‘ultimate source.’ But… the logical conclusion is that the one being quoted at Revelation 3:14 is a creation, the first of God’s creations, that he had a beginning. Compare Proverbs 8:22, where, as many Bible commentators agree, the Son is personified as wisdom… [and] is said to be created.”

If Jehovah’s Witnesses bring up the passage from Proverbs, I recommend that you ask them to read the passage aloud. In the Watchtower translation, it says, “Jehovah produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. From ancient times I was installed, from the start, from times earlier than the earth. When there were no deep waters, I was brought forth, when there were no springs overflowing with water.”

I believe the best response to this is to ask, “Don’t Proverbs 22 and 1 Corinthians 1: 24 actually show that Jesus is God? How can a mere creature be the power and wisdom of God? Besides, is wisdom something God created or is it a part of him? Was there ever a time when God was without his power and wisdom?”