The Firstborn of Creation • Firstborn Ep. 10

[Music] We've come to the end of our series Exploring the theme of the firstborn we Started in Genesis and we've worked our Way through the biblical story and today We land the plane in the New Testament Letters in Colossians Paul calls Jesus The image of the invisible God the Firstborn over all creation which is a Cool title but what does it mean so when He says the firstborn of creation he Doesn't have in mind that Jesus was born That is came into existence at some Point first born here is describing a Status or an identity he doesn't say Jesus is in the image of God what he's Saying is when he reads Genesis 1 he Sees the pre and pre-human Jesus as Being the image that humans are the Image of so Jesus the firstborn of Creation is the image of the invisible God and the image humans were made to be Which means Jesus shows us who God is And Jesus reveals to us what it means to Be truly human even though he's like a New Adam he's actually the first real Human if what it means to be human is to Be one with the love of the Divine Father then there actually wasn't ever Any humans before Jesus That's putting it provocatively but I Think to say Jesus is the image of God The second Adam who is actually like the First Adam Paul says that Jesus is the

Firstborn among many siblings which Means we have the opportunity to claim New identities for ourselves as people Who are loved by God dignified and Chosen by God regardless of any Merit Others see in us or that we see in Ourselves Jesus unique identity as the Cosmic Eternal Divine firstborn son is He is that one God is that one God's the Most special unique thing in all of Reality But what if being special and loved is Not a zero-sum game what if we are all Embodiments of that Divine image and Worthy of cosmic dignity and love that Is the whole story leading to Jesus we Are all invited to see who we really are As God's special children Today Tim Mackey and I are talking about How the identity of Jesus as the cosmic Firstborn defines what it means to be Human I'm John Collins and you're Listening to Bible project podcast Thanks for joining us here we go [Music] Hello Tim yeah hey John hello is this The last episode in this series it could Be but you know you never know you never Know you never know I have like three or Four things that we could talk about but We might only get through one I don't Know what we're gonna see all right We'll see what happens yeah we are Though at the tail end of a series we're

Calling the firstborn Which in some ways is not a helpful Title but in some ways it is especially As we maybe have this conversation today Yeah you did a couple summaries in the Last few episodes maybe I'll I'll give It a shot wonderful yeah so God the god Of the universe Who created everything Has shared his dominion and power with His creatures namely the Spiritual Beings on day four who Rule the Sky But more important to maybe us and our Lived experience Is the on day six God creates humans and Calls us these dirt creatures His Image To rule the land and the creatures of The land in the sky and the Sea and this Is a pretty like big deal to be the Image of God in fact it's such a big Deal that the Spiritual Beings who are More glorious creatures I mean these are Like the host of Heaven the Angels They're like they're Divine majestic Creatures I'm not sure if this is kind Of the right move in a way yeah and this Is a lot of subtext but this is Something we walk through in episode two Of this series is that there's a sibling Rivalry and as you read through the Whole Bible not only is like a lot of The problems that happen because of this Rivalry between Spiritual Beings and Humans but then there's a kind of Unholy

Alliance that happens of rebellion Between rebellious Spiritual Beings and Humans but at the heart of it is that The ones who were first the Spiritual Beings the firstborn In a sense are scandalized that God Would show his generosity and favor and His attention to a more lowly creature The humans why why would God do that Like why isn't God just like hey The first the most powerful like they Get the best seat in the house what is It about God that he undermines that From the very beginning yeah yeah and Then the spiritual being in the form of The serpent deceives the humans to not Trust God and His generosity and now We've got the problem yeah undergrading The whole story of the Bible is how can We actually rule on God's behalf when We're in Rebellion against him and we Can't trust him and we can't trust his Generosity and and we create violence And so that's where God says look I'm Going to solve this through a seed of Humanity a seed of the woman is going to Come crush evil set things right and so Now as we're waiting for the seed we're Wondering where is this human going to Come from what family yeah and God is Going to continue to to winnow down and Choosing families from which this Messiah the seed is going to come and he Always chooses an encounter

He doesn't choose the firstborn he Doesn't choose the most powerful he Chooses the late Comer The least expected and while doing this The same underlying issue ensues Humanity doesn't know what to do With God's mode of dispensing his Generosity yeah we're scandalized by it And the most powerful the firstborn is Like hey why did you overlook me the one Who's the late Comer the one who Shouldn't have been chosen that is Chosen often doesn't live up to what They should have done with that Responsibility and a lot of the conflict In the Bible comes from these Essentially sibling rivalries yeah the Human conflicts come the human conflicts Yeah which then are connected to the Spiritual exactly yeah they're a mirror Of this more Cosmic conflict yeah and so While we're all here like in this mess Of who should be first and who should God be blessing and can I trust God and Do I need to build my own kingdom and Where's my alliance gonna be as we're Just doing that whole thing God shows up and says you want to know Who's first it's this guy it's Jesus Who is the glory The Eternal Word The one who is from the beginning Everything was made through this person He has the most power in the whole

Universe and in some mysterious way he Is both distinct from God and God the True firstborn and as we revealed Jesus's status his identity in the Gospels as this Son of God the firstborn We see then what does it look like to Actually use God's power and it's what We've kind of been trained to see that God will go to the least likely the Oppressed the poor and want to elevate Them and it's not so that like they get Favoritism over everyone else it's Because there's enough generosity for Everyone and that mode is now being Displayed in a new beautiful way through Yeah the true power of the universe the True firstborn and then not only that But because Jesus is now the human the Image of God that we are meant to be he Is also creating the path for us to then Reclaim that title be United with him Which means being united with God in This wonderful John 17 Trippy like being one with each other Kind of thing so yeah I think that's Kind of where we're at yeah man great Job yeah and just maybe one little kind Of as you say double click on the second To last point is he's both the model for How to be a child of God who trusts God's generosity So he both models the way to do that but Then actually he is the way like he's

The one who who creates the way to Reconnect estranged children from the Father that they don't trust anymore and So he is the one who rebuilds the way He both models the way and he is the way To use that metaphor in John Johnson Which circles all the way back to God Wanting to elevate Humanity to be his Image like he is the way back to that Exactly you said something really Fascinating at the end of our last Conversation which is you said as I Think about my ability to now through Jesus Commune with God Like Jesus I now Have a special Identity that like you didn't use this Language but like God Treasures me and So thinking about that what's Interesting is we're talking we've been Talking about this impulse of wanting to Make ourselves important right and who's First yeah and like who has the Authority and the power And where the conversation ended last Was you kind of going Man I'm important and yeah I have Significance yeah but it feels different Than Kane saying like why aren't you showing Me favor yeah it's like I don't know is It what's there One way to think about Inequities in a human community

That's woven in to like the structure in The fabric of how we organize life and Whether that's in a small human Community like a family Or slightly bigger right extended family Or neighborhood but it's who's special Here yeah which is what we always want To know like right like you show up yeah On the scene and you're like who should I be paying attention to who are the Power Brokers here you know it's like When you introduce yourself at a Conference it's like you say like what Your job is you know like yeah you're Trying to tell people like why should You care about me yeah yeah whatever Your accomplishments are exactly yes so Human communities just universally tend To organize themselves in ways that Elevate certain things as being the most Special or the most valuable And then begin to rank find themselves Sorting ourselves into ranks and so this Happens in a million ways because human Cultures are also different but this is A universal yeah There's something about the human psyche That we're all just deeply come into the World with a sense of who am I Like where do I fit And what makes me valuable or important And so the way inequities get created is Certain things get chosen as the Valuable thing and then people who fit

That slot end up getting whatever more Success more resources and so on And so that's the subtext of the drama Of the biblical story is just taking That for granted as life outside of Eden For the Human family and what Jesus his Unique identity as The cosmic Eternal Divine firstborn son Is he is that one God is that one God's The most special unique thing in all of Reality But what if being special and loved is Not a zero-sum game What if We are all Embodiments of that Divine image and Worthy of cosmic dignity and love and I Think that is what the whole story Leading to Jesus and what Jesus was Trying to do and say and what the Apostles believe happened and this can Spread through Jesus in the presence and Power of His spirit is that we are all Invited to see who we really are as God's special children which is I mean That's what we're going to talk about Today right right now right now in fact But you're right I appreciate your kind Of putting your finger on that because That is the personal impact of this and It's why John who lived longer than all The other Apostles so he got to reflect On it in one lifetime the most

Right and think of like the letter of First John yeah which is that simple Little sentence of God is love Like to say something like that Is his simplest explainer Of the like what this means for all of Us hmm it's so powerful man geez I feel Like even right now I just need to pause And go take a walk and So I will do that afterwards but let's Meditate on some more scripture that Unfolds this theme [Music] Thank you [Music] So I just thought we would touch down at A few points where this theme of Jesus's Identity as the son or the firstborn son And then what that means for those who Recognize and Trust what Jesus Accomplished that we get brought in to Our status as Sons and Daughters I Wanted to look at this in letters of Paul and then in the letter to the Hebrews I think we can do that in the Time that remains Okay let's go to one passage that we Could do a whole conversation on this But we already did years ago in the god Series it's in a section of Paul's Letters in the letter of 1 Corinthians Chapter 8. and he's having this Discussion about how the Corinthians who Are new followers of Jesus they're

Non-israelites and they're finding it Really difficult how to navigate their Previous life In Greek and Roman society where there's Temples everywhere you get invited To sacrificial feasts to honor Apollo or Asclepius or Aphrodite and Right and there's all these ways that You can interface with the gods or Spiritual Beings in a way that could be Really detrimental and so he's trying to Walk this fine line and say listen we Have our allegiance to the one God And that's primary but you're going to Have to find a way to navigate life in Your city as you have that confession So in First Corinthians 5 and 6 he Begins talking about the identity of the One God The these followers of Jesus are called To so in verse 5 he says listen even if There are so-called gods in heaven and On Earth and there are many gods and There are many lords So meaning Spiritual Beings And principalities and powers out there Spiritual forces that are not the one True God He says in verse 6 yet for us There is one God the Father From whom are all things and we are for Him and there is one Lord Jesus the Messiah through whom are all things and We are through him

So lots of cool stuff here You know if you put this into a math Formula he's essentially saying one plus One equals one We have one God the father and one Lord Jesus Messiah and they are the one God And there's cool poetic parallelism but He's taken the line of the Shema hero Israel the Lord Our God the Lord is one And he's taken The words Lord and God that refers to One and he split them into two And he's put parallel God the father and The Lord Jesus Messiah as the one God And what's cool is that that's cool that Itself is cool but then these little Lines about both God the father and the One Lord Jesus Messiah he doesn't say The word son but that's what he means Both of them are responsible for All reality Yeah so but in like different ways in Their own distinct way it seems like Subtly exactly So the father is like the fundamental Ground he's the Source of all reality from whom are all Things And we are for him we're on a journey Back to the source from which we came to Connect to it And there is one Lord Jesus Messiah Through whom are all things So

Who is the agent the one through whom The Eternal source of all things The agent through whom all creation came Into physical existence it's the one Lord the son the firstborn And we are through him so I have just This poem what's so great is like this Is an eternal mystery about the essence And identity of God and the only Language to capture it is poetry which Is what he's constructed here a little Short poem for us to meditate on the Mystery of creation of God of Who We Are And There's a father-son assumption here That's kind of at the core of this Conception of God so that's kind of Step One This is fundamental to pulse thinking so Fundamental he can like write a little Poem about it that in his mind is super Clear and I think it is clear on one Level but it's kind of like in The God Video we made years ago where it's like Even though we can't understand this at Its deepest level we can better Understand the parts that are hard to Understand Or we can better understand what it is We don't understand and I think this Poem is a good example of that Yeah okay so that's like foundation for Paul's thinking about the father and the Son

It's very similar to what we saw in the Gospels so let's watch him do it in Another poem And this poem is longer more complex and It's a poem found in the first chapter Of his letter to the Colossians and I Don't think we've meditated on this poem Ever Together at length hmm cool yeah it is Cool its status as a poem actually the Study of this passage has a long Prehistory in New Testament studies Because it's often called A Hymn many Scholars think that Paul has adapted and Worked in Either a poem or a hymn that was sung That either he wrote or that was sung in Early Christian communities and he's Kind of brought it into the letter Incorporated it in but it's a poem that Works in two cycles or it's think of it Like a poem in two halves And they are both are about the identity Of Jesus as the story this could have Been an early Christian hymn that Paul's Reciting correct yeah it's definitely a Poem because it has a poetic structure To it let's see or him meaning it would Have been sung out loud yeah if anyone's Interested in this there's a recent work That summarizes the long history of this Which is a book by a scholar Matthew Gordley called New Testament Christological hymns

Exploring texts contexts and Significance so what you find embedded In the New Testament letters are Sections where Paul will often just kind Of like get really poetic and so people Have wondered if these aren't Snippets of early Christian hymns that Would have been sung poems in early Christian Gatherings so there's the poem In Philippians chapter 2. It's also in one Paul's letters people Have thought this about the opening to The Gospel of John the prologue if it Reflects Snippets of a early Christian Hymn and there's lots of others but Matthew gordley's book is a great great Place to it's actually really cool Because it's this intersection of poetry Theology music It's a nerdy book for like people who Serve as worship leaders in their Church Communities to read but it actually Could really enrich especially if you're Interested in songwriting these were Like released Christian songs So maybe that that's cool like kind of Background to this poem what makes it Less helpful is you know I or you are About to just read this and anytime you Hear someone else read a poem you know I Almost like sorry can I look at it I find poetry hard to just listen to on Its own for the first time because the Point is you're supposed to

Like hear it many many times and sing it And so There's a lot going on but it's Colossians chapter 1 verse 15. I don't Know should I just try and read it out Loud Sure okay all right It's a poem about the son who is the Image of the invisible God The firstborn Of all creation For in him all things were created in The heavens and on the earth things Visible and invisible whether Thrones or Powers or rulers or authorities all Things have been created through him and To him or for him And he is before all things And in him all things hold together And he is the head of the body The assembly For the church Who is the beginning The firstborn from the dead so that he Might have first place in all things For in him God was pleased that all of The fullness would dwell And through him to reconcile all things To himself things on earth And things in heaven Having made peace through the blood of His cross That's the poem So I'm showing you right now a picture

Of It kind of laid out and formatted to Show the symmetries because it's it's Two halves and each one Is a symmetry design into itself and Then the two halves mirror each other Through repetition of identical words And ideas Yeah so maybe I'll let you start to pick Apart what you're noticing as you hear And then kind of look at it okay so There's two sections of the poem and the First is Looking at the sun is the image of the Invisible God and riffing on like what We've talked about through John 1 Through Luke's narratives of the baptism And Transfiguration it's he is the Firstborn yeah here we're given very Kind of really clean language I feel Like yeah that we didn't get in like Lose gospel totally yeah or it's just It's a different literary Style so Luke Was more implicit right through Hyperlink and narrative implication this Is poetry that's very explicit yeah so He calls him the image of the invisible God that's interesting the word image is Parallel to the word firstborn son in These first two lines he's the image of The invisible God he's the firstborn Over all creation so image and firstborn Are in parallelism to each other yeah And the image that's connected to the Idea of humanity being God's image but

This is saying more than that this is Saying yeah Maybe what Paul says even more Explicitly in another passage where he Calls Jesus like The the something image the like Uh well is this the passage you're Thinking of I don't think so it's almost like the Exact image or the like the oh that's The opening of the letter to the Hebrews Which we'll look at okay a little bit Later so what is significant he doesn't Say Jesus is in the image of God Uh Uh is the image got it in other words What he's saying is when he reads Genesis 1. he sees humans as being made In the image or according to a likeness Uh and yeah but he is the likeness Exactly in other words when he reads Genesis 1 he sees The pre incarnate pre-human Jesus as Being the image that humans are the Image of He's the Divine one who is the image That humans are in image of yeah yeah I Think that's what he means the image of The invisible God cool that's really Helpful And then that's parallel to the idea of The firstborn over creation so his Identity is so closely tied to God that He in this way described as the image

Yeah and the firstborn yeah which so if You take for granted first Paul's Deepest conviction about Jesus is not That he is a creature Rather he is the Creator And he is one with the father and Because there is Father and Son there's A distinction between them but also they Are one so when he says the firstborn of Creation he doesn't have in mind that Jesus was born that is came into Existence at some point his firstborn Here is describing a status or an Identity And this was actually a subject of huge Debate in the first centuries of the Jesus movement And it was this passage was at the Center of many of those debates because The word firstborn was taken To literally mean he was a creature Brought into existence as the first of Anything that God ever created And this was what was at stake in the Debates that led to the nicenean council And Nicene Creed and so on so that's a Whole Rabbit Hole to go in right but I Just think for Paul his deepest Conviction is that Jesus is one with the Father the Son and the father are the One God that's why I started with one Corinthians 8. now when we were looking At was it John 1 yes yeah and the Translation of mono monogamous the one

And all this the winner only That kind of smoothed out this idea of Jesus being the begotten because it's Not monogeneo right right which has its Form from the Latin Vulgate correct yeah In Greek it's monogenase which is the One one of it's one and only one of its Category okay but here Different word Paul's using the word Firstborn exactly yes why well because That's the word most deeply connected to This theme in the Hebrew Bible The First theme of the theme of the Firstborn correct he's trying to connect To the theme we've been talking about Which is yes who gets to rule who does God choose to have Authority yeah so the firstborn is a Status within a family yeah in other Words the word isn't emphasizing the Origin of this one in the family it's Describing not once you have a when you Have a family There's two ways to talk about the Identity of the leaders of the family There's the father And then there's the one in the status Of the firstborn and that it's that Static present status that is the focus Of Paul's usage here Because he goes on to say that Jesus is The one and the next line is in him all Things are created And so that kind of puts Jesus on the

Divine side of creation as opposed to on The created side of God in creation if That makes sense it does make sense I Mean you can make an argument that God Creates Jesus and then partnering with Jesus to create everything else yep and That is the argument that was brought to The table in the earliest Christian Debates and so what the Nicene Creed Irons out is like actually no using the Word firstborn was not to say Jesus was Created it's connected to this theme of Status And yep there's plenty of other passages Yeah and ideas to help us realize that Jesus was not created he was from the Beginning that's right and so what Happened in those early centuries was New language got developed to clarify This And it would have been great if the Apostles had done this for us But they didn't need to like did you Talk about trinitarian language correct Yeah so what developed out of this was a Way of clarifying Jesus as the eternally Begotten one or the Eternal generation Of the sun meaning that there was never A moment where the sun was not right but For there to be truly one God within Whom there is an eternal father and an Eternal son There is some relationship between them And what is that relationship well the

Best we can do is use human language and Then ratchet it up to a Divine level Which is throw the word Eternal in there Exactly which again it's better Clarifying what ultimately we can't Comprehend yeah if anyone wants to Actually I'll recommend a great book I Was going to do it at the end but a book In to this is very helpful for me is by Matthew Bates a book called the birth of The Trinity something about New Testament and early Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament he Traces the history of these types of Passages the Old Testament hyperlinks They're depending on and how early Christian Conversations about the identity of Father and Son developed in the early Centuries into the first Creeds it's Very helpful if you want to trace that Path cool so some translations come to Colossians 1 15 and translate the Firstborn over all creation when they do That they're trying to clarify that this Is firstborn means status not origin Yeah so I prefer that as a translation The firstborn over all creation which is A legitimate translation of what's going On the Greek there correct yeah so this First half of the poem is about that Status and identity yes and then what it Unpacks after that is That through him

In him all things were created And through him all things were created And For him all things for him to him yeah Yeah it's Expositing and filling out what he said In one Corinthians 8. Which is yeah there is one Lord through Whom are all things and we are through Him yeah yeah And then he's got this line all things Hold together in him that's him yeah Like wow what a status totally he is the Rationale Yeah this is reflecting an Insight we're Actually early Christians We're like you know if they're hanging Out at the pub on Friday night they're Like jamming with their neoplatonist Friends Or they're playing their platonists like Philosopher buddies because they all Agree What they all hold in common is that the Reality is held together in a logical Rational order the Lagos the Lagos and That we have rational Minds that our Minds somehow yeah can connect to it can Actually reach out of our heads and Conceive of that order and rationally Comprehend it and then study it in ways That we can predict things about reality And how it will behave Based on the order out there but that's

From an imagined order in my mind that Must not be imaginary because it's real I mean it's like it actually this is the Stuff of yeah we live in such a crazy Reality how has any of this even Possible And so Paul could jam out with his like Whatever platonist buddy athenogoras or Something And be like you know where we agree Where we agree is that all realities Being held together Um and you think it's through an Impersonal force or energy or ideal And I'm telling you That that energy is a person and it's The person who was crucified by the Roman State as a criminal but God Vindicated him by raising him from the Dead and he absorbed all the sin and Death of our world into himself and he Loved you Athena gorus I think that's how it would go anyway It's a little little imaginary Experiment All things hold together yeah [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] Thank you

So in Greek thought the logos was very Depersonalized I mean because in the Ancient world like everything was Deified right all these powers and stuff Are like yeah clearly deities But yeah so we're not talking about just Like the God of Thunder or the god of Fertility we're talking about The fundamental order That transcends and makes possible Humans or Zeus ah this Transcendent Ordering reality within which Zeus or Humans or Aphrodite or the gods exist Yeah things in heaven and things in Earth correct yeah yeah actually that's What he says Powers Thrones rulers and Authorities and he's both referring to The Roman state but also to the Principalities the Spiritual Beings that The Roman State claims that they're an Environment of and he's like listen They're that's powerful like there's Real powers are they getting their power Yeah exactly how are they being Sustained exactly what's holding this All together it's the firstborn over Creation yep Cosmic man so the heavens Have ripped open we see the firstborn of All creation the second half of this Poem he's now talking about the Relationship we have to the firstborn Right yeah exactly that firstborn has a Body what came Among Us what's implied Here is the firstborn became a human

Yeah yeah came Among Us and has actually Connected and brought together a new Humanity Right and he calls that the body of the Sun that is the assembly or the Ecclesia Which gets translated as church and then He wants to come back to the firstborn Language but bring out a new Nuance of It yeah which is so fascinating we Haven't really talked about yet is this Phrase the firstborn from the dead yeah So he repeats again he's from the Beginning But then there's this new thing It's not how it's connected to being the Head of the body the the Ecclesia yeah That he's the firstborn from the dead Yeah so there's implied the storyline Here where he's the firstborn of all Creation so he's the author and the Agent through whom all creation is both Was created in the past and has been Sustained every moment since But also there's a lot of death in the World like things are not okay here yeah And so what The Sun Also is is the head Of a new human family that is a new Creation that is transcending the enemy And the barrier that is death and Decay And mortality now Jesus isn't he's not The first one to have resurrected from The dead in the story of the Bible Um oh well if by Resurrection you just Mean resuscitation from the dead yes so

That you'll die just a little later and Then that's true but in terms of like The Victor the Conqueror of death who Has reversed it and over whom death has No hold that's what he means here he Doesn't mean hey he was resurrected he Means he defeated death So just as he has a status overall Creation of the firstborn so he has the Status of being the firstborn over a Whole new creation in human family over Whom death has no power that's what he Means by the firstborn from the dead hmm So that he might have first place and Here he's riffing off the word first Again yeah and actually it's a great Example of he's commenting on what he Means by the word firstborn not in terms Of the origin that he came into Existence but rather status he has the Status of first place in all things He gets to sit at the right hand or he Gets yeah he's he's the first yeah And then he fills out the narrative a Little more well how is it that there is A body called the assembly around this Firstborn of a whole new creation that Transcends death like how did that Happen well In him God's fullness and here he's Alluding to all the temple Glory filling The temple hmm the glory fiery Glory Cloud that dwells in the temple that's The fullness yep so okay the sun was

That fullness In a human and through that human Sun That is the fullness of the Divine Glory All things are reconciled through him to God the Father Things on the land and things in the sky And how did that happen all came Crashing into the moment of what Happened in his death and resurrection And so when you we've talked from the Very beginning of this project about the Story of the Bible is about the Reunification the union of Heaven and Earth yeah it's from the horse's mouth And here it is yeah yeah all things Reconciled on Earth and in heaven on the Land in the sky and there's peace now With the Union means peace yeah and it's Through what happened on the cross and Implied end his resurrection because That is what he was implied with being The firstborn from the dead he died on The cross yeah but he overcame the power Of death In the resurrection and in that death And Resurrection reconciliation and Peace was accomplished when we looked at The suffering servant poem I don't Remember which one but it does call the Servant like a I don't know if he uses Word a toning sacrifice or purification Sacrifice yeah a sacrifice a sacrifice To cover over since the effect uh Consequences of sin yeah that's right

Yeah and that's this idea here the blood That's right yep that whole so dense The word blood signals everything in the Torah about the meaning of sacrifice and Atonement yeah that's right but then You've gotta not end there you gotta Circle back to the beginning of this Half of the poem which is That he's also the firstborn from the Dead he didn't just die as an atonement Yep but he conquered death through that Sacrifice yeah life conquered death And through that life a dying Cosmos was Reconciled to the Living God yeah yeah Dude isn't this an amazing poem yeah Like there's so much that goes unstated Here Okay Scott McKnight New Testament Scholar whose huge influence on me and On the whole field of New Testament Studies he wrote a commentary on Colossians that's just about four or Five years old can I read through kind Of how he tries to summarize the poem Well first of all let's just recognize Anytime you try and summarize a poem You're creating something other than the Poem So anytime you make an explainer video About the Bible you're yeah totally yeah Exactly right not no longer reading the Bible yeah so he's trying to comment on The double usage of the word firstborn In this poem okay so he says the the

Term firstborn is used throughout the Septuagint that is the Greek translation Of the Old Testament for the temporarily Firstborn child from a mother And the same sense is found in the New Testament use of firstborn too But the term also indicates the status Of preeminence When speaking of Israel as God's Firstborn It's from the book of Exodus when Speaking of the Future King from the Line of David Or when speaking and we didn't talk About this of God's wisdom herself in Proverbs 8. she describes wisdom is Called the firstborn yes yes yeah that's A whole rabbit hole we didn't go down in The New Testament Jesus is the Firstborn and the Greek word is Protatocos he's the firstborn in that he Is the one Into whose image all Are being conformed Romans chapter 8. he is the one to be Worshiped by all that's how firstborn Gets used in Hebrews chapter 1 which We'll end with The whole church absorbs his identity in The letter to the Hebrews the whole Assembly of Jesus followers is called The Assembly of the firstborn In Hebrews chapter 12 and he is also the Firstborn from among the dead which is

What Paul says and it's also a phrase Used in the first chapter of the Revelation In all of these references they refer to His status Not birth origin or birth order yeah his Superiority is in view more than Temporality his status is superior Because he's before all things Hierarchically he is above all things And ontologically That means in terms of essence or being He sustains all things So he goes on to talk about the atom Imagery here I don't know if we want to Go into that but just that statement I Found really helpful yeah he's above He's before He's through and in All things yeah yeah so this poem's Amazing and it really brings together Kind of the deepest themes of the Biblical story but also I think the Deepest themes about what Paul is trying To communicate about Jesus in in all of His letters which then leads to one Other key aspect of Paul's thought which Is how we Get brought into the party Because mostly that poem is about Jesus But he also had developed his Theology And thinking about what that means for Humans for our status so this aspect of His thought comes out in Romans

And we'll just look at one passage here This is in Romans chapter eight starting In verse 14 where he says everyone who Is being led around By the spirit of God And he's got here in the background the Israelites being led through the Wilderness out of Egypt By the pillar of cloud and fire at least I think you'll see that's the subtext Here so those who are being led around By the spirit of God these are the Children of God For you have not received a spirit of Slavery That would lead you to be afraid again Rather you have received a spirit of Adoption As Sons By which we can cry out Abba Potter He uses an Aramaic word and then a Greek Word Abba Father Father father it's the same word just in Two languages So let's just stop right there so by Talking about slavery Liberation being Led about this is Exodus language And so it's the idea that humanity is Like been in slavery to a cruel Pharaoh That is the evil one and death And through the firstborn we've been LED Out through like a new Moses

And the ones that God is leading out of Death and slavery are God's children And if you have God's spirit in you Then you are able to embrace your status As A child of God And then he uses Jesus's Aramaic word To talk about his father and says that Can be our cry too So yeah let's just pause he's he's a Rabbi a multicultural multilingual Rabbi Jesus is no Paul is yes yeah and he's Writing to followers of Jesus in Rome That he's never visited and he knows They're made up of Israelite and Non-israelite people he assumes That these followers of Jesus Imagine God As father And that they use both Greek and Aramaic To call god father yeah and specifically This is all about That we can adopt an identity for Ourselves that is the identity that Jesus saw for himself which is the Beloved Adopted child of ABBA Because Abba was Jesus's word for the Father it's really profound [Music] Thank you [Music] Okay so the story of the Bible begins With God calling Humanity His Image and

There that's very close to this idea of Being a son a child of God yes that's Right now what is happening here because We're the image of God but Jesus According to the image but Jesus is the Image and now here in Romans Paul's Saying Hey Jesus is the image and in the same Way he can say to God Father we can say godfather is this Is this something new than what was Happening with being the image of God in Genesis 1. is this like a deepening of That relationship or is this just a Reclaiming of it oh I see well it's a Realization of something that was Possible but never was realized in a way Within this framework of father and with Estranged children for example the Adam And Eve or Cain and the rest of the Human family in the story never truly Believes Yeah that they are the children of a Generous father who wants to invite them All into the party as it were so like The idea is by eating of the tree of Life and not eating of the tree of Knowledge good and bad Adam and Eve Humanity will learn to call God Abba in This way yeah and be connected in this Way yeah it's new in that Jesus was the First human to respond with trust To the love of the father So in that sense even though he's like a

New Adam he's actually the first real Human If what it means to be human is to be One with the love of our the Divine Father then There actually wasn't ever any humans Before Jesus I mean and I mean that's putting it kind Of facetiously and provocatively but I Think to say Jesus is the image of God And humans You know starting with Adam and Eve are Made in the image or according to the Likeness yeah means that there was some Distance that was able to be bridged or Able to be connected through love and Trust but that never was and so Jesus is The second Adam who is actually like the First Adam Yeah he's the first truly human one to Be United to the Divine love okay where My brain goes is it's like the parallel Universe where Adam and Eve sure don't Eat of the tree and then how are they Going to meet Jesus and commune with God And how do they be actually become the True Hume of the first humans yeah well Okay so let's imagine it the apostles All take for granted that the Pre-incarnate Jesus is right there In Genesis 1 that he is the image He's he is the image after which the Humans were made that made me wonder Yeah like when they're walking with God

In the garden like are they with Jesus And when they're told to eat of the Tree Of Life are they Being taught to commune with Jesus like Is that what's going on I think you can Demonstrate that that is how all the Apostles read and understood those Stories in the Old Testament yeah well Which is why John when he's describing The one Isaiah saw in his vision for Example it's in John chapter 12 and he's Retelling story of Isaiah seeing the Glory of Yahweh in the temple in its Recounting the story from Isaiah chapter 6. and he straight up says he saw Jesus's Glory So and this isn't just that they are Reading Jesus back into the Old Testament They're actually tracking with a theme Within the Hebrew Bible which is God has A nuanced identity there is the father Who is above all and overall who no man Can see me and live right but God himself within God's Own Self has Bridged the Gap and is made visible Within creation and the angel of Yahweh Through the fire and the glory and the Wisdom and what they're saying is that Is the one that became human and that we Met named Jesus of Nazareth And he is the image after which Humanity Was made as an image and so in that Sense on your imaginative retelling

Jesus well ah it's a Buddha and I yeah I Think we've said enough because then it Starts to get I don't know no it starts to get pretty Speculative because the biblical story Is trying to give an account of what is Actually happened because Jesus and how We've met Jesus Is something new I mean it's the word Become flesh and that hadn't happened in The garden correct right that's right The war did not become flesh that's Right in the way that it had with Jesus Yeah and so that doesn't mean Jesus was New Jesus was from the beginning but Being united with Humanity in that way Yes exactly right it is yeah that is new Markedly new yep it's what Paul calls The hidden Mystery it was hidden Throughout the ages until it's been Revealed through the apostles and Prophets and we made our video in the Spiritual being series on the angel of The Lord I think this was your phrasing Or maybe we hammered out together but I Was really happy about it we just talked About the angel of Yahweh and the glory And the fire is Yahweh appearing as a Human figure And what makes what's the leap forward In the Incarnation is the glory of Yahweh actually becoming human yeah That's right and that's been a really Helpful way for me to think about it

Ever since we made that video yeah so It's Jesus it's the word appearing to Adam and Eve in the garden was there Yeah the fiery pres the wind that came To walk with them in the garden yeah Yeah that they hid from because they Were afraid of yep because of its Intensity once they knew they had blown It and so then as they're exiled it's Like God tells them guys you think You're being exiled because you are but I'm gonna come with you yeah yeah get Ready I'm coming [Music] And he doesn't say it that explicitly he Just says a seed of the woman's gonna Come and we think okay a human and then What it turns out to be is God become Human yeah oh the mystery of the wisdom And the Council of God as Paul says at The end of Romans 8. that is the right Way to reflect on that okay so um We're still not done with this paragraph In Romans 8. oh we're not well because This is all talking about like our Identity back as being children of God Exactly and so this is about we're meant To be in the likeness We are made according to the image and The likeness or in the image according To the likeness yes in the image quite Likeness and we can reclaim that by Being connected to yeah the one who is The image the image the firstborn the

Sun and we receive that and this is Where and we don't have time to get into This but this is a whole this is the Whole theology around the Holy Spirit How we yeah that connects us Yeah the same which is adoption yeah Yeah the same spirit That communicated the Divine love the Paternal love in the baptism of Jesus it Was the spirit That brought that voice and love to Right between the father and the son the Spirit like a dove descends that same Spirit can be received By us and it's a spirit of adoption the Spirit is that same love towards the Sun The firstborn is the same love that can Come and fold me in to that Eternal Family of love that allows me to adopt The posture of Jesus which is to call God my Abba Father And So It Goes On he Says the spirit testifies with our Spirit in other words this is For him this is not just about Doctrine This is about a personal experience Of it's like we are all Kane or we're All Esau and coming to realize like There is a blessing for me too And once you experience that love Through the presence of God in one's Life you realize that we are the Children of God and if we're children oh There's way more in store because we are The Heirs of the new creation

Inheritors and we are Heirs of God we're Fellow heirs with our brother the Messiah And lest you think that this is all just Glory and Paradise now That inheritance is going to take us Through the suffering and death of the World as we know it so that we can be Glorified in the resurrection with him Into the new creation Let's tell them thought finishes Yeah So powerful so we're still working with The Exodus theme we're LED about by the Spirit The spirit Adopts us into God's family out of Slavery to the cruel pharaoh And then we become inheritors of the Promised Land That's what the word air means you're Going to inherit the blessing which in The Hebrew Bible is land and abundance And security and Shalom I don't know why This hasn't landed for me The way it is right now as we've been Tracing God's choosing He keeps choosing someone seed's gonna Come from you and it's always the the One you wouldn't expect but that Choosing comes to Jesus yeah And so that that choosing is over Of like yeah or narrowing down or Fulfilled yeah through Jesus who then is

Now opening it back up and saying like I've conquered death I've purified And I want you to be adopted in now back To what was lost yeah and it's gonna be A new reboot of Creation in which you Can rule as inheritors with me yeah yeah Yeah yeah in other words what this Allows us to go back and reread like the Story of Cain and Abel and to see God's Offer was really genuine Cain yeah if You do good there's exaltation for you Too like my choice of Abel doesn't Exclude you in the long run but it does Force you to make a choice in the Present of if you're going to trust me And he doesn't trust and it leads to you Know Murder So it's like the Jesus fulfillment of All these Cycles really tells the truth About what God was up to all along which Was to choose the one for the sake of The many yeah Hmm okay and we didn't talk about Suffering that's a whole other thing Yeah how does this connect to suffering Well you would think then this would all Be about like wow victory yeah paradise And New Creation the moment the stone Rolled away from the tomb or a Pentecost Or something yeah and so that's the Balance uh that's the Nuance that the Biblical story has that God really has Launched the new creation

Through the birth of the new Humanity Created the family of the firstborn but The way that's going to be realized in Reality is going to be through a Continual process That's like the playing out of the Process that led up to the arrival of The first poem which is every generation Having to choose to trust and endure Life outside of Eden as we wait for the Reunion of Heaven and Earth and to go Through the test and yeah to go through Our versions of what of what Cain went Through and so on or what Jesus went Through or what Jesus went through yeah Yeah so let's land it here I mean There's more we could do throughout the New Testament we could session this in Hebrews you could session it in the Revelation you could session this in The letters of John well the one passage We didn't go to which we landed in the Script as we wrote the script because We've actually already finished this Crypt that's true yeah was the poem in Philippians where yeah yeah Paul appeals To be to live this out in the way that Jesus lived out his power of the Firstborn yeah he says have this mindset Among yourselves that was also the Mindset of Messiah Jesus Yeah and what is that mindset well the Whole point of the poem he says was even Though he was

What he says is he was in his nature Divine God He was the firstborn Yeah truly the cosmic firstborn but he Didn't regard that status as something To be used or grabbed and exploited for His own Advantage yeah rather he emptied Himself of that status By going to the bottom yeah and dying as A slave on behalf of others so that they Could have his life and Stat love and Status as the firstborn So we're back to that upside down the Way God uses his status and privilege is To divest God's self of those privileges To bring others up And so as we imitate that what Paul's Calling us to is to Accept the status with Jesus as now part Of the family of the firstborn but to Then not let that become a way for us to Try to yeah just have power and protect Ourselves yep but to then serve others The way Jesus served others yes and he Goes on to flesh that out with examples When he says it's like Timothy who's you Know you're a church leader with you all And you know what he never prioritizes His own interests He prioritizes the interests of others And of Jesus it looks like epaphroditus Who endured sickness and almost death To try and keep our communication Between us through letters and that you

Could send me gifts while I'm in prison He says it looks like those two women That he mentions in chapter 4 euodia and Suntuke It means like they really need to settle Their conflict And learn how to get along in their House church and help these women work Out whatever difference they have It becomes really practical real quick Right yeah which is the whole point of Course it's the whole point Well so that's where we end is this idea Of being invited into the family of the Firstborn The reboot of humanity To actually rule on God's behalf which Is going to look like serving and is Going to come with suffering yeah and Hardship and potentially death I mean When he wrote that poem in Philippians 2 He was in prison not sure if he would Live to see another week Hmm Yeah man This has been a wonderful Conversation and Survey of this theme I'm feeling so many things right now Well we're both like left brained so Like We're fired you know or like we're Really stimulated by all these ideas Yeah yeah which is wonderful like I Think that's what's supposed to happen

But at the same time I'm just thinking of all these people And situations in my life um yeah where I need I really need to live as if this Is true Um Well thank you John yeah thanks Tim I'm Really excited about the video like real Time you know we are Watching this video in production Actually in real time at the point this Conversation's out the video should be In the world oh okay well there you go Yeah you have already seen the video That's right yeah the point of getting To this conversation okay well good Point it's a really both the visual Language that the artists were working With came up with to like communicate The high and the low and status and this Inversion of authority and value that Happens Um it's really cool I'm really excited For this video to try and bundle all of This into you know a five minute Explainer We're planning on doing a q r that Should be coming out soon and then we'll Turn our attention to something new yep Thanks for following along thanks Tim Yeah thank you John thank you everybody For your enthusiasm and support for what We're doing Thanks for listening to this episode of

Bible project podcast next week we're Starting a new series exploring a theme Called the anointed which might not Sound like an obvious theme to choose at First but it's the title most commonly Applied to Jesus in the New Testament The anointed one it's Greek word Creole Which when you talk about a person who Has been poured or smeared with oil the Title of that figure is cristas which is The title Christ and that is a Jewish Greek way of describing an ancient Israelite practice of pouring oil on Certain people and places and the Hebrew Word for that is and what you call Someone who's had oil smeared or poured Over them is mashiach from which we get The word Messiah today's episode was Brought to you by our podcast team with The producer Cooper Peltz associate Producer Lindsay Ponder lead editor Dan Gummel and editors Tyler Bailey and Frank Garza Tyler Bailey also mixed the Episode in Hannah Wu provided the Annotations for the annotated podcast on Our app Bible project is a crowdfunded Non-profit and we exist to experience The Bible as a unified story that leads To Jesus and everything that we make is Free because of the generous support of Thousands of people just like you so Thank you so much for being a part of This with us hi this is Randy from Tacoma Washington I first discovered

Bible project over five years ago on a Long drive searching for a new podcast I Was immediately drawn to the Unpretentious and conversational Relationship between Tim and John all These years later Tim and John have Become two of my best friends and they Don't even know me I used Bible project In Daily study and in weekly study with A life group that my wife and I host my Favorite thing about Bible project are The podcast series that are so engaging And have opened up an ancient context That I had not appreciated and where I'm Now building new skills for recognizing Biblical patterns and story lines that Have brought the entire Bible into new Focus thanks Tim and John and everyone At bible project for the amazing Resources you bring to our current Generation and culture I believe the Bible is a unified story That leads to Jesus crowdfunded by People like me find free videos podcasts Classes and more at [Music] [Music]

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