So I was visited last week by the Jehovah's Witnesses and turned the questions around on them for a change. In particular I was defending the claim that Jesus is God. After a lengthy discussion of the first chapter of John, 'proof' that Jesus was created was brought to my attention.
Collosians 1:15 states of Jesus, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation."
So, forget the first part of that verse that seems to help out my side. The claim was Jesus is the firstborn of creation, so he is created.
Hmmm. Interestingly Paul clarifies in the next verse what he means by "the firstborn over all creation".
Collosians 1:16, "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."
I stated that the phrase 'firstborn over creation' may be confusing, but luckily Paul tells us exactly what he means, and what he means is *not* that Jesus is created. This led to a long debate over how the word 'for' was being used and I then was accused of twisting the words of the text (I was actually using the JW translation).
After the encounter I checked out Grudem's Systematic Theology to see all the references to the deity of Jesus that I had forgotten. One passage that I thought would be particularly useful in future conversations is John 20:28-30.
In this passage Thomas confronts the wounds of Jesus and reacts, "My Lord and my God." This is a clear claim that Jesus is God. So, if you accept that the Bible is a source of truth and that Jesus was sinless (both claims accepted by JWs) then this is strong evidence that Jesus is God. For Jesus to be sinless he would have to correct such an attribution when made to him if it were false; but far from this Jesus responds, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." So, on the shared assumptions that the Bible is true and Jesus is sinless there is in this passage direct evidence that he is God.