Old Dominion: Creation in Colossians

Sean M. McDonough

in Christ as Creator

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199576470
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722585 | DOI:
Old Dominion: Creation in Colossians

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The hymn in Col. 1: 15–20 is often cited as a clear instance of wisdom Christology. While there are indeed possible allusions to Wisdom motifs in these verses, the strains of messianic dominion are more dominant. Elements from the original creation mandate appear early on in the epistle (‘bearing fruit and increasing’, 1: 6, 10) and continue to its end (e.g. ‘according to the image of the one who created it’, 3: 10; the ‘fullness’ motif in 2: 2, 9, 10; 4: 17; cf. Gen. 1: 28). The hymn itself is introduced with kingdom language (1: 13). Christ is praised not for the wisdom evident in creation, but for his dominion over the powers and authorities (1: 16, cf. 2: 10, 15). The description of Christ as ‘firstborn’ (1: 15, 18) fits best in this context as a fairly direct allusion to the Davidic heir of Ps. 89: 27, rather than a more subtle reference to Wisdom in Prov. 8: 22–4.

Keywords: Christ; creation; wisdom; dominion; image; kingdom; hymn; Colossians; mandate; Christology

Chapter.  8203 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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