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My question comes out of a discussion on this question: How do Jehovah’s Witnesses explain the unique wording of Colossians 1:15-17 in the NWT? For reference, here is the passage (1971 revision):

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation; 16 because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. 17 Also, he is before all [other] things, and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist. (Colossians 1 NWT)

Jehovah's Witnesses say Jesus is "a god." That is, a lesser god; yet one who has a role in creation:

In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.
(John 1:1 NWT)

The last book of the Bible identifies Jesus as “the beginning of the creation by God.” (Revelation 3:14) Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation.” That is so “because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible.” (Colossians 1:15, 16) Yes, Jesus was the only one directly created by God himself.1

Jehovah ("God") created Jesus ("a god") who was the means by which all other things were created. Conceptually, this is much the way a Gnostic would describe God's work of creation. For example, Valentinus was a Christian Gnostic theologian who attributed creation to a Demiurage:

The image of Demiurge usually portrayed in the Sethian texts is negative. Apart from anti-Jewish and anti-Christian polemic there are some internal reasons for this, specifically the function of the psychic (soul) element represented by the Demiurge. This element is not, as for Valentinians and other Christian Gnostics, the seat of free will, but a moment (that of animation) in the hylic dimension and, like it, destined to perdition. This is the radical difference from the Valentinian Demiurge, the latter being a representative of the psychic element that is also called upon to participate in the work of salvation.2

Valentinus' second century mythology was complex, but the idea of a Demiurge who created the material world can be found 500 years earlier in Plato's Socratic dialogue Timaeus (c. 360 BC)3

How do Jehovah's Witnesses differentiate Jesus' role in creation from that of a Demiurge?


1. Watchtower Online Library
2. Giovanni Filoramo, A History of Gnosticism, translated by Anthony Alcock, Basil Blackwell, 1990, p. 84
3. Demiurge

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    What research have you done on how JWs view Gnosticism? For example wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/101976606 comes up when you google demiurge and jw.org – Kris Mar 8 at 1:26
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    @Kris Yes. That's the basis for my question. The JW doctrine that Jesus is created and then is the means through which everything else is created is similar to a Demiurge. There are other things attributed the the Demiurge depending on the myth, but it terms of creation, they share the same tole. – Revelation Lad Mar 8 at 18:06
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Before reading this question, I had never heard of the term "demiurge," nor am I very familiar with philosophical terms, but I'm familiar with the Bible and the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses (since I am one), so I can answer based on the brief explanation given on Wikipedia of a Demiurge.

Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe Jesus is a (co-)creator. Rather, we believe according to the Scriptures that everything (besides Jesus himself) was created "through" Jesus. (John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16; 1 Cor. 8:6)

Not a co-Creator. The Son’s share in the creative works, however, did not make him a co-Creator with his Father. The power for creation came from God through his holy spirit, or active force. (Ge 1:2; Ps 33:6) And since Jehovah is the Source of all life, all animate creation, visible and invisible, owes its life to him. (Ps 36:9) Rather than a co-Creator, then, the Son was the agent or instrumentality through whom Jehovah, the Creator, worked. Jesus himself credited God with the creation, as do all the Scriptures.—Mt 19:4-6

Insight on the Scriptures, "Jesus Christ"

Therefore, the role of Jesus in creation could be likened to the role that Moses played in the writing of the Law (John 1:17), or that the angels played as God's messengers. Jesus was not the originator of the creative power or ideas, but he followed God's instructions as God's "master worker." (Prov. 8:30)

When Jesus was accused by the Jews of "making himself equal to God," Jesus' response greatly clarified Jesus' role in relation to God, his Father.

John 5:19 — Therefore, in response Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, the Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son does also in like manner.

Rather than viewing Jesus as a creator or an artisan (a demiurge), Jehovah's Witnesses view Jesus as the instrument of the one Creator and Artisan — Jehovah God.

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    The Demiurge is a lesser god, subordinate to the Supreme God. The Demiurge is the one who does the "work" of creation. britannica.com/topic/Demiurge – Revelation Lad Mar 9 at 4:05
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    @RevelationLad I'm very hesitant to say that Demiurge is a correct term for Jesus, because the term seems to carry a lot of philosophical baggage that JWs disagree with. Jehovah did the work of creation through Jesus. Similar to how an artist does the work of their artistry through a paintbrush. Every time I see a description of Demiurge, it fails to credit God as the actual one doing the creating. – 4castle Mar 9 at 10:10
  • @RevelationLad I see significant differences. The supreme God in Gnosticism (from web sources) is not knowable. That is the complete opposite of JWs, and closer to mainstream Christianity who consider YHWH to be a description of the three divine persons and who for the most part have removed it from their bibles. Also the Father, contra Gnostics is for JWs the sole creator. Mainstream Christians are who claim Jesus created on behalf of Father are closer to Gnostics. Scripture teaches that God is the Maker through Jesus. – user47771 Mar 9 at 16:44
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    @ThomasPearne The question is focused solely on the role in creation. As discussed in the answer to the other question, the JW understanding of passages which present Jesus as a lesser god but one who plays a role in creation is something which would resonate with, if not be in complete with a Gnostic, as it pertains to creation. Obviously Gnostics added other things to their myths, but I think it is fairly universal that the supreme God did not directly interact with physical matter - that was the role of a lesser god. – Revelation Lad Mar 9 at 17:55
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    Moses wrote down what He received. This means Moses was responsible for the physical document (ignoring the stone tablets). So the original scroll people saw was physically produced by Moses, but the words were God's. Moses was simply the agent of transmission. So is Jesus responsible for the physical world we see? For example, the Sun and Moon were designed by God and physically "made" by Jesus? – Revelation Lad Mar 10 at 22:14

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