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I am reading Rev 3:14 in the Byzantine text, Alexandrian text, and Vulgate. All three seem to be in agreement showing Jesus claiming to be something roughly equating to "the beginning of the creation of God." Only the Aramaic seems to render this differently as "the Chief of the creation of God." but this isn't any better if you are a Trinitarian like myself.

If Jesus is the first of all creation, he still seems to be created - this is quite concerning. Can someone help me reconcile this? If any Catholics can help, that is always preferred and much appreciated.

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Revelation 3:14 is sometimes used to claim that the Son of God, the Christ, the Word, the 'Amen', was created. For example, one version takes the liberty of reading, "These are the things that the Amen says... the beginning of the creation BY God." (N.W.T.) Now, if that was what the Greek text said, it would undeniably be showing the Word of God, the Christ, to be a creature created by God. Yet that is a totally corrupt and misleading rendition!

The Greek genitive 'tou theou' means 'OF God' and not 'by God'. For the NWT version to be correct, the genitive would require the proposition 'hupo' which is not found in the verse. All translations that read "the beginning of the creation of God" are perfectly correct. Having cleared that up, it can now be shown that saying Christ is "the beginning of the creation of God" does not mean he was created by God.

The word translated correctly as 'beginning' is 'arche'. Greek authority Grimm-Thayer states, "That which anything begins to be, the origin, active cause." A.T. Robertson says, "Not the first of creatures as the Arians held and the Unitarians do now, but the originating source of creation through whom God works." [Emphasis mine.]

To start to grasp the significance of Christ (as the Word, the Amen) making everything that was made, first get a correct translation of John 1:1-3, especially verse 3, which says the Word "made everything that was made" which logically means he could not have been made himself.

Trinitarians believe that the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father. The Trinity doctrine teaches they are two 'persons' in the one Being of God. But two 'persons' - not the same person (which would be ditheism)!

This means that Revelation 3:14 is not a problem within the Trinity doctrine, when 'arche' is seen to mean the origin, the active cause, the originating source of creation. He is not the first creature to be created, otherwise Revelation 3:14 would have read that he was the beginning of the creation BY God. It does not, and cannot. Thus, when the meaning of 'arche' (beginning) is understood, the problem for trinitarians disappears.

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    Was the OP asking about the NWT?
    – 007
    Commented Jun 24, 2023 at 19:45
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    Up-voted +1.. Arche has two different meanings and it must be carefully distinguished when applied to an event and when it is applied personally. An adult can become titled arche in later life, as the agent (note, not the object) of an enterprise. That does not mean their existence commenced at that point in time.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 6:46
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    Please note that Anne refers to that single verse from the NW as being "a totally corrupt and misleading rendition". Catholicism does not believe that the Logos, the Word, was created. They are Trinitarian.
    – Lesley
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 8:10
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    @Lesley please note that Op is trinitarian and is reading from trinitarian approved translations with the approved “creation OF God” but still is questioning.
    – 007
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 12:56
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    @User 14 The OP was asking if that verse supports the claim that Christ was a creature. I used the NWT version to demonstrate a clear "Yes", but then showed why that verse was a wrong translation and that the answer is "No". Catholics totally agree with Protestants on this point; even from the Reformation onward, they have always agreed on the uncreated status of Christ, that he is "begotten, not created".
    – Anne
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 10:23
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Revelation 3:14b
Τάδε λέγει ὁ Ἀμήν, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστὸς καὶ (ὁ) ἀληθινός, ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ.
These things says the Amen, the Witness faithful and TRUE, the Beginning of the creation of God.

Consider a similar statement: "Bob's assignment to lead the project was the beginning of its success."

Clearly, Bob isn't "the project"; rather, Bob is the reason, the Cause, of the [outcome of the] project.

Similarly, Christ is the Cause of Creation (c.f. John 1:3), the "chief" not in the sense of the preeminent creature, but the one through whom Creation was accomplished. (That this is the correct sense is backed up by the only instance in Scripture in which "ἀρχὴ" is not translated as "beginning". In Luke 20:20, where it has the form "ἀρχῇ", it is translated "rule" and appears in the context of the Jewish head priests seeking "to deliver [Jesus] to the rule (ἀρχῇ) and to the authority of the governor.")

One of the definitions of the English word "beginning" is "that which begins or originates something; the source or first cause". In light of ἀρχὴ's use in Scripture and what else Scripture has to say about Christ, it seems clear that this sense is an acceptable interpretation of Revelation 3:14b.

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  • “Clearly, Bob isn't "the project"; rather, Bob is the reason, the Cause, of the project.” Bob is not the cause of the project but is the one through whom the project came to a successful completion.
    – 007
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 12:30
  • @User14, right. Fixed (well, attempted to clarify, at least); thanks! (Note: my original wording used "project" as "that which came about". You are using it in the sense of "a plan". However, that does deserve to be clarified.)
    – Matthew
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 19:54
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According to Thayer's Greek lexicon at Biblehub.com the Greek noun "ἀρχή" in Rev 3:14 is a feminine noun, which can mean many things, depending upon context, including: beginning, origin, first-place, rule/ruler, magistracy/magistrate, power, active cause, corner. The translation challenge is to choose a meaning which does not contradict Scripture anywhere else. Otherwise 2Tim 3:16 is violated. Of the options offered by Thayer, "origin", "rule/ruler", "magistracy", "power", "active cause" are consistent with Scripture, including Jn 1:1-3 and Col 1:15-16.

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