If one were even modestly aware of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their teachings, they would know that they are modern day Arians; in part meaning they teach that Jesus was created. The Arians were started by Arius (AD 250–336) and he taught that Christ didn’t always exist, but was created by God.  It was the rise of this heresy that led to the First Council of Nicaea in 325; to formally reject this teaching and strengthen the Christian position of the Trinity. The Watchtower in the past has asserted that this council was to actually formulate the Trinity , but this assertion is unwarranted. Without invoking the Bible (citing it in this case will lead to a strong game of “Bible Ping Pong), one can look into the early church writings from the late first century and early second century, to see a healthy milieu of Trinitarianism affirmation.
Why The Watchtower Says Jesus Was Created
(New World Translation) Colossians 1:15-16 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 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.
This scripture above is the most common one that they will use in support of their belief that Jesus was created. They assert that “Jesus Christ is shown to be “the firstborn of all creation” as well as “the firstborn from the dead”—not merely most distinguished in relation to those created or those resurrected but the first one actually created and the first raised from the dead to endless life. (Col 1:15, 18; Re 1:5; 3:14)“.  They’re trying to make the claim that the word “firstborn” actually means “first created”. The Greek word used here for firstborn is “prototokos”, which in this context means “preeminent”. While firstborn can mean “born first” in the literal sense, we also see that in the case of Manasseh and Ephraim, that even though Manasseh was born first, Ephraim was called the firstborn due to God’s covenant of promise.  In reality, If Paul wanted to convey in this passage that Jesus was literally “created first”, he would’ve used the precise Greek word “protoktistos” (founded or created first) for that instead of prototokos.  The fact remains that Jesus created all things that were made  and was not part of creation itself.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Some may also point out the bracketed “other” that was added to verse sixteen of Colossians chapter one. The informed Jehovah’s Witness will rebut, saying that other Bibles also insert words which were not in the original text either. Bibles such as the King James use italics instead of brackets. On a side not, some of their bracketed words have been edited -with the brackets taken off entirely- in various editions of their own Bible, the New World Translation. They have a valid point with the inserted words, but the difference here, is that they are changing the meaning of the text rather than clarifying it. It’s my opinion that one shouldn’t make too big of a deal about this, but stay on point with what the word firstborn actually means in this passage. That’s where the meat is.
(New World Translation) Proverbs 8:22-23 “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. From time indefinite I was installed, from the start, from times earlier than the earth.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses also love to bring up the above passage and apply wisdom to Jesus in support of their belief that he was created. Of course they miss the obvious that in verse one of the chapter, wisdom is spoken of as a “she”. Interestingly enough, they render wisdom as an “it” (New World Translation) instead but in chapter seven they indeed render wisdom as a “she” and “sister”. It’s this typical inconsistency that I expect from the Watchtower.
1. Arianism - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arianism
2. 1989 Watchtower March 1st pg. 5
3. 1988 Insight On The Scriptures pg. 836
5. PROTOTOKOS (“Firstborn”): http://www.caic.org.au/jws/theology/col1_15.htm
6. (King James Version) John 1:3 “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”