Who's First?

In Paul’s letter to the church in Colasse, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle clearly establishes Christ’s preeminence. The passage, in the first chapter of the epistle, reads as follows in the Revised Standard Version:

15. He is the image of the invisible God; the firstborn over all creation.
16. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
17. He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
18. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have preeminence.

To me, this passage is crystal clear. Christ is “Firstborn over all creation.” He is preeminent. He is supreme. No room for confusion here – unless you are Pope Leo XIII, that is.

Leo XIII -- who reigned over the Roman Catholic Empire from February 20, 1878 to July 20, 1903 – was a Marianist and a prolific writer of encyclicals (62 in all). In Augustissimae Virginis Marae, promulgated September 12, 1897, he wrote:

God predestined her from all eternity to be the Mother of the Incarnate Word, and for that reason so highly distinguished her among all His most beautiful works in the triple order of nature, grace and glory, that the Church justly applies to her these words: “I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the first-born before all creatures” (Eccles.xxiv., 5). And when, in the first ages, the parents of mankind fell into sin, involving their posterity in the same ruin, she was set up as a pledge of the restoration of peace and salvation.

The verse that LeoXIII quoted is from the non-canonical book called Ecclesiasticus.

In its entirety, Ecclesiasticus’ Chapter 24 is a paean to Wisdom, though I imagine it was not terribly difficult for the fantasizers working in Rome’s dreamworks to find ways to demonstrate that all the wonderful things said of wisdom really refer to their goddess Mary.

Those who study the Bible know, or should know, that the Scriptures never contradict the Scriptures. One of the tests of validity of one’s understanding of a passage in the Bible is whether or not it is completely in accord with all other passages dealing with the same subject. This simple test appears not to have occurred to Leo XIII or to those princes of the Roman Catholic Church who decided that Ecclesiasticus is to be included in the canon of Scripture.

Colossians 1:15 declares Christ to be the first-born over all creation. This is true, for God has revealed it. Could either Wisdom or Mary have been the firstborn before the firstborn of all creatures? Scripture tells us that "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1) The heaven and the earth are part of creation, and Scripture teaches that they were created "in the beginning." Ergo: Ecclesiasticus 24:5 is false, as are the words of Leo XIII.

For those who would line up with the Magisterium through thick and thin, then Genesis 1:1 and Colossians 1:15 must not be true and, therefore, the validity of the rest of the Bible is thrown into doubt. If these passages cannot be trusted, can anything in the Bible be trusted? Reject the validity of Scriptures if you will but how to deal with the conflict in Catholic teaching? Is Mary the first-born over all creatures? Or is Wisdom? Or are Mary and Wisdom the same? So many questions when one looks to fallible man for answers rather than to infallible God.

Please. Open the Scriptures and honestly approach what God has caused to be written there.

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