The Image of God meaning that God Makes Himself Visible in His Manifestation in the Flesh Taking the Form of the Creature though NOT Created:
“Who is the Image of the Invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature:” (Colossians 1:15, KJV)
God is “Invisible” (Object).
The “Image of God” makes His Manifestation “Visible” (Image). Please read the Verse above carefully to Realize this implied Meaning.
“And without controversy great is the Mystery of godliness: God* was Manifest in the Flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the World, received up into Glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16, KJV)
Yes, He is NOT Created having NO Father, NO mother, NO genealogy, NOR Beginning of Days NOR end of life though He Humbled Himself by emptying Himself of His God-Ship by becoming both the Son of Man & the Son of God in His Manifestation on Earth:
“.. Christ Jesus: Who, being in the Form of God, thought it not robbery to be Equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: ” (Philippians 2:5 – 7, KJV)
“Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” (Hebrews 2:7, KJV)
*The Manuscript used by the KJV or YLT translators have the Greek Word for “God” in 1 Timothy 3:16 while the manuscript used by NASB has the pronoun “He” instead. Regardless, the meaning is the SAME when these manuscripts are seen together.
P/S: To Quote
Among the Greek Church Fathers who cited this particular passage are Gregory of Nyssa (335-394 AD), John Chyrsostom (347-407 AD). The oldest Codex which Metzger cites is the Sinaiticus, which scholars date to between 330 and 360 AD. Thus, it is arguable which of the witnesses is more historical.
In any case, I do not think it is terribly significant whether the passage indicates ὅς or θεός. The above cited writings of the Church Fathers (as well as others, such as Theodoret of Cyrus), show that regardless of what some texts may have indicated, they clearly understood the passage to refer to God. Gregory of Nyssa writes, for example, in Book IV of Against Eunomius:
How then was it that “God [θεός] was manifested in the flesh”? “By birth,” of course you will say. But what sort of birth do you speak of? Surely it is clear that you speak of that from the virginity, and that “that which was conceived in her was of the Holy Ghost…”
John Chrysostom writes:
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; God [θεός] was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit.
Here he speaks of the Dispensation in our behalf. Tell me not of the bells, nor of the holy of holies, nor of the high priest. The Church is the pillar of the world. Consider this mystery, and you may be struck with awe: for it is indeed a great mystery, and a mystery of godliness, and that without controversy or question, for it is beyond all doubt. Since in his directions to the Priests he had required nothing like what is found in Leviticus he refers the whole matter to Another, saying, God was manifest in the flesh. The Creator was seen incarnate.
Homily XI on First Timothy
(Greek version is here, p. 553, about 2/3 down the 2nd column)
That’s why for example Christ doesn’t know the time nor the hour but the Father only (Matthew 24:36) because by emptying Himself of His God-Ship EQUALITY with God the Father (Philippians 2:5 – 7), He chose to be like the Creature Humbling Himself to Lead by Example in All things (Perfect Leadership by Example – Having First Place, Full Score or Perfection in Everything WORTHILY as the Verse below Implies):
“He is also Head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have FIRST place in EVERYTHING.” (Colossians 1:18, NASB)
So, “GOD Became FLESH Indeed as Lord Jesus Christ ONLY” (John 1:1, John 1:14) for the Purpose to Save the World (1 John 4:14)!
P/S 3: What is the meaning of “Firstborn of All Creation” (Colossians 1:15)?
The phrase “Firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15) means that He is the Firstborn from the ‘Dead” (as mentioned in Colossians 1:18) over all Creation as the Context of Cosecutive Verses Describe each other when taken ‘together’ as ‘it is Written’.
The phrase “firstborn” here refers to “His Resurrection” and NOT His Birth since if the latter was the case, then it doesn’t make sense since there were ‘creation which existed on the earth too (men & others) who were first or before Him’.
He is the FIRST-born from the DEAD meaning the FIRST Resurrected One as Colossians 1:18 clarifies this phrase further. NO ONE Resurrected from the ‘dead’ (being Immortally Incorruptible by Sin & its Effects) before Him Proving this meaning Irrefutably.
Rest of Creation will share in this Freedom or Liberty from ‘Sin and its Effects’ (Romans 8:20 – 21), yes ALL Creation too (Romans 8:22) when His Ransom for ALL [Creation] applies in its OWN TIMES (1 Timothy 2:6) taking away ALL Sin of the World (1 John 2:2) eventually till SIN CEASES to EXIST (John 1:29) and God becomes ALL in ALL [Creation, 1 Corinthians 15:28] in the ‘Dispensation of Fullness of Times’ (Ephesians 1:9 – 10) which is understood as the Ends of the AGES (Hebrews 11:3, Ephesians 2:7).