“He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation…
He is also the head of the body, the church;
the beginning and firstborn from among the dead…” (Colossians 1:15, 18a)
The parallelism of this passage is so striking to me. There are two ways of thinking of Jesus as the Son of God. The first is that he is the first of all God's children in general, i.e., his creatures. Prior to creating all that he creates, God first had his Son. And so he is the firstborn (prototokos) of all creation, the elder brother to all creation. Now Col. 1:15 on its own won't get one beyond the Son as highest creature. But even if we need to say more than this, we must not cease saying this too. Jesus Christ is the prototokos of all creation, and as such is its prototype.
The second is that he is the first of all God's children in particular, i.e., his church. Prior to constituting the church, God first raised his Son Jesus from the dead. And so Christ is the firstborn (prototokos) from among the dead, the elder brother to all those who will be raised at the end of time. Now Col. 1:18 doesn't tie up all the loose ends. And it certainly doesn't conceptualize the relationship between these parallel appellations. But it seems appropriate to suggest that Jesus Christ, the double prototokos, is the prototype of both the first creation and the final creation. Therefore, to know what it means to be truly human, we may and must look to the risen Christ. That's the implication of the claim that faith in God the Creator is bound up with faith in God the Resurrector.