Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas: What does "only begotten Son" mean?

Most Christians will tell you that Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God, but if you ask them what that means they cannot tell you. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 

The Greek word for “only begotten” is monogenes and means “uniquely born” or “one-of-a-kind birth.” The conception and birth of Jesus was unique—nothing like it had ever happened before and will never happen again in the future.  He was conceived in the womb of a virgin by the Holy Spirit and is the only one who has two natures—divine and human; all God and all man. “Only begotten” does not mean that Jesus did not exist until the Father begat Him, which is what cults believe.

1. Jesus existed in eternity past as “the Word.” 
Jesus always existed as the Word (God) in eternity past. Micah 5:2 says His days are from eternity. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word (this was His name before “Jesus”) and the Word was with God (the Father), and the Word was God.”  This shows Jesus pre-existed as God before He came to earth and became man.

2. When Jesus left heaven to put on human flesh, “the Word” became “the Son.”
Cults teach that a father is older than a son, so Jesus must have come into existence at a point in time.  The Bible does not teach this. Jesus has always existed as God in eternity past, and the term “Son” refers to His humanity which began at His Incarnation. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” This happened 2,000 years ago when He entered a human body and was named Jesus. The Word became the Son when He came to earth.

Dr. Walter Martin, author of The Kingdom of the Cults, writes:
There is no such thing as “the eternal Son of God.” Before Jesus took upon Himself a human form, He already existed with the Father. Hebrews 1:5-6 says that when He brings the first-begotten into the world, He says, “I will be a Father to Him, and He will be a Son to Me.” This is a reference to the Incarnation. It is a change of relationship when the Word takes on flesh—the Word becomes the Son.

The terms "Father" and "Son" describe the first two Persons of the Trinity (God and Jesus), after Christ came to earth. This proves that the terms “begotten” and “sonship” refer to His humanity and not His divinity. As God, He had no beginning, was not begotten, and was not a Son. As man, He was begotten in the flesh and became the Son.  The term "Son of God" reveals His two natures: Son (humanity) and God (deity).
To read more on this topic, click here: What does “the only-begotten Son” mean?
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