The Real Jesus

The Only Begotten Son of God

 

 

The question is not whether Jesus is a Son of God, but whether He is the only son of God. Christians believe He is the only begotten Son of God, and some Bible translations, such as The New Living Translation and the New International Version translate KJV, John 1:14, "the glory as of the only begotten of the Father", as "the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father". It would be clearer to keep the right translation and use "only begotten" instead of "only Son", yet the statement is still true.

There are several references to "sons of God" in the New Testament outside of the reference to Jesus as the Son of God. The term refers to those who follow after God and keep His Word. Paul wrote to the brethren at Rome, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). John the beloved wrote, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” and, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God” (1 John 3:1, 2). We know from these verses that not only is Jesus a son of God, but those who have a loving relationship with God are as well.

What differentiates Jesus from other sons is the question that separates Christianity from New Age religions and their concepts. Theology helps define and interpret Scripture. New Age concepts are not based on Theology as much as on the ideas of those who are their leaders, and for some groups those leaders are ascended masters or spiritual "guides", who then interpret the Bible and tell their followers what the Scripture means.

C.S. Lewis in his book, Mere Christianity, describes what is the difference between our own direct experience with God that we experience as real, and what we learn from Theology, using the analogy of a man who experiences the ocean from the beach and a map of the Atlantic. A man goes to the beach and experiences the ocean where he directly experiences what the ocean is like. But Lewis suggests that it is not going to get you anywhere by that experience. You need a map to get you across the ocean. While the beach scene is real and the map is not, because the map is comprised of thousands of people's experiences sailing on the ocean, which were real experiences, that map is a useful tool to get you across the ocean. Whereas the one man's experience of the ocean from the beach is limiting, he can't use that experience to sail across the ocean. He then related that the map is like Theology. Theology is used to learn about religions and their beliefs. It is like a map that is based on hundreds of people's experiences. We might have a direct experience with God, but what do we do with it? While an exciting experience, nothing comes of it. If we want to go from the beach and across the ocean, we need a map. Likewise, if you want to go further than a direct experience, you need a map.

New Age groups that might encourage feeling God in nature, and so on, feel good and are attractive because you don't need to do anything, like watching the waves from a beach. But you will not get across the ocean by studying the waves, or reach eternal life by feeling the presence of God in the flowers. Neither will you get anywhere by looking at maps without going to sea. We need Theology today because we live in an age where there is so much information to process and so many discussions on subjects from the uninformed as well as the informed and so many Internet trolls bent on disrupting communication and learning. A lot of the New Age concepts aren't really new, they have already been tried and rejected by Theologians centuries ago, yet they are being played again and accepted because people don't take the time to study what they are accepting as a higher truth than the Bible.

Another example Lewis gives related to this understanding is that one popular idea of Christianity is that if we all took Jesus Christ's advice, since he was a great moral teacher, we might be able to repair society and avoid future wars. While that is true, Christianity is much more. But do we need Christ for that advice, as we have had the same advice from other great teachers and we have not stopped wars because we have not taken their advice. If we haven't learned from these teachers how are we going to follow Christ who is the best moral teacher? It is comparative to elementary lessons from good teachers that were never understood and applied. How likely are we going to understand and use advanced teachings? Therefore, if Christianity only means one more good advice it will be of no importance because there has been no lack of good advice for thousands of years.

Yet dig deeper into the real Christianity and writings and you learn things like Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and those who are led by the Spirit can also become Sons of God, but what does that mean? Aren't we already sons of God because God is our Father, He created us and takes care of us? Yes, but if the Bible teaches us that we can "become Sons of God", then obviously we are not already! There is a mystery that Theology can help us understand.

The Nicene Creed says, "Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God....begotten not made consubstantial with the Father". The difference between beget and create is that while you can create anything, when you beget something you beget something of the same kind as yourself. When God begets, He begets God; when God creates it is not God. So you see that God beget Jesus, the Son of God, and we are created sons of God. For example, in Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” While some of God's creations are like Him, having energy, space, and life, they are not the same as God because God is much more. Mankind is greater than lower animals, having the ability to love, to create, to think and to feel. We are alive in a greater sense than the vegetable kingdom. Yet we have another life that we rarely contact, and that is the Spiritual life. It is another world that is quite different from our physical world and our normal experiences. Finding and experiencing the Spiritual life is what Christianity is all about.

Faith is an integral part of Christianity. For example St. Paul emphasizes the most fundamental elements of the gospel that make it possible for sinners to be saved from their sins is by faith in the gospel. In New Age religions and groups, faith is not the most important part of the spiritual path. The emphasis is on self-redemption by means of the tools they supposedly provide that are above and beyond Scripture. These tools supposedly come from the "higher" realms of God, higher planes of consciousness. With these tools to remedy every wrong or sin, who needs Jesus? When scriptures are redefined in "ascended master" language, suddenly who needs to read the Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to give you the inner understanding with the Word and thereby develop your own Spiritual life?

Christ died on the cross as our substitute for the death penalty. In theological terms, this is called “substitutionary atonement.” A substitutionary death would suggest that Jesus took upon himself judgment for sins so that the sinners for whom he died would experience the reward of salvation if they repent and believe. Without Him, we would suffer the death penalty for our own sins. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "He [God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

In the New Age philosophy, the belief is "all the answers are within us", yet they appear to have an endless supply of answers to all of life's questions, contradicting this belief they teach. The idea is that in order to get the answers from within you need to listen to their ideas and concepts first. You don't need to read the Gospels to understand Christ, you are told all you need to know about Christ from the New Age teachers and their masters. Christ is redefined in a new way that the Bible has never taught us. For example, one of the New Age concepts taught that is outside of Scripture is the belief that there is a Universal Christ, an individual Christ Self (that everyone has), and a Cosmic Christ (and office held by "Matreya" and above Jesus' office of world teacher, along with a master called Kuthumi). We are told by New Age teachers that one of the greatest atrocities to mankind is the lie propagated by orthodoxy (aka fallen angels in embodiment who create the doctrine) that there is only one Son of God. So let us look at one meaning of the Son of God through the Trinity.

The Trinity
The doctrine of the Trinity is a mystery to some people and may be difficult to understand how three aspects of God can be one. We learn in Scripture that this is what God has revealed about His own Being and therefore it is true.

The Godhead is comprised of three eternal and co-equal Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each Person is fully God, the same in essence but distinct in role and person, all in one Being. Each Person has the fullness of the Godhead.

The Bible speaks of the Father who sent His Son into the world (John 3:1), then after the Son returned to the Father, the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit into the world (Acts 2:33). The Father is shown to be distinct from the Son and the Father and Son from the Holy Spirit.

Another example is at the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:16–17 all three persons were present and distinct. The Son is baptized, then the Father speaks from Heaven, and the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus in the form of a dove. One more example to help us understand what that means to be one Being and three Persons, one Christian author explained it this way. We need to realize that we are talking about one what, which is the Being or essence of God, and three who’s, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Since Jesus was fully human (as well as fully divine), Jesus would sometimes speak of the Father as being one with Him, as well as He sometimes prayed to the Father. Jesus said: ‘My Father is greater than I’ (John 14:28). Jesus also repeatedly said that He is doing the Father’s will, thereby implying that He is somehow subservient to the Father.  Jesus was not denying that He was God. He was merely acknowledging the fact that He was also a man. Jesus has two natures: both God and man. As a man, He was in a lesser position than the Father. How do we reconcile the fact that the second Person of the Trinity is fully divine yet fully human? "St. Paul explains it in Philippians 2:5-11, "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." 

When Jesus is referenced as “God’s only Son” in some of the Bible translations, this position speaks of His relationship to God the Father. The phrase “one and only Son” means that Jesus shares “the same essential nature” as God, he is begotten. This triune relationship we call the Trinity even though the word, “Trinity” is not directly mentioned in the Bible. The Triune God is a mystery for us to understand, although if we open our hearts and minds to allow God to show us Himself in his true Nature, we can come to understand this Trinity as one of the most important aspects of knowing ourselves and the Spiritual Life we are to be seeking beyond the physical that consumes most of our waking hours.

In conclusion, we see that Jesus is the only Son of God in the sense that He was begotten. He also was a son of man taking on human form and was still a Son of God while in human form, fully Divine while fully human. There are other Sons of God who have union with the Father, but they are not begotten but made.

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) in his best known work the Summa Theologiae, explains the relationship of the Father to the Son by offering the analogy of a person who has in mind something they want to say. When we use words they proceed from our understanding of a situation, which comes in parts and stages, and thus our words are many because of expressing these stages. We don't understand everything perfectly at once, therefore we can't communicate everything perfectly at once. Aquinas says God can. In one Word God understands everything, and communicates everything: "God understands all things by one simple act. ... Hence there cannot exist in Him a procession of Word from Word ... for there is in Him only one perfect Word."

This unique Word of God we call the Son of God and thus there can be only one Son of God. "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).