[Biblemat] Eternal Sonship Controversy (question/answer)
dmartinbtbq at comcast.net
Thu Dec 6 11:08:21 CST 2007
The following is question/answer number 3, 200 since our new year, July 16
(in cases of local controversy, we do not "take sides" but simply present
what the scriptures teach on the matter):
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Did Jesus become the Son of God when he was born of Mary or did his Sonship
exist before this time? There is a big controversy over this matter where I
am a member.
Jacob, to answer your good question, I shall insert below excerpts from,
"Jesus, the Son of God" found in www.bibletruths.net This is a PowerPoint
presentation, accessed from the Site Map page (enter through the door on the
home page and click on "PowerPoint Sermons" in the directory).
The "eternal Sonship" controversy. The eternal Sonship of Jesus issue
continues to this very day. Some contend that Jesus' Sonship or being the
Son of God was begun at the time of his physical birth (Luke 1: 35). Some
say it started at his baptism (Mark 1: 11). Still others maintain "the Son
of God" status commenced at the time of Jesus' resurrection from the dead
(Acts 13: 33, cp. Rom. 1: 1-4). Some believe that Jesus' Sonship and his
mediatorial reign are connected relative to time commencement. Since they
believe Jesus' reign is yet future, some of the Premillennial persuasion,
they do not now view Him as the Son of God (cp. Ps. 2: 6, 7). I believe it
is evident to the logician that many in the eternal Sonship controversy mix
terms or fail to realize an important nuance.
For the sake of clarity, allow me to share with you words of another
pertaining to the text of John 5: 17, 18 and John 10: 25-33, texts in which
Jesus refers to His Father and the fact that He and the Father are One:
"In that culture, a dignitary's adult son was deemed equal in stature and
privilege with his father. The same deference demanded by a king was
afforded to his adult son. The son was, after all, of the very same essence
as his father, heir to all the father's rights and privileges--and therefore
equal in every significant regard. So when Jesus was called 'Son of God,' it
was understood categorically by all as a title of deity, making Him equal
with God and (more significantly) of the same essence as the Father. That is
precisely why the Jewish leaders regarded the title 'Son of God' as high
blasphemy" (John MacArthor).
Sonship in the sense of the same nature, in the case of Jesus and the Father
meaning deity, Jesus has always been the "Son of God" (John 1: 1-14). Again,
this is how the Jews who often heard Jesus understood "Son of God" as
applied to Jesus. How do we, then, account for the other apparent time
commencement references in scripture? It is my understanding that "Son of
God" as applied to the relationship between Jesus and His Father does have
some special "incarnation references and associations." First, Jesus is so
declared, as we have seen, pertaining to his physical birth (Luke 1: 35),
his baptism (Mark 1: 11), and resurrection (Rom. 1: 1-4). Such references
do not mean, I am convinced, that the angel, the Father, and Paul meant to
say that Jesus' Sonship in the sense of John 5 and 10 began at the
referenced event. If understood in this sense, these statements would be
incongruous and incapable of harmony. Such events merely demonstrated the
fact of his already existent Sonship or deity.
As a Son, though, in the incarnation circumstance, Jesus demonstrated
acquiescence to His Father (John 8: 28, 29). "Son" as used in the
incarnation circumstance began at Jesus' birth and shall continue until
Jesus delivers the Kingdom to the Father. At that time, the concept of
"Son," again, in this special incarnation sense, will cease that, "God may
be all in all" (I Cor. 15: 24-28).
I recommend you read the many articles in Bible Truths pertaining to Jesus.
One in particular would be, "The Only Begotten" (see below excerpt). To
read the short article in full, click on http://www.bibletruths.net and
enter through the door. When on the Site Map page, click on "Archives and
Index," then click on the letter "J" on the Archives page. Here is the
"...Only begotten as applied to Jesus. The scriptures teach that God's
people are "sons of God" (Rom. 8: 14). Modernists contend that Jesus was
simply another son of God. Not so! Jesus' Sonship was understood as
indicative of deity (Jn. 10: 36, 38). Monogenes is used of Jesus' Sonship.
Jesus is the "only begotten Son" (I Jn. 4: 9). "Single of its kind,"
comments Thayer, ".used of Christ, denotes the only Son of God or who in the
sense in which he himself is the Son of God has no brethren.he is of nature
or essentially Son of God, and so in a very different sense from that in
which men are made by him children of God" (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon,
pgs. 417, 418). Beloved, God's people are adopted "sons of God," Jesus is
the only Son of God by nature (cp. Rom. 8: 14-16).
As God's monogenes Jesus enjoyed unique glory (Jn. 1: 14). The only
begotten declared God (Jn. 1: 18). Jesus being of the same essential nature
as the Father could reveal God as no other could (Jn. 14: 8-11). The only
begotten is the ultimate expression of God's love (Jn. 3: 16, I Jn. 4: 9).
Moreover, we must believe in the only begotten Son of God (Jn. 3: 18,
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