Since Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, He is God’s only true family. For us, He is God.

Jesus is the Son of God, but that does not mean that He is God, for believers also are sons of God.  However, Jesus is not only the Son of God; He is God’s only begotten Son.  Begotten means to be born.  That makes Him God’s only real family.

Jesus is the Son of God.

In the Bible the phrase “Son of God,” referring to Jesus Christ, is found 50 times.  For instance:

Angel talking to MaryThe angel said to Mary, “the holy Child shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

God referred to Him as “My beloved Son” (Mat. 3:17). This was at His baptism.

Jesus claimed, “I am the Son of God” (John 10:36; cf. Mat. 16:16, 17; 27:43; Luke 1:35; John 1:34; 1 John 5:5; 9:35-37; 10:36).

Paul referred to Jesus as “His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13).

John explains the purpose of his gospel as follows: “These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31).

The title “Son of God,” by itself, does not mean that Jesus is God, because:

Believers also are sons of God.

Both the old and new testaments call Adam the son of God in (Gen. 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Luke 3:38; Romans 8:14).

In the Old Testament both Israel (Ex. 4:22–23; Hosea 11:1) and the king (Psalm 2:7) were called God’s son.

But I say to you
Sermon on the Mount

The New Testament many times refer to believers as “sons of God.”  All four Gospels record Jesus saying, “Blessed are the peace-makers; they will be called sons of God.”  “All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).  “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).  See also Luke 20:35-36; 1 John 3:1; Phil. 2:15; John 1:12; Mat 5:9; Romans 8:14; Romans 8:19 and Galatians 3:26.

But Jesus is not only the Son of God:

Jesus is God’s only begotten Son.

The apostle John wrote of Jesus:

The only begotten from the Father” (John 1:14);

No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18).

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world” (1 John 4:9).

John wrote this because Jesus described Himself as God’s “only begotten Son” (John 3:16, 18).

Only begotten” translates the Greek word monogenēs.  This word means “only unique” or “one of its kind.”  The NIV translates monogenés as the “one and only”, for instance:”

The one and only Son, who came from the Father” (John 1:14, NIV).

Jesus therefore is God’s Son in a unique sense.  He, as Son of God, has no brethren.  But monogenēs means more than just unique:

Jesus is God’s only real family.

MonogenēsMonogenēs combines two words, namely monos (alone) and génos (family, offspring).  Monogenēs therefore means that Jesus is God’s only family.  Human beings are adopted as sons, but Jesus is God’s only real family.

Some think of Christ as God’s first creation.  But since He was “begotten,” He was not created.  To the contrary, God created “all things” through Him (Col. 1:16-17).

Jesus is not God.

Trinity
Symbol for the Trinity

In the view of much of the Church today, God is one Being consisting of three co-equal Persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It is here proposed that this view is not Biblical:

In the article Jesus is not God it has been shown that the Bible consistently makes a distinction between God and Jesus.  Take, for instance, the phrase “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:3).  Two Persons are mentioned.  One is God.  The other is Jesus (the Lamb).  Another example is Colossians 1:15, which says that Jesus is the visible image of the “invisible God”.  “God is spirit” (John 4:24) and cannot be seen. These confirm that Jesus is not the same Being as God.  As another example, take one of the best known verses in the Bible: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).  These are examples of perhaps a hundred or more phrases in the Bible that make a clear distinction between God and Jesus.  Other examples, from a quick scan of John and the first two chapters of Acts, include John 1:1, 18, 29, 36; 6:27, 46; 8:40; 13:3; 17:3 and Acts 2:22, 24)

Paul confirmed, “there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Cor. 8:6).

The point is that Jesus is not the Being or part of the Being which the Bible identifies as the one true God.  The distinction that is made between Being and Person, with respect to the Father and the Son, using the words of one theologian, is studied ambiguity.  What is meant by that is that it plays with words with the intention of confusing people.  A being is a person and a person is a being.

But, for us, He is God.

Given this reality that Jesus is distinct from God, how should we understand the statement that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God?  Begotten, in human language, means that God gave birth to Him.  “Only begotten,” in human language, means that He is the only One born of God.  He was not literally born.  These are symbols.  With these symbols God explains to us, in human terms, to finite minds, that the Son is infinitely higher than created beings.  As the only begotten Son of God, He is very closely related to God.

It is therefore proposed that Jesus is not the same Being as God, but, for us finite created beings, He is God.  In two other articles it was concluded that we must worship Jesus, for Jesus has equality with God.

Equality is not equal.

The reader may accuse me now of studied ambiguity, but this is simply trying to reflect the message of the Bible:

Equality with GodOn the one hand Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus had equality with God before He became a human being.

On the other hand, in the article “God is the Head of Christ,” it has been shown that everything which Jesus has, He has received from His Father.  This includes His authority to raise the dead and to judge.  He also received His teachings, His works, His disciples and even the Fullness of Deity from the Father.

His equality with God therefore cannot mean that He is equal to the Father.

The Father is God.

Somebody might accept that Jesus received everything from the Father, but argue that both the Father and the Son are God.  Jesus most often referred to “the Father;” not to God.  But note that Jesus identified the Father as God, in distinction to Himself.  He said:

Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father” (John 6:46).

I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God” (John 20:17).

Similar statements include John 6:27 and 13:3.

Some key verses

The following verses, from the gospel of John and the first two chapters of Acts, show:

1.  That the Bible maintains a distinction between God and Jesus;
2. That “the Father” refers to God;
3. That “the Lord” refers to Jesus;

The Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (1:18).

the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (1:29; cf v36).

on Him (the Son of Man) the Father, God, has set His seal” (6:27).

Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father” (John 6:46).

you are seeking to kill Me (Jesus), a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God” (8:40).

I proceeded forth and have come from God” (John 8:42).

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God” (John 13:3).

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God” (John 20:17).

Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst” (Acts 2:22).

God raised Him up again” (Acts 2:24).

NEXT:  God created all things through His Son.

Articles in the series: Is Jesus God?

1.    The three views of the Son
2.    Jesus existed prior to His birth in the form of God.
3.    Jesus in Colossians
4.    Did Jesus empty Himself of equality with God?
5.    Who is the Word?
6.    Jesus is not God.
7.    God is the Head of Christ.
8.    In the Bible Jesus is called God.
9.    Only Begotten Son of God
10.  God created all things through His Son.
11.  We must worship Jesus.
12.  Is Jesus God?