Some people propose that the Son of God is a created being. Others say that He was derived from the Father. A third view is that He always existed; co-equal with the Father.
When He became a human being, He emptied Himself of wisdom, power, knowledge. He became a helpless human baby.
Created – Some people propose that the Son of God is a created being; the first created being, who created all other things, yet still a created being.
Derived – A second view, held for instance by the Fathers of the Christian church, is that the Son of God, as to His divine nature, was not created, but was “derived” from the Father; eternally generated by God the Father; came forth from the being of God. Hence, the Nicene creed speaks of him as:
“Begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made”.
Co-equal – A third view is held by those who hold that a derived being cannot in any proper sense be “God.” They argue that His Son always existed; co-equal with the Father.
This discussion is complicated by the information that, when He became a human being, “although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6-7). He emptied Himself of the form of God and of equality with God. He became fully and truly human, having to learn like any other human being. But although He emptied Himself of supernatural powers, He remained the same Person as before. We need to keep these things in mind when we think about Him. For instance, He said that He only does what the Father tells Him to do. If that was because He “emptied Himself,” then His dependence on God does not help us to understand Who He eternally is.
This subject requires humility, for humans are not able to understand God. “His judgments are unsearchable and His ways are unfathomable” (Rom. 11:33). The Lord warned:
“as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
We must accept that “we know in part … see in a mirror dimly” (1 Cor. 13:9-12). It is our privilege to study about Him, but we must do it with humility, for “the secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons” (Deut. 29:29). Even with what is revealed in the Scriptures, we may feel frustrated because we do not understand, but we need to accept our inability to understand with joy, for then we also realize a little bit of His greatness. If we were able to understand Him, then He would have been a very small God indeed.
We do understand to some extent, and in the new heavens and new earth we will always continue to learn more and more about Him, but there will always remain an infinity beyond. That may scare us, but let us rejoice that God has revealed Himself in Jesus as trustworthy and merciful.
We must not use logic to supply that which the Bible does not reveal. Human logic will only serve to lead us away from the truth.
Summary: The three views of Jesus Christ
Created: Some propose that He is a created being; the first created being, who created all other things, yet still a created being.
Derived: The Fathers of the Christian church proposed that He was eternally generated by God the Father; that He came forth from the being of God; begotten not made”.
Co-equal: A third view is that He always existed; co-equal with the Father.
Articles in the series: Is Jesus God?
1. The three views of the Son – Current article
2. Jesus existed prior to His birth in the form of God. Next
3. Jesus in Colossians
4. Did Jesus empty Himself of equality with God?
5. Who is the Word In John 1:1?
6. Jesus is not God.
7. God is the Head of Christ.
8. In the Bible Jesus is called God.
9. He is the Only Begotten Son of God.
10. God created all things through His Son.
11. We must worship Jesus.
12. Is Jesus God?
13. Summary of the series of articles
14. Where do we find Jesus in the Old Testament?
Recommended listening: Does the NT teach that Jesus is God? (White vs Malik)