The Son of God emptied Himself to become a human being, but is He God?

Jesus as babySome 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. 

Three views

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.

Fathers of the faithDerived – 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.

Emptied Himself 

Emptied HimselfThis 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.

Humility Required

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 heaven are higheras 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.

Logic distorts 

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?
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)

The Four Gospels have a higher authority than the Old Testament.

Hebrews 1:1-2 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son. (New American Standard)

The Two Testaments

These verses contrast the two testaments:

What God spoke long ago in the prophets represents the Old Testament.

Son of manWhat God spoke in these last days in His Son refers to the New Testament, or perhaps more accurately, the Four Gospels.

The writer is saying with this contrast that the Four Gospels have a much higher authority because God spoke it in His Own Son, who is the heir of all things, through whom also He made the world and who still upholds all things (Hebrews 1:2-3).

Hebrews frequently quotes the Old Testament.  It uses the Old Testament to show that the Four Gospels have a much higher authority.  For this reason, the writer starts in Hebrews 1:1 by affirming the Old Testament as the Word of God.

New TestamentSome Bible interpretations effectively classify the Four Gospels as part of the Old Testament, while the New Testament letters are used as the basis for Christianity.  But Hebrews tells us that the four gospels are the foundation of the New Testament.


God Spoke

In these verses it is God that spoke; not the prophets and not His Son.

We should be amazed that the infinite and eternal God should speak to man; a speck of dust floating in the unending expanse of the universe.  But this reflects His love for man; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).

God exists outside the limits of space, time, and matter. If God had not spoken, we would have known anything about Him, and we would have floating around in this immeasurable universe without hope. But God has spoken, and we, therefore, do have hope.

The fathers include Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  They are also the spiritual fathers of Gentile Christian believers (Rom 4:16; Gal 3:29).

Last Days

Last DaysThe phrase last days is commonly understood as meaning ‘recently’.  However, Jesus said, His disciples believed and the entire New Testament—including Hebrews (Heb 9:26; 10:25, 36-37)—teach that the Lord is coming soon. The phrase “these last days” therefore indicates the writer’s belief that his generation was to be the last generation before Christ’s return. Please see Why did He Not Return in the First Century as He promised?

His Son

Even though Hebrews 1:2 says that God “has spoken to us in His Son”, the writer and his readers had not actually heard Jesus (Heb 2:3). They were second-generation Christians. Hebrews was written more than 30 years after Christ’s death.

The title “His Son” (Heb 1:2) signifies His unique relationship to God, just like the title “Son of man” designates His relationship to man.

Jesus as babyGod created everything through His Son (Heb 1:2). His Son therefore always existed. To become a human being, His Son emptied Himself of glory, power, and even wisdom. He became a helpless human baby, had to develop like any other human being, and was utterly dependent on God.

The most wonderful event ever in the existence of mankind is that the Son of God should have come from heaven to teach mankind. But equally amazing is how few listened to Him when He was on the earth, and how few still regard Him today.


This letter to the Hebrews does not have an introduction as we would find in other letters. In Hebrews, the first three verses serve as an introduction, but also immediately confront the reader with the main theme of this epistle, which is the superiority of Christ, and therefore the higher authority of His message.

This is a summary.
To read the full article, see God Spoke.