WHAT DOES IT MEAN JESUS IS GOD’S ONLY BEGOTTEN SON?
One of our favorite scripture verses is John “In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent His only begotten son into the world, that we might live through Him.”
This unique phrase is used with reference to the Lord Jesus just three other times, and all three verses contain vitally important truths concerning Christ. These verses are:
The phrase “Only Begotten Son” occurs in which reads in the King James Version as, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
But why was it important for the Holy Spirit who inspired these verses to stress that the Lord Jesus was the incarnate “Only Begotten Son of God?”
The phrase “Only Begotten” translates the Greek word “Monogenes.” This word is variously translated into English as “only”, “one and only”, and “only begotten”. It’s the last phrase “only begotten”, used in the King James Version that causes problems.
Many modern English translations of the New Testament apparently do not consider it important, for they render the phrase merely as “only son” or in some translations as “one and only son”. There are still some people that render this phrase correctly (as the King Jmes Version) as “only begotten son”. “Menogenes” is the Greek form which clearly denotes “only generated.”
As christians, we believe in “Monotheism” (one God), and monosyllable means a word of one syllable. So, “Monogenes” means only one genesis or only one generated—or, more simply,—“only begotten”.
So, what does “Monogenes” mean? Monogenes has two primary definitions:
The first definition is “pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class; unique in kind.” This is the meaning that is implied in NOTE: See also 1:14, John
While Jesus often refers to Himself, and is referred to by God, as the Son, this is an indication of Jesus’ s position in the Trinity.
In the Gospel of John, John was primarily concerned with demonstrating that Jesus is the Son of God and he uses Monogenes to highlight Jesus as uniquely God’s son—sharing the same divine nature as God—as opposed to believers who are God’s sons and daughters by adoption in Jesus is God’s “only begotten son”.
The second definition of Monogenes is pertaining to “Being the only one of its kind within a specific relationship”. This is the meaning in when the writer refers to Isaac as (Abraham’s “only begotten son”) (King James Version).
Abraham, as you remember, was the father of the Jewish nation. In Genesis, God had made a covenant with Abraham to give to him the whole land of Canaan.
In God also made a covenant with Abraham pertaining to Sarah, his wife. God said, “I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; Kings of people will come from her.”
You remember Sarah and Abraham had one son, when Sarah was 90 years old, whose name was Isaac. Now Abraham had other sons; one (Ishmael) by Sarah’s maidservant, and 6 others by another wife (Keturah) (Genesis 25:1-4). But Isaac was the only son he had by Sarah and the only son of the covenant. Not all of Abraham’s descendants inherited the blessing God had promised Abraham through his covenant. God chose to renew this covenant with Abraham’s son, Isaac, rather than Ishmael, and with Isaac’s son, Jacob, rather than Esau. Jacob had 12 sons (first born-Reuben).
It is the uniqueness of Isaac among the other sons, that allows for the use of “Monogenes” in that context.
The bottom line is that terms as “father” and “son”, which are descriptive of God and Jesus, are human terms that help us understand the relationship between the different persons of the Trinity. If you can understand the relationship between a human father and a human son, then you can understand, in part, the relationship between the first and second persons of the Trinity. Perhaps God chose to use a father-son relationship to explain His relationship with Jesus since it’s the closest-fitting human relationship. Sons are subordinate to their fathers, as Jesus was subordinate to the Father while He was on earth, and submitted to his will. Yet, a father-son relationship is a close relationship. Both biologically and emotionally. The father and the son love each other, and are in fact, the same God. In Jesus spoke of “the glory which I had with thee before the world was”.
“Monogenes” does not mean “one” or even “one and only”. It is worth noting that although Christ is called the son, or son of God, frequently in the NewTestament, He is never called the “only” son of God in the original Greek.
The fact is that to call Him the only son of God would make the Bible contradict itself, for He is not the only “son of God”. Angels are several times called the sons of God (Job since they have no fathers, being directly created by God.
Adam was called the Son of God because he was directly created by God.
Also, those who have become “new creations” in Christ Jesus by faith in Corinthians and In this sense, we all are also “sons/daughters of God”, not physically, but spiritually John
But this never applied to Christ, for He is not a son of God, but a “begotten” son of God—in fact, the begotten” son of God.
He never had a beginning, for He was there in the beginning If Jesus created all things and is before all things, obviously, He was not created Himself.
Jesus has always existed as God, according to scripture. He was not He was not born of heavenly parents. He existed before all things.
He has existed for all eternity. In both 8:58 and Exodus it says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am”. Gospel John is a reference to Exodus in which God says “His name is I Am”. Jesus is using a play on words to apply the same name to Himself.
In (Colossians 1:17), “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”.
Not only has Jesus always existed, Jesus is God. As says, the word was God. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.”
says, “and the word became flesh, and dwelt among us… .”
The “word” is Jesus.
That the son of God has always existed is a fact that is repeated throughout the Bible. It is plain that Jesus was not created. Jesus is the alpha and omega; the first and the last. You cannot be first if there was someone before you, who created you.
These truths are beyond our full comprehension, of course, for they are all part of the great mystery of the triune Godhead.
Christ is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). For as he said in (John 10:30), “I and my father are one”.
Many would call (John 3:16) the greatest verse in the Bible.
It assures us that, if we simply put our trust in our great creator, who has become man in order to die for our sins, and then to defeat death and become our savior, our sins will be forgiven, and we shall live forever with Him.
In closing I will quote (John 3:18) “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the Only begotten son of God”.