Truth, Understanding, Insight

Son of God

29th November 2008, mgh,hej


9) In the Beginning was the Word (John 1)

The first chapter of John's Gospel record has concepts that can cause problems for some Bible readers. John begins with the statement that “in the beginning was the word” and then continues, saying that this “word was with God and the word was God”, and through it all things were made (John 1: 1).

The Greek word translated “word” is 'logos'. The word means the outward form of a thought or reason. It is the spoken word that illustrates thought, wisdom and doctrine. It was the divine, “theos”, word, not man's. From the beginning God's purpose was revealed and proclaimed in the Bible. The word was with God and emanated, or came from him. It “was God” in the sense that it revealed him and his purpose to mankind. A similar idea is given when Jesus said “this is my blood” in reference to the wine during the last supper (Matthew 26: 28). The wine was not literally his blood, but was the symbol and representation of his blood that was to be poured out at his crucifixion. In the same way the 'word' is God's expressed purpose for creation and for man's existence.

Through the word of God his Son was begotten. It was the word and power of God going forth by which the Messiah was conceived and born, that is “begotten” of the Father, that is by his will. The Messiah had been clearly promised in the writings of the prophets and the time of his birth and mission prophesied by Daniel.

“And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1: 14)

From the beginning, the seed of the woman who would be the means of providing salvation for mankind, had been promised by the word of God.

God's purpose with mankind was declared through his word in the Garden of Eden, following the disobedience of Adam and Eve. In sinning Adam and Eve were condemned to die and so too would all their descendants. In Genesis chapter 3 a redeemer to save man from eternal death was promised.

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3: 15)

The misguiding influence of the serpent represented the forces that lead to sin and death. Jesus, in leading a sinless life and in full obedience to his Father's will, overcame the power of sin in his life, demonstrating the symbol of the bruising 'of the head', a fatal wound. Jesus was the seed of the woman promised from the beginning to destroy sin and death and open a way for man to obtain salvation.

The promised seed is found in the Old Testament. Abraham was promised that “in thy seed shall all nations be blessed.” (Genesis 22: 18). Paul clarified who this seed was, “And that seed is Christ.” (Galatians 3: 16). David was promised a seed and God promised, “I will establish his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son.” (2 Samuel 7: 12-14). Luke 1: 32-33 clearly identifies this seed with Jesus at the time of his birth.

The Apostle John leaves little doubt about his belief that Jesus was the Son of God. In the fifth chapter of John's gospel further details are given in relation to who Jesus was.

For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself: and has given him authority to execute judgement also, because he is the son of man.(John 5: 26-27)

The Son did not have life in himself. The Father gave him life and authority. This in no way presents equality of the Son with his Father. Jesus reaffirms his subjection to his Father in the same chapter, saying,

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what things soever he does, these also does the Son likewise... the Father loves the Son and shows him all things... I can of mine own self do nothing... I seek not my own will but the will of the Father who has sent me.” (John 5: 19, 20,30)

Nowhere in the Bible does the statement God the Son occur. In the New Testament there are 46 references to the Son of God. In Luke 3: 38, in Jesus' genealogy, it is stated that Adam was the Son of God, but no one would claim that Adam was God the Son. The apostle John in his gospel, letters and the book of Revelation, uses the term Son of God in relation to Jesus eighteen times, which is forty per cent of those references. This is quite significant as John 1 is the section of the Bible largely responsible for the origin of Trinitarian theory. However John's repeated use of the phrase describing Jesus as the 'Son of God' clarifies his understanding of the relationship Jesus to His Father. Jesus was the promised seed referred to in Genesis, who would overcome the power of sin and disobedience as represented by the serpent.

NEXT PAGE... The Title 'God'