Begotten or Created?
My Beloved Brother/Sister;
Remember, "For we are not as many which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."
(2 Corinthians 2:17)
1. Once Saved, Always Saved?
Was our Lord Jesus Christ, a created being or begotten? was he with God (Father) before he dwelled amongst us?
***John 1:1 is one of those verses that can be hard to understand, many attempts to interpret this verse have led to division and discord among brothers. What I offer you is only to be
“In the beginning-ἀρχῇ (arche)-beginning, origin) was the Word-λόγος (logos)-word), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
First, lets understand, what the words (the beginning) mean. The following two verses will render a perfect example of how to define the Greek word: ἀρχῇ (arche). Also, be mindful that the following two verses also share the same inflection: [speech: Noun, case: Dative, number: Singular, gender: Female]. First, Acts 11:15 (“And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning-ἀρχῇ (arche)-beginning, origin).”) Next, Philippians 4:15 (“Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning-ἀρχῇ (arche)-beginning, origin) of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.”). As you can see, the Greek word: ἀρχῇ (arche) denotes something that occurred at a certain point in time. Next is the word: (was: speech: Verb, tense: Imperfect, voice: (No voice stated), mood: Indicative person: 3rd Person, number: Singular). In the case of the verb ["to be"[was], the imperfect tense is used as a general past tense. When we read: (in the beginning was) we can then understand that the exact time of origin is unspecified; more so, because the verb: (was) is in the imperfect tense with no voice; which indicates an action that occurred in time past with the uncertainty as to when it occurred. Why is this relevant? well, because John 1:1 is a good starting point to understand the origin of the (Word) who became flesh, that is, the Son of God. What does it mean by: (the Word was God)? Some think it to mean that this is proof that the Word is the one and the same God. However, if we look at: (the Word was with-πρὸς (pros)-toward, by, near, (it is used of close proximity -- the idea of direction, (in company)-with, as marker of association, or relationship) God). Knowing this, I, believe John 1:1 is telling us that the Son (the Word) of God is equal to God (in the sense that the Word (the Son of God) is of the Father (God); begotten of God (not made nor created), therefore it is only true to say that the Son of God, is the Word of God, who in the fulness (appointed) of time became flesh (a human being). Philippians 2-5-7 will shed some light into this.
"God alone is without beginning. At the earliest epoch when a beginning could be,– a period so remote that to finite minds it is essentially eternity, – appeared the Word. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1. This uncreated Word was the Being, who, in the fullness of time, was made flesh, and dwelt among us. His beginning was not like that of any other being in the universe. It is set forth in the mysterious expressions, "his [God's] only begotten Son" (John 3:16; 1.John 4:9), "the only begotten of the Father" (John 1:14), and, "I proceeded forth and came from God." John 8:42″ (Uriah Smith, Looking Unto Jesus, p. 10).
Beza Greek New Testament 1598
5 Τοῦτο γὰρ φρονεῖτε ἐν ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, 6 Ὃς ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ ὑπάρχων, οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ· 7 ἀλλ᾽ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσε, μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being-ὑπάρχων (huparchon)-to be, exist) in the form-μορφῇ (morphe)-form, nature, shape) of God, thought it-ἡγήσατο (hegesato)-to lead, account, esteem, (i.e. to consider, deem, account, think) not-οὐχ (ouch)-no, not) robbery-ἁρπαγμὸν (harpagmon)-a snatching away, the act of seizing, robbery, literally: something seized and held) to be equal-ἴσα (isa)-equal to, the same as) with God: 7 But made himself-ἑαυτὸν (eauton)-of himself) of no reputation-ἐκένωσεν (ekenosen)-to empty, (of Christ, he laid aside equality with or the form of God), and took upon him-λαβών (labon)-to take, receive) the form-μορφὴν (morphen)-form, nature, shape) of a servant-δούλου (doulou)-a servant, slave, (i.e. a slave, bondman, man of servile condition), and was made-γενόμενος (genomenos)-to become) in the (//Or, habit) likeness-ὁμοιώματι (homoiomati)-a likeness, something made like, (i.e. resemblance) of men-ἀνθρώπων (anthropon)-a man, a human being):”
***these verses have so much to say. The word (being) has the following inflection: Verb, Present, Active, Participle, Nominative Singular, Masculine: ["being-inherently"]. The following verse uses the same Greek word and inflection; Acts 14:8 (“And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being-ὑπάρχων (huparchon)-to be, exist) a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked.”). We know That Jesus Christ before he became flesh, he was with God and in the (form-μορφῇ (morphe) of God. The word (form) has the following inflection: Noun, Dative, Singular, Feminine. The following verse uses the same Greek word and inflection; Mark 16:12 (“After that, he appeared in another form-μορφῇ (morphe)-form, nature, shape) unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.”). This occurrence took place after the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, he appeared to two men as they went into a village called Emmaus. Luke 24:16 says the following: (“But their eyes were holden-ἐκρατοῦντο (ekratounto)-to lay hold on, (i.e. restrain), that they should not-μὴ (me)-not) know-ἐπιγνῶναι (epignonai)-to know about or fully) him.”). It is uncertain to say if the two men simply could not recognize the risen Lord Jesus because their eyes were restrained from knowing him, or because Jesus took another (form), that is:— form, nature, shape. But what is certain is that Jesus was in the shape (form) of God before entering the world. One can only ponder and ask, "what was the "form" which he had before his incarnation?" .Furthermore, not only was he in the form of God, but also (equal) with God. The word (equal) has the following inflection: Adjective, Nominative, Plural, Neuter. The following verse uses the same Greek word and inflection; Revelation 21:16 (“And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs: the length, and the breadth, and the height of it are equal-ἴσα (isa)-equal to, the same as).”). We now have an idea of what (equal) means; exact parity. When applied to Philippians 2:7, we can then safely assume that the Son of God was equal in; form, nature, and essence with God; he was begotten in the form of God. [I think this is why some brothers are inclined to say that Jesus is God; For he is of the Father; as God. And I empathize with this belief, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that even our Lord Jesus calls his Father "God", and he receives the honor of "Lord"]. Furthermore, the Son of God made himself of no reputation, that is,
"literally, he emptied himself; divested himself both of the form of God, and of the worship due to him as God, when he was made in the likeness of men. In other words, he was so far from tenaciously insisting upon, that he willingly relinquished, his claim: he was content to forego the glories of the Creator, and to appear in the form of a creature: nay, to be made in the likeness of the fallen creatures; and not only to share in the disgrace, but to suffer the punishment due to the meanest and vilest of them all"-(Benson).
The words: (and took upon him) have the following inflection: Verb, Second Aorist, Active, Participle, Nominative, Singular, Masculine: ["taking"]. The following verse uses the same Greek word and inflection; Matthew 15:36 (“And he took-λαβών (labon)-to take, receive) the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.”). Jesus who is the Son of God took the (the form-μορφὴν (morphen)-form, nature, shape) of a servant. The words: (of a servant) have the following inflection: Noun, Genitive, Singular, Masculine: ["of-slave"]. The following verse uses the same Greek word and inflection; Galatians 4:1 (“Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant-δούλου (doulou)-a servant, slave, (i.e. a slave, bondman, man of servile condition), though he be Lord of all,”).
"He was the servant of God, Isaiah 42:1 Matthew 20:28 ..."-(Matthew P.).
and took upon him the form of a servant; "this also was voluntary; he "took upon him", was not obliged, or forced to be in the form of a servant; he appeared as one in human nature, and was really such; a servant to his Father, who chose, called, sent, upheld, and regarded him as a servant; and a very prudent, diligent, and faithful one he was unto him:..."-(Gill).
The words: (and was made) have the following inflection: Verb, Second Aorist, Middle Deponent, Participle, Nominative, Singular, Masculine:
["becoming"]. The following verse uses the same Greek word and inflection; Galatians 3:13 (“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made-γενόμενος (genomenos)-to become) a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” And he became like unto us, in (the likeness) of men. The words: (the likeness) have the following inflection: Noun, Dative, Singular, Neuter: ["LIKEness"]. The following verse uses the same Greek word and inflection; Romans 8:3 (“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son, in the likeness-ὁμοιώματι (homoiomati)-a likeness, something made like, (i.e. resemblance) of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh:”)
for the word ομοιωμα, rendered likeness, often denotes sameness of nature. Thus Adam is said, (Genesis 5:3,) to beget a son in his own likeness, after his image; and Christ, ομοιωθηναι, to be made like his brethren in all things, by partaking of flesh and blood, Hebrews 2:14-17. Or, In the likeness of men, may mean in the likeness of sinful men, as it is expressed Romans 8:3; made subject to all those pains, diseases, and evils which sinful men endure. The antithesis in this passage is elegant. Formerly, Christ was in the form of God; but, when born into the world, he appeared in the form of a servant, and in the likeness of men.-(Benson).
Up to this point we can understand that the Son of God was with his Father before he (took) the (form) of a man. We know that the Son of God was in the form of God and equal with God before he set aside his glory to incarnate in flesh. However, the scriptures do not teach nor call the Son; "God the Son". And although He was born of a woman, made under the Law, he existed with the Father before the world ever was. Jesus Christ is the Son of God in flesh who is also the express image of the invisible God (John 1:14. “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.”). However, it must be noted that he was also the "son of man", for he constantly made reference to himself as such; and that, because he was indeed a man, born of Mary. For God has given the Son authority to execute judgement on the world: John 5:27 (“And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is:— Verb, Present, (No voice stated), Indicative, 3rd Person, Singular: ["He-IS"] the Son of man.”), Did you notice how it does not say: "he was". In other words, because the Son of God took upon our nature, it is only just for the Judge to be someone who is like unto us. This is reinforced by John 5:22
(“For the Father judgeth no man: but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:”). In verse 27 he is called the "son of man", and in verse 22 he is called the "Son of God".
Beza Greek New Testament 1598
1 Παῦλος δοῦλος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, κλητὸς ἀπόστολος, ἀφωρισμένος εἰς εὐαγγέλιον Θεοῦ, 2 (Ὃ προεπηγγείλατο διὰ τῶν προφητῶν αὐτοῦ ἐν γραφαῖς ἁγίαις.) 3 Περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ, (τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαβὶδ κατὰ σάρκα. 4 Τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει, κατὰ Πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης, ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν) Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν,
1 “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his Prophets in the holy Scriptures,) 3 Concerning-περὶ (peri)-about, concerning) his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made-γενομένου (genomenou)-to become, to come into existence) of the seed-σπέρματος (spermatos)-seed, progeny) of David according-κατὰ (kata)-about, concerning, for, (i.e. as respects; with regard to; in reference to; according to) to the flesh-σάρκα (sarka)-flesh:—lit. (by implication: human nature), 4 And declared-ὁρισθέντος (horisthentos)-to mark out, (i.e. determined)
(Gr. determined) to be the Son of God, with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
*** Did you notice how Paul calls Jesus Christ the Son of: God. Furthermore, the words (to be the Son) have the following inflection: Noun, Genitive, Singular, Masculine. [The Genitive case: is the grammatical case that marks a word, usually a noun, as modifying another word, also usually a noun—thus, indicating an attributive relationship of one noun to the other noun]. That other noun would be: (of God:—Noun, Genitive, Singular, Masculine). Again, this verse confirms to us that Jesus Christ is the Son (Word) of God who came from heaven and became flesh. And also, that the same Jesus was declared, or, demonstrated to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.
“But when the fulness-πλήρωμα (pleroma)-fullness, (e.g. that portion of time by which a longer antecedent period is completed; hence: completeness, fullness, of time) of the time-χρόνου (chronos)-time) was come, God sent forth-ἐξαπέστειλεν (exapesteilen)-to send away out) his Son, made-γενόμενον (genomenon)-to become) of a woman, made-γενόμενον (genomenon)-to become) under the law,”
***It is interesting to note that the Son of God had already been called; "Son", before be became a man (God sent forth his Son). Again, this verse proves that Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, was not a created being. Jesus Christ (who is the Son of God) had well knowledge of who he was and from whence he came from. Jesus had affirmed that he was indeed sent by his Father in John 6:40 (“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”).
In John 5:23 Jesus says: (“That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth-τιμῶν (timon) not-μὴ (me)-not) the Son honoureth-τιμᾷ (tima) not-οὐ (ou)-not) the Father which hath sent-πέμψαντα (pempsanta)-to send) him.”).
Did you notice there are two honors; one to the Father, and one to the Son. The words: (He that honoureth) have the following inflection: Verb, Present, Active Participle, Nominative, Singular, Masculine: ["honoring"] not-μὴ (me)-not). And the word: (honoureth) has the following inflection: Verb, Present, Active, Indicative, 3rd Person, Singular: ["is-honoring"] not-οὐ (ou)-not).
"they are so the same in nature and perfections, in power, will, affections, and operations; and their interests and honours are so involved together, that whatever dishonour is done to one, reflects on the other: and indeed, whatever is done in a way of disrespect to the Son, as incarnate, and in his office capacity, highly reflects on his Father, that sent him in the fulness of time, in human nature, to obtain eternal redemption for his people, according to a rule often expressed by the Jews, "a man's messenger is as himself";-(Gill).
“For as-ὥσπερ (hosper)-even as) the Father hath-ἔχει (echei)-to have, (i.e have within oneself) life-ζωὴν (zoen)-life) in-ἐν (en)-in) himself; so-καὶ (kai)-and, also) hath-οὕτως (outos)-thus) he given-ἔδωκεν (edoken)-to give) to the Son to have-ἔχειν (echein)-to have, (i.e. have within oneself) life-ζωὴν (zoen)-life) in-ἐν (en)-in) himself;”
*** The word: (hath-ἔχει (echei) has the following inflection: Verb, Present, Active, Indicative, 3rd Person, Singular: ["is-having"]. The word: (he given) has the following inflection: Verb, Aorist, Active, Indicative, 3rd Person, Singular: ["he-gives"]. The following verse uses the same Greek word (ἔδωκεν) and inflection; John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world, that he gave-ἔδωκεν (edoken)-to give) his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”) The word: (to have) has the following inflection: Verb, Present, Active, Infinitive: ["to-be-having"].
5:26. The logical For (gar) is important: this verse explains how it is that the Son can exercise divine judgment and generate resurrection life by his powerful word. It is because, like God, he has life-in-himself. God is self-existent; he is always ‘the living God’. Mere human beings are derived creatures; our life comes from God, and he can remove it as easily as he gave it. But to the Son, and to the Son alone, God has imparted life-in-himself. This cannot mean that the Son gained this prerogative only after the incarnation. The Prologue has already asserted of the pre-incarnate Word, ‘In him was life’ (1:4).
The impartation of life-in-himself to the Son must be an act belonging to eternity, of a piece with the eternal Father/Son relationship, which is itself of a piece with the relationship between the Word and God, a relationship that existed ‘in the beginning’ (1:1). That is why the Son himself can be proclaimed as ‘the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us’ (1 Jn. 1:2). Many systematicians have tied this teaching to what they call ‘the eternal generation of the Son’. This is unobjectionable, though ‘the eternal generation of the Son’ should probably not be connected with the term monogenēs (sometimes translated ‘only begotten’: cf. notes on 1:18). In the immediate context, it is this eternal impartation of life-in-himself to the Son that grounds his authority and power to call the dead to life by his powerful word.
D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 256–257.
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