The Sonship of Christ: Eternal or Temporal?

Examining Some Key Specific Texts Regarding Jesus’ Relationship to the Father

Sam Shamoun

The historical position of the Church has been, for the most part, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. Throughout the centuries, most Christians have believed that Jesus existed as God’s eternal Son, or at least existed as God’s Son before creation. For instance, the Nicene Creed, which was formulated sometime during the fourth century after the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., states:

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.  On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. (Source)

This idea of Christ being begotten of God before the ages is reiterated in the fifth century Athanasian Creed:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Eternal and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Ghost, not Three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity is Trinity, and the Trinity is Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting Salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.

God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born into the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable Soul and human Flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but One Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved. (Source)

What the Church Fathers meant by Jesus being the begotten Son of God is not that God the Father had sex with a goddess, or a woman, who then conceived his Son. Rather, they meant that the Father was/is the source of the Lord Jesus’ eternal Deity, his divine attributes. The Father generated the Son’s divine existence, without this implying that Christ was created, much like the sun generates heat and light without this implying that at some point in time the sun was devoid of these things.

There also have been those who, throughout the centuries, sought to deny that Christ is God’s eternally begotten Son. They do so by either denying the authenticity and authority of the Holy Bible (i.e. Muslims), or deny that the Holy Bible teaches such a doctrine (i.e. Unitarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses etc.).

Some groups even seek to use the following passages to prove that Jesus wasn’t the eternal Son of God:

"And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’ As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.’" Acts 13:32-34

"… When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU’? And again, ‘I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME’? … But of the Son He says, ‘YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM. YOU HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS.’" Hebrews 1:3b-5, 8-9

"So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU’; just as He says also in another passage, ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK." Hebrews 5:5-6

Groups such as the Unitarians believe that these passages support more of an adoptionist view of Christ’s Sonship, i.e. that Jesus was only a human being whom God later adopted as his Son and whom he supernaturally empowered by his Holy Spirit.

Our aim in this paper is to address these specific passages in order to see whether, in fact, they deny that Christ always existed as God’s Son. If so, we want to examine what kind of impact this then has on the historic Christian position that Jesus is an eternal Person, being perfect and full Deity. Would denying that Christ is God’s preexistent Son imply that Jesus is not God, or would this simply mean that even though Christ didn’t preexist as the Son, he did eternally exist as God?

The first thing to note about the preceding passages is that they all share one common feature, they all apply Psalm 2:7 (as well as 2 Samuel 7:14) to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and subsequent ascension into heaven. And they do so for good reason. It was at the ascension that Christ assumed the throne of his father David, just as Hebrews 1:3-4 specifically indicates. Thus, at his enthronement in heaven Christ became God’s Son in a different sense from the sense in which he already was. Later in the paper we will return to this point and discuss the sense in which Christ became God’s Son at his heavenly ascension and enthronement.

But first, let us establish that the Lord Jesus was already God’s Son both before and during his earthly life and ministry:

"Neither have I learned wisdom, nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One. Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know!" Proverbs 30:3-4

Nearly one thousand years later the NT authors give us the name of the Son mentioned by the inspired writer of Proverbs:

"No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:13-18

"But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: ‘DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, "WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?"’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)." Romans 10:6-7

"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says, ‘WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.’ (Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)" Ephesians 4:7-10

According to these passages, Jesus is the Son of God who both ascended to and descended from heaven. Therefore, the preceding citations make it rather clear that, even during the OT period, God had made known to people that he had a Son who existed with him, whom the NT later identifies as the Lord Jesus Christ.

And here are the other references indicating that Jesus was God’s Son even before his coming to the earth:

"He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those vine-growers said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’ They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard." Mark 12:6-8

"For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, … He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" Romans 8:3, 32

"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God." Galatians 4:4-7

"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, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power…" Hebrews 1:1-3a

"the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil." 1 John 3:8

"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins … And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world." 1 John 4:9-10, 14 ESV

The next set of passages demonstrates that Jesus was already God’s Son during his earthly sojourn:

"Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, ‘You are the Son of God!’" Mark 3:11

"Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!’" Mark 9:7

"After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.’ ‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?’ But they did not understand what he was saying to them." Luke 2:46-50

"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Luke 10:22

"The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, "After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me." I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.’ John testified saying, ‘I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, "He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit." I myself have seen, and have testified that this IS the Son of God.’" John 1:29-34

"So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.’ For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God." John 5:16-18

"what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God's Son’?" John 10:36

"After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.’" John 17:1-2

"In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation," Hebrews 5:7-9

The preceding passages make it quite obvious that Jesus didn’t become God’s Son only after his resurrection, but was already God’s Son while on earth. In fact, the very same writers that applied the aforementioned OT passages to Christ’s ascension are also the very ones that speak of Jesus being God’s Son even prior to his bodily resurrection. This should, therefore, caution us from understanding these passages in a way which conflicts with the very explicit testimony of the Scriptures regarding Christ existing as the Son even before his glorious exaltation into heaven.

Finally, even if there weren’t any NT passages signifying that Christ was always the Son of God, it wouldn’t necessarily follow from this that Jesus is not God. The explicit teaching of the Holy Bible is that Jesus is eternal, having all the essential attributes of God. Since it is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss the biblical data supporting the eternal Personhood and full Deity of the Lord Jesus, we will simply refer our readers to the following articles:

We can now turn our attention to the specific passages which speak of Christ becoming the begotten Son of God after his resurrection and subsequent ascension into glory. Allow us to quote again two of the three references so that the reader is able to follow our discussion more carefully:

"And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee.’" Acts 13:32-33 RSV

"For to what angel did God ever say, ‘Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee’? Or again, ‘I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son’? Hebrews 1:5 RSV

In order for our readers to see where we are going with this it is vital that we refer to the OT, from which the above citations were taken. We include the surrounding context in which these statements were made for added clarification:

"Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!’ He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.’ I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’ Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!" Psalm 2:1-12

As one reads this passage, one can see that this clearly refers to the coronation of the King, specifically the Davidic King. According to the NT witness, King David wrote this Psalm:

"And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, ‘O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, "WHY DID THE GENTILES RAGE, AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS? THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND, AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST."’" Acts 4:24-26

Even though the NT writers applied this Psalm to Jesus, in its initial composition it seems to have been written specifically about David’s coronation. The same is the case with the use of 2 Samuel 7:14 by the author of Hebrews, since in its immediate historical context, that passage referred initially to Solomon:

"even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you. When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you." 2 Samuel 7:11-15

Elsewhere in the OT, the preceding promises to David are specifically said to be fulfilled in Solomon:

"Yet, the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever. For He has chosen Judah to be a leader; and in the house of Judah, my father's house, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel. Of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons), He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon is the one who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be a son to Me, and I will be a father to him. I will establish his kingdom forever if he resolutely performs My commandments and My ordinances, as is done now.’" 1 Chronicles 28:4-7

Thus, both Psalm 2 and 2 Samuel 7 initially referred to the enthronement of David and Solomon, being the very men whom God specifically chose to sit on his throne over his people Israel:

"Then David said to all the assembly, ‘Now bless the LORD your God.’ And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed low and did homage to the LORD and to the king. On the next day they made sacrifices to the LORD and offered burnt offerings to the LORD, 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams and 1,000 lambs, with their drink offerings and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. So they ate and drank that day before the LORD with great gladness. Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father; and he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him. All the officials, the mighty men, and also all the sons of King David pledged allegiance to King Solomon. The LORD highly exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him royal majesty which had not been on any king before him in Israel." 1 Chronicles 29:20-25

As the above citations show, part of their enthronement included being adopted as God’s sons. The king would become God’s son whereby God would act as the Divine protector of the throne, upholding the kingdom of his Anointed One, a point made quite eloquently in the following Psalm.

"For our shield belongs to the LORD, And our king to the Holy One of Israel. Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones, And said, I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him, With whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him. The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him. But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him. My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be exalted. I shall also set his hand on the sea And his right hand on the rivers. He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him. So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven. If his sons forsake My law And do not walk in My judgments, If they violate My statutes And do not keep My commandments, Then I will punish their transgression with the rod And their iniquity with stripes. But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever And his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the sky is faithful. Selah. Psalm 89:18-38

In other words, at the king’s enthronement God would make him a royal son, so to speak. Yet to be God’s anointed king and royal son one had to be from the house of David, since God established the line of David as the royal family.

Both David and Solomon served as types or foreshadowings of their greater Son, Jesus Christ (*, *). The promises made in Psalm 2 and 2 Samuel were only partially fulfilled in the reigns of David and Solomon, with the complete fulfillment only taking place during the exaltation of the greater David and Solomon, the Lord Jesus:

"The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.’" Luke 1:30-35

"Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him." 1 Peter 3:21-22

"for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you." 2 Peter 1:11

Thus, by becoming man from the line of David, Jesus then became eligible to take the throne on behalf of his royal ancestor, and in so doing he too became the royal Son of God the Father. In other words, the sense in which Jesus became God’s Son at his ascension is in this royal sense, e.g. being the Son of David who was destined to inherit the promises made to David the risen Lord became God’s royal Son at his coronation, during the moment he entered into heaven to sit enthroned as the Davidic King.

That is why both Paul and the writer of Hebrews speak of God begetting Jesus during his enthronement in heaven, right after his resurrection and ascension. They realized that this use of the word begetting neither referred to the birth of Jesus as a human being, nor even to Christ’s eternal or divine Sonship, but to his royal Sonship.

Concluding Remarks

The biblical data we presented clearly shows that the Lord Jesus was God’s Son before, during, and after his earthly sojourn. The NT teaches that Christ is the divine, unique Son of God who came to the earth to redeem man. Clearly, the early Christians were correct in their statement that Christ is the eternally begotten Son of God, begotten not created.

Another reason for his coming was to assume the throne of David, fulfilling the promises God had made to David, i.e. that he would have an eternal kingdom. Part of becoming Israel’s King included adoption, that the Davidic King would be embraced by God as a son, what I called royal sonship. Thus, by becoming a Son of David and ruling over the Davidic kingdom, Jesus became God’s Son in a different sense from the sense in which he already was. The sense in which Christ becomes God’s Son at his heavenly enthronement is in this royal sense, becoming God’s royal Son. Jesus now rules creation not just as God’s eternal Son, but as the royal Son also, sitting on God’s throne forever as David’s representative.

A final point of clarification must be made before concluding. The statement regarding the Son of God who is "begotten from eternity" is theological terminology describing an attribute of his DIVINE nature. It is a creedal description of what the Bible says, though the Bible itself does not use that term in this sense. The word begotten is not used in the Holy Scriptures in connection with Jesus’ Deity, with his divine Sonship. Yet, there are passages in the Holy Scriptures which make it clear that Christ’s Divine nature is begotten by the Father (cf. Proverbs 8:22-36 [note that this passage doesn’t refer to Christ, but to God’s eternal attribute of Wisdom; nonetheless, it uses language which is reminiscent of the way the NT depicts Christ's relationship with the Father]; John 1:4, 5:26; Hebrews 1:3).

The "begotten son of God" in the royal sense (Psalm 2, Acts 13, Hebrews) is an attribute of his HUMANITY, as it refers to his status as Davidic king, i.e. of his human descent from David, and is a status that he received at a particular time in his life, i.e. at his ascension.

Amen. Come Lord Jesus come. You are in fact the eternal Son of God, begotten before time, begotten not made. By God’s sovereign grace, we will always profess you as the divine, unique Son of God, and we will love you forever. Amen.

Recommended Reading

For more on Jesus’ eternal Sonship, as well as the biblical basis for the early Church’s belief in the eternal generation (or begetting) of Christ, we highly recommend the following papers:

All scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB), unless otherwise noted.

Articles by Sam Shamoun
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