Jesus is the Son of God: what does this mean? How can God have a Son?
In my previous two posts, I have explained that the title Son of God points us back to the Lord’s virgin birth and to his identity as The Messiah. In this post, I want to establish that the title Son of God also points us to the divine nature of the Lord.
First, let us look at Psalm 45. There, the psalmist depicts the Messiah as a conqueror who fights for the king (for, according to verse 1, the psalmist has good news for the king). In verse 2, the psalmist says that this conqueror is fairer than the children of men, which means that the conqueror is not himself a mere human. In verse 5, the psalmist makes it clear that this conqueror is fighting against the king’s enemies (thus, the conqueror is not the king).
Things get very interesting in verse 6. There, the psalmist calls this conqueror, whom we identify as the Messiah, God. In case the reader cannot believe what the psalmist just said, the psalmist states that this God’s throne is eteran. Then in verse 7, the psalmist states that this God has been anointed by God. So, according to Psalm 45, two persons are identified as God!
Now, let us look at Hebrews 1:8-12. The author of Hebrews catches unto the details we have mentioned about Psalm 45:6, and he explains that in the psalm God was speaking to The Son and calling him God. In case the readers are confused, the author of Hebrews immediately applies Psalm 102:24-27 to the Son. It would seem that the justification for applying Psalm 102:24-27 to the Son is that God created all things through His Word, which means that the author of Hebrews is identifying The Son as The Word.
Consistent with Hebrews, John calls The Only Begotten Son of God Word and Light. Jesus is The Son, he is The Word, and He is The Light (see John 1:1-18). Each of these titles indicates that something proceeds from something else. A son is a descendant of a father, a word proceeds from a mouth (or from a mind), and a light proceeds from a source such as a star or a flame. Finally, in John 1:18, we are told that The Only Begotten Son of God is in the bossom of the Father: this means, that the Son proceeds from the core of God’s being.
Let us now look at John 5:16-30. In John 5:18, the Lord’s claim to be the Son of God is perceived by the Jews as a claim to be equal with God. Despite the fact that the Jews are trying to kill him for this claim, the Lord presses the matter further.
The Lord tells them that he works because the Father works (verse 17), which means that the Lord sees himself as having equal authority with the Father. He also tells them that he does the same works that the Father does (verse 19), which means that the Lord sees himself as having equal power with the Father. The Lord also tells them that the Father loves the Son and shows him great works so everyone can marvel (verse 20), which means that the Son has an unparalled relationship with the Father. In verse 21, the Lord claims to give life to whom he wills just as the Father gives life to whom He wills. In verse 23, the Lord states that the Son should be honored as the Father is honored. In verse 25, the Lord states he can resurrect the dead. Finally, in verse 26, the Son states that the Father has given the Son to have life in himself as the Father has life in Himself (in other words, God the Father has appointed Jesus to give life to all just as He is the source of all life).
Friends, there can be no doubt that when the Bible says that Jesus is The Son of God, it means that Jesus is a part of God’s being, a person who partakes of the essence of God’s being. Thus, even though Jesus is not the Father, He is one with the Father, and therefore Divine (God). To those who have read my previous posts, Jesus is The Word of God found in the Hebrew Bible (Tanach, or Old Testament).
Questions for Reflection
- Did Jesus claim to be equal with the Father? Did Jesus claim to be the Father?
- Do you believe Jesus is one being with the Father, proceeding from the essence of the Father?
- How does this post match your understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity? How does it differ?
Lord Jesus, I believe you are one with the Father. I believe you proceed from the essence of the Father. Therefore, I believe you are rightly called God. I believe that the Father is pleased when I put my faith in you, knowing that you are one being with Him. Such knowledge is wonderful, yet incomprehensible! I simply rely on what you have revealed about yoruself in the Bible. I place my faith in you, for you speak in the name of the Father.
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©2018, Marcelo E. Carcach. All rights reserved.