Question of the Week: Can you please explain where Jesus came from? Is Jesus the real son of God like a child is a father’s son?
Jesus is called the Son of God in Christian scripture. In order to properly define this, we need to be careful to let the Bible define it’s terms rather than assume our definitions for them. The word “son” describes a relationship. This can either be a biological description of their origins, or a description of their relationship with another person. When referring to Jesus as the Son of God, the Bible isn’t saying that God the Father biologically sired Jesus through Mary like anti-Christian cults have tried to claim in the past. In order to support this claim, we will do the same thing anyone should do when making claims about God. Confirm it based on what He said about Himself.
Was Jesus the biological offspring of the Father? No. There are truth claims made about who and what God is by nature that make this impossible.
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 4:24 (NKJV)
Speaking to the Samaritan woman after she asked Him a question about where one properly worships God, Jesus clarifies that God in His fullness isn’t bound by time and place. He is Spirit. Therefore, not biological. If you aren’t a physical being, you can’t physically sire offspring.
Was Jesus biologically produced by the Father? No. There are truth claims made about Jesus that would make this comparison to human existence beginning at their birth inaccurate.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
Micah 5:2 (NKJV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (…)
And the Word became 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 1:1-3, 14 (NKJV)
In both the Old and New Testaments, we have clarification about the child named Jesus, who would be the Christ. First, it is established by the prophet Micah that the child to be born in Bethlehem’s “goings forth” were from everlasting. Literally eternity. He is the only child who existed before He was born, and existed from eternity into the past. This is affirmed in the beginning of John’s Gospel by clarifying the Word, that was God, became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus’ origins were the same as the Father’s. They existed for eternity together. This sharing of divine attributes between Jesus and the Father are the foundations for the doctrine of the Trinity. That there is one God with a unique nature including multiple persons. This is what brings us to the final fact to properly understand what the Bible means when it calls Jesus the Son of God.
Was Jesus conceived through sexual reproduction? No. Jesus is the only person in the human race to enter this world entirely through a woman without the involvement of a man.
Then 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 bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Referencing the prophecy in Genesis 3:15, the angel Gabriel clarifies to Mary exactly how she is going to become pregnant without a man. The Father isn’t mentioned in producing Jesus, but rather the Spirit going to her and overshadowing her. There is no reason to read into this a sexual interaction given the data we already have. Neither the Spirit or the Father are biological beings capable of having sexual intercourse with Mary. Jesus already existed at the time of His biological conception and already had existed from eternity. The only ones who would require this as the means by which Jesus entered this world are those reading into the text the pagan understanding of the gods having sons. Pagan deities are indistinguishable from humans apart from their power. The God of the Bible, who adopted human nature in the person of Jesus Christ as the second member of the Trinity, explicitly stated that He would enter this world through a virgin. (Isaiah 7:14) The God of the Bible, who adopted human nature in the person of Jesus Christ as the second member of the Trinity, explicitly stated He relates to God as His Father. (John 8:29) The God of the Bible, who adopted human nature…You get the point. Jesus claims the sort of things that only God can rightly say about Himself. He is called Creator, the Final Judge, the Giver of Eternal Life, the First and the Last, the I AM, and many other things that only the God of the Bible can rightly claim about Himself. Therefore, we rightly conclude that Jesus is God. Yet at the same time, Jesus is called the Son of God who relates to God as His Father and can function independently from Him as a person when He adopted human nature in a moment of human history. Since we can’t reconcile this by stating Jesus began to exist through a biological relationship, nor can we rightly claim that Jesus was produced from the Father through physical means, we understand that Jesus meant His relationship with God the Father is like a Son does with His Father. It’s a term describing their relationship within the Trinity.
A Reason For Hope is a ministry of Calvary Christian Fellowship of Tucson
Listen: Monday – Friday 5-6pm, on 106.3FM Reach Radio
Email your questions:
Follow Twitter: @ScottR4H