The Son of God
(A Letter To A Beloved Fellow Pastor)
Dear Brother H.
Greetings in the great name of Jesus, for it is from Him that all blessings flow.
I enjoyed speaking with you today. There is on other subject dearer to my heart, nor to yours, I am sure, than that of the Oneness of our Great Lord God. It is upon this truth that all other doctrines of the New Covenant rest.
In the time of our youth our paths crossed just long enough for a bond of love to form, and then circumstances of life seem to have driven a wedge between us. Our theology has even drifted apart, just as we; but, the bond of love remains. It is in the spirit of this Christian love that I write to you, and with no other motive whatsoever.
Dear Brother of my youth, I desire to exchange views, not for the sake of converting or convincing, but that I might learn from your many fruitful years of study and experience. With this in my heart, I submit the following in regard to our conversation on the “Son of God.” I earnestly request your reply, for I desire to know your thoughts on this subject, in that Proverbs 27:17 states: “Iron sharpeneth iron.”
I humbly summit for your consideration that the Son of God is not the Deity of Christ, but is limited, instead, to the humanity of Jesus; furthermore, that the Son of God (i.e. the humanity) comprises , not only the human body of Christ, but, a human soul and spirit as well. I intend to show this through three proofs: First, the title ‘Son of God;’ second, the ‘Mary Factor;’ and third, the Conception.
Firstly, I would like to examine the title given to Jesus: the ‘Son of God.’ Many, as you all too well know, understand the title ‘Son of God’ to have reference to the deity of Jesus. There are a number of reasons why we, nor our forefathers in the faith, can, nor could, accept that assumption; and each one of them is a scripture from the Word of God. The definition of ‘God’ is ‘Supreme.’ The Son, everywhere in Scripture, is said to be less than God. Either we must acclaim an ‘Inferior Supreme’ or settle for the Son of God being limited to the human nature of Jesus. Notice the following Scriptures:
Matthew 12:31-32, “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (In this text the Son is honored less than the Holy Spirit.)
Mark 13:32, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (In this text the Son of God knows less that the Father knows.)
Luke 22:42, “…Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (In this text the Son of God is in submission to the Father.)
John 5:19 “…Verily, verily, I say unto you. The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do:…” (In this text the Son of God can only act as the Father directs.)
John 13:16. “The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” See John 20:21, “…as the Father sent me,…” (In these two passages the sender [the Father]; is said to be greater than the sent [the Son of God].
John 14:28, “…I go to my Father: for my Father is greater than I.” (In this text the Son of God clearly states that the Father is greater than He is.)
John 20:17, “…Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (This text states that the Son of God had a God, i.e. the Father.)
1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (In this text God is shown to be the Head over Christ – the Son of God.)
From the Scriptures given above , please forgive the great number of them, we see clearly that the Son of God,
1. Honored less than is the Holy Spirit,
2. Knows less that the Father knows,
3. Is in submission to the Father,
4. Can only act as the Father directs Him,
5. Is not as great as the Father,
6. Calls the Father His God,
7. Has the Father as His Head.
The Son of God is inferior to God, and therefore, must be limited to the humanity of Christ. Unless one would subscribe to Superior and Inferior deity; which view I just cannot help but feel, is repugnant to all concerned.
Permit me to apply a syllogism to the idea of an eternal God the Son.
A. God is eternal. Psalms 90:2 states “…from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.”
B. The Son of God is not eternal. Hebrews 5:5 states “…Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” The Son of God had a beginning.
C. The Son of God is not God because the Son of God is not eternal.
The very word ‘son’ is defined as: offspring; descendent; an inheritor. The whole idea of ‘son’ is that of progenitor and progeny. Jesus said, “If God were your Father; ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; …” (John 8:42).
Another consideration to the term ‘Son of God’ is that throughout the Scripture it is used only of created beings. Adam is called a son of God in Luke 3:38, “Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” Adam was so called because he was a direct product of creation, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” The angels have the distinction of being ‘sons of God’ (Job 1:16; 38:7), “Now, there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD;” also, 38:7, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” The angels hold the honor because they, too, are creatures of the Creator by direct creation. As we cross over into the New Testament there is found an obvious truth, namely, all believers are said to be ‘ son of God’: (John 1:12), “But as many as receive him to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” And (Romans 8:14), “For as many as are lead by the Spirit of God, they are the son of God.” The Christian becomes a son of God the minute he or she is born again, thus becoming a new creature in Christ; see 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new.”
The term ‘son of God’ gives itself to the idea of proceeding directly from God Himself without any intermediate agency at work. So it is with THE Son of God. He was a brand new creation; nothing like Him had ever been in the universe before; nor will there ever be again. He, as IS His Father, is UNIQUE. When the Voice of the LORD spoke in the garden unto Eve and told her that it would be HER seed that would crush the serpent’s head, it was a mystery as to how it would be accomplished. Men seem to think in terms of the common, everyday possibilities. When Yahweh spoke through Isaiah and told him of a “child born and a son given” that would be the “might God and the everlasting Father” men may have wondered and pondered the HOW of it all. By no means known to men, by no tried and proven way; but, by a NEW CREATION! Luke records for us the account of the creative act: “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35). This event is remarkably similar to the account given in Genesis 1:2; there we read, “…and the Spirit moved upon the face of the deep.” Compare this with “…The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:” In both cases there is the ‘brooding’ of the Spirit to make pregnant; in both cases, a new creation: firstly in the womb of the earth; secondly, in the womb of Mary.
We should give attention to the word ‘therefore’ found in Luke 1:35. It is really true that anytime one sees the word ‘therefore’ one should ask what it is there for. The word means, ‘for this reason.’ Our examination would show that Jesus is called the Son of God because (for the reason) the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and procreated the Son. Thus, Jesus is called the ‘Son of God’ by virtue of His procreation.
(It must be pointed out that I am not arguing against the pre-existence of Jesus. I am, however, arguing against the pre-existence of the Son of God. The Son of God is the human nature of Christ that was inferior to the Father, because of its humanity. To say that the Son of God was a creature is not the same as saying that Jesus was a creature. While the former would be true, the latter would be blasphemous.)
Secondly, permit me to set before you what I call “The Mary Factor.’ By ‘The Mary Factor’ I mean, primarily, Galatians 4:4, where we read, “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law.” Notice the language of the verse, “God sent forth his Son,” namely, the Son of God. Now, according to this text, God’s Son was MADE (the Greek word is ‘gennomai’ i.e. wrought; Strong’s NT1096) of a woman. Therefore, it was the fleshly body mingled with the human soul that was fashioned, wrought, in Mary’s womb that was the Son of God. This is the only fitting fulfillment of Yahweh’s promise to put enmity between the serpent and the woman’s seed; and, that the ‘seed’ of the woman would crush the serpents head (Genesis 3:15). Just as Genesis 3:15 is a prophecy of the virgin birth of the Savior, so is Galatians 4:4 a reference to its fact; e.g. “made of a woman.” (While some English translations would render this as ‘born of a woman’ the KJV is truer to the Greek in that ‘gennomai’ is never rendered as ‘born’ anywhere in Scripture; while it has a very wide range of applications ‘born’ is not one of them.)
Galatians 4:4 is made more meaningful when viewed in the light of Luke 1:35 that we have just considered. Let us visit it again, this time emphasizing another section of the text: “… The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Notice, “…that holy thing …shall be called the Son of God.” It is clear that the Son of God would be the ‘holy thing” that would be born, that ‘holy thing’ which would be ‘made’ ‘wrought’ in Mary’s womb, i.e. the body, the flesh, the fetus , and the human soul.
We must agree with Nestorius, that Mary was not ‘theotokos,’ Mother of God; but, she was the mother of the Son of God. For this Nestorius was banished; so may we be one day. At least we may know that the company is honorable. (On more than one occasion I have been called before a council of my peers to give an account of my teachings before men [some honorable – some not so honorable, some noble – some not so noble], and to them all I had [still have] but one reply: “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:” Acts 24:14.)
Having identified the Son of God as the humanity of Jesus it would not do to just leave our study at this point since a deeper insight into the Son Nature is required. So, we move on to the third proof of Sonship.
Thirdly, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” At this point, I would like to postulate that the part of Jesus that is the Son is the BEGOTTEN part. The word ‘begotten’ is defined as: having a beginning through procreation. Now, we know that God is eternal, without beginning, having not been procreated; Psalms 90:2, “From everlasting to everlasting, thou are God.” This, then, being true, the eternal part of Jesus was not the Son of God, only the begotten part – that which was conceived in Nazareth and born in Bethlehem. This is further illustrated by Hebrews 5:5 where the Father says “…Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” This passage points out that the Son was begotten on a particular day. Before that day He did not exist outside of the forethought of God. Therefore, it is safe to say that the Son was not God, because there was a time when the Son of God was not in existence, in the concrete sense. The Father referred to a certain day when He was begotten. Also, the Bible points out that there will be a time when the Sonship will end: for example 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 which reads, in part, “Then cometh the end … and when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him … that God may be all in all.”
From the above passages we see that the Sonship had a beginning and will have an end (Hebrews 1:5; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28). That which begins and ends cannot be God. It must be less than God; it must be human.
As we consider the word ‘begotten’ more carefully we acquire a deeper insight into the nature of the Son of God. We need to notice the difference between the word ‘begotten’ and ‘born.’ Begotten, indicates the time of conception; not the time of actual birth. The Father said, “Thou art my son this day I have begotten thee.” What this means to us is that the Son of God came into existence upon the conception in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit. (Biblically, we know that a living being is present, in the natural sense, upon conception. See Job 10:11; Job says that BEFORE he was born God had, “clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.” Notice the word ‘me’ in Job’s statement, “Clothed me.” There was a ME before there was a clothing of flesh and skin. Therefore, the ‘me’ exists before the fetus is formed. This, alone, is what makes abortion murder.) Accepting this reality transports us beyond the flesh of Christ, that had not yet formed at the time of conception, and positions us at the fountainhead of the Sonship; takes us to the place where we may behold the Son of God in the human soul and spirit that burst into life the day the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary.
Understanding the fore stated truth will go a long way in helping us understand the passage from Hebrews 10:5, which states, “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body thou hast prepared me.” (The Son of God was ‘gennomai’ [made, wrought] in the womb of Mary.) Therefore, from what we have learned, we understand the ‘thou’ to be Father God, the ‘body’ to be the flesh of Christ, and the ‘me’ to be the human spirit of the Son of God.
Dear brother, I would like for you to consider very carefully that the humanity of Jesus goes beyond the mere flesh of Christ, and weigh the evidence as it is, here presented. I submit the following reasons for the humanity of Jesus consisting of body, soul, and spirit.
Firstly, we notice that Jesus said of Himself, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death:” (Matthew 26:38). In this text Jesus speaks of His soul. Not only does He speak of His soul, but He says that it is “sorrowful, even unto death.” A quick glance at the context of this passage reveals the reason: He is about to die; thus, in His humanity, He does not want to do. Therefore, His soul is sorrowful – unto death. An honest study of this text will reveal the humanity of Jesus resisting the will of the Father for His life. Verse 39 says, “…O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” The fact that Jesus said that His soul was sorrowful unto death is testimony of the human soul; a divine soul cannot die.
Secondly, Isaiah 53:112 speaks again of the human soul of Christ: “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sins of many, and made intersession for the transgressors.” Here, again, the Scripture speaks of the soul of Christ in terms of death. It says that He poured out His soul, even unto death. The Bible says that the soul that sins, “it shall surely die” (Ezekiel 18:4). Jesus became sin for all men (2 Corinthians 5:21); therefore, He had to die. Now, only a human soul can die; God cannot die because He is eternal. The conclusion of the matter, then, is this: Jesus possessed a human soul.
Thirdly, David, when referencing the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, had this to say about Him (Luke recorded it for us in Acts 2:31): “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” (It needs to be made clear that Christ died because He BECAME sin for those who would believe on Him, not because He HAD sin for which He died. His only sin was the sin of you and I. See Ezekiel 18:4; 2 Corinthians 5:21.) Here, in Acts 2:31, we find the soul and body of Jesus in hell (the grave, Sheol, unseen state of the dead). It seemed important to the Holy Spirit to point out this distinction between the body and the soul. Speaking of His resurrection: His soul was not left in hell (Sheol, the unseen state of the dead); “neither” (this word ‘neither’ shows a difference between the soul and flesh of Christ) “his flesh did see corruption” (in the grave).
In Acts 2:31 we see two thirds of Christ’s humanity in the grave, and then two thirds coming up out of the grave. We might ask, Where was the other third part of the humanity of Christ, namely, the spirit, while the soul and the body were in hell? The answer is in the fourth reason I will give for the full humanity of Christ.
Fourthly, Luke 23:46, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father into thy hands I commend my spirit: And having said this he gave up the ghost.” There could not possibly be a clearer statement concerning the human spirit of Christ than this. Notice, the Son is speaking to the Father, and says, “…into thy hands I commend MY spirit.” Namely, it was the spirit of the Son of God, not the Spirit of God; it was the human spirit that was surrendered up to the Father.
In summary, permit me to say: As we reflect back over my correspondence there have been only two major premises that I have made: namely,
1. The Son of God is limited to the humanity of Jesus. This was shown from three proofs: A. The title, ‘Son of God;’ B. The Mary Factor; C. The Conception.
2. The humanity of Jesus comprises a human soul and spirit as well as a human body. This was shown from four proof texts: A. Matthew 26:28; B. Isaiah 53:12; C. Acts 2:31; and D. Luke 23:46.
Lest one would think that the doctrine presented here is a modern theological innovation I beg permission to present the remarks from the ancient creeds of the Lord’s Church and compare them to the Apostolic Creed at the end.
Compare the above three ancient documents to the Modalist creed below:
Therefore, concerning the Dual Nature of Jesus (another topic from here) it is true that the hypostasis of God and man, though in one person of the Son of God are not homoousios – same essence, nature or being.
In closing, permit me to say that if you would see any error with the things I have set forth please take the time to write and point the matter out; no matter how big or small it is. You can be very helpful, by being a sounding board for my thoughts.
I would also mention that in this letter I have confined my comments to the humanity of Jesus. I am confident that you know how fully I believe in the Dual Nature of Christ. I believe that He is just as much God as I have just set forth the idea that He is Man.
Your Brother in Christ
Jerry L. Hayes Sr.