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A typical image of Jesus Christ, venerated by Catholics, Orthodox, and other Trinitarian Christians as God the Son.

God the Son is the second person of the Trinity in Christian theology. The doctrine of the Trinity identifies Jesus of Nazareth as God the Son, united in essence but distinct in person with regard to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (the first and third persons of the Trinity). God the Son is co-eternal with God the Father (and the Holy Spirit), both before creation and after the End (see Eschatology). So Jesus was always God the Son, though not revealed as such until he also became the Son of God through incarnation.

Contents

Old Testament

The expression "God the Son" is not used in the Old Testament. However it has the following references to "sons" of God:

  • Genesis 6:2ff: The sons of God who have children by the "daughters of men".
  • Hosea 1:10. Israel, rejected now, will later be sons of the living God. [Cited by Paul in Romans 9:26.]
  • Psalm 82:6. All are gods, and sons of the Most High. [Ascribed to Jesus in the John 10:34.]
  • Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7. The sons of God report to Yahweh, Satan among them (in 1:6; 2:1).

These expressions referred to the ancient concept of a god (in this case Yahweh, the god of Israel) in a "council" of his "sons", the lesser gods. The New Testament authors, writing in a time when monotheism had become the normative Jewish belief, considered these passages to be prophetic of God the Son becoming the Son of God, e.g., the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Hebrews both quote psalm 2:7: You are my Son; today I have become your Father.

New Testament

The exact phrase "God the Son" is not in the New Testament. Later theological use of this expression reflects what came to be standard interpretation of New Testament references, understood to imply Jesus' divinity, but the distinction of his person from that of the one God he called his Father. As such, the title is associated more with the development of the doctrine of the Trinity than with the Christological debates. There are over 40 places in the New Testament where Jesus is given the title "the Son of God", but scholars don't consider this to be an equivalent expression. "God the Son" is rejected by antitrinitarians, who view this reversal of the most common term for Christ as a doctrinal perversion and as tending towards tritheism.

Matthew cites Jesus as saying, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God (5:9)." The gospels go on to document a great deal of controversy over Jesus being the Son of God, in a unique way. The book of the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of the New Testament, however, record the early teaching of the first Christians — those who believed Jesus to be both the Son of God, the Messiah, a man appointed by God, as well as God himself. This is evident in many places, however, the early part of the book of Hebrews addresses the issue in a deliberate, sustained argument, citing the scriptures of the Hebrew Bible as authorities. For example, the author quotes Psalm 45:6 as addressed by Yahweh to Jesus.

  • Hebrews 1:8. About the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever."

The author of Hebrews' description of Jesus as the exact representation of the divine Father has parallels in a passage in Colossians.

  • Colossians 2:9-10. "in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form"

John's gospel quotes Jesus at length regarding his relationship with his heavenly Father. It also contains two famous attributions of divinity to Jesus.

  • John 1:1. "the Word was God" [in context, the Word is Jesus]
  • John 20:28. "Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!'"

The most direct references to Jesus as God are found in various letters.

  • Romans 9:5. "Christ, who is God over all"
  • Titus 2:13. "our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ"
  • 2 Peter 1:1. "our God and Savior Jesus Christ"

The biblical basis for later trinitarian statements in creeds is the early baptism formula found in Matthew 28.

  • Matthew 28:19. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name [note the singular] of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. See also Great Commission.

Church Fathers

Judaism

In Judaism the phrase God the Son is not known and does not appear in the Hebrew Bible[1]. The concept of an incarnation of God is strictly rejected. The status of Jesus as a messiah is rejected in Judaism, as is the concept of the Tanach being prophetic in regards to Jesus. According to the Jewish religious tradition, Judaism does not consider the Hebrew Bible to be prophetic of Jesus becoming the Son of God:

  • Psalm 2:4-11. "He Who sits in heaven will laugh, the Lord will mock them. Then He will speak to them in His anger, and in His wrath He will terrify them: "I Myself have anointed My king, over Zion, My holy mountain![2]" I am obliged to proclaim that HASHEM said to me, "You are My son, I have begotten you this day. Ask of Me and I will make nations your inheritance, and the ends of the world your possession. You will smash them with an iron rod ; you will shatter them like a potter's vessel.[3]" And now , O kings, be wise; be disciplined, O judges of the earth. Serve HASHEM with awe that you may rejoice when there is trembling."[4] The psalm is about King David encountering the Philistines[5]. David is called the begotten son of HASHEM.

The expression "God the Son" is not used in the Hebrew Bible; however it has the following, references to "sons of God":

  • Genesis 6:1-4. "And it came to pass when Man began to increase upon the face of the ground and daughters of man[6] were born to them, the sons of the rulers[7][8] saw that the daughters of man were good and they took themselves wives from whomever they chose. And HASHEM said, "My spirit shall not contend evermore concerning Man since he is but flesh; his days shall be a hundered and twenty years[9]." The Nephilim[10] were on earth in those days - and also afterward when the sons of the rulers would consort with the daughters of man, who would bear to them. They were the mighty who, from old, were men of devastation."[11]
  • Psalm 82:6. "A psalm of Asaph: God stands in the Divine assembly, in the midst of judges shall He judge. Until when will you[12] judge lawlessly and favor the presence of the wicked, Selah? Dispense justice for the needy and the orphan; vindicate the poor and impoverished. Rescue the needy and destitute, and deliver them from the hand of the wicked. They do nor know nor do they understand,[13] they walk in darkness; all the foundations of the earth collapse. I said, "You are angelic, sons of the Most High are you all. Arise, O God,[14] judge the earth, for You shall seek Your inheritance among all the nations."[15]
  • Hosea 2:1. "Yet the number of the Children of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which can neither be measured nor counted; and it will happen that in the place [of their exile] where it was said to them, 'You are My people', it will be said to them, 'Children of the living God'.".[16]
  • Job 1:6; 2:1. "It happened one day: The angels[17] came to stand before HASHEM, and the Satan[18], too, came among them" (in 1:6; 2:1).
    • 38:7. "When the morning stars sang in unison and all the heavenly beings[19] shouted, (...)"

In the post-biblical literature, however, the Biblical title Son of God is used in several ways only some of which refer to the Jewish Messiah. According to Judaism it is falsely applied to Jesus.

In Islam

Islam rejects that Jesus was God incarnate or God the Son, stating that he was a man who, like other prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread God's message. Islamic texts forbid the association of partners with God (shirk), emphasizing the notion of God's divine oneness (tawhīd). Numerous titles are given to Jesus in the Qur'an, such as al-Masīḥ ("the messiah; the anointed one" i.e. by means of blessings), although it does not correspond with the meaning accrued in Christian belief. Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad, see also Paraclete, and is believed by Muslims to have foretold the latter's coming. in Islam (Arabic: عيسى`Īsā) is a messenger of God who had been sent to guide the Children of Israel (banī isrā'īl) with a new scripture, the Injīl (gospel).[20] The Qur'an, believed by Muslims to be God's final revelation, states that Jesus was born to Mary (Arabic: Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God (Arabic: Allah). To aid him in his quest, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles, all by the permission of God. According to Islamic texts, Jesus was neither killed nor crucified, but rather he was raised alive up to heaven. Islamic traditions narrate that he will return to earth near the day of judgment to restore justice and defeat al-Masīḥ ad-Dajjāl (lit. "the false messiah", also known as the Antichrist)

Although Jesus is highly respected prophet in Islam, and considered to be the Messiah, Muslims do not believe that he was the son of God. Muslims consider Jesus the son of the virgin Mary as great prophet as same as others prophets: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Muhammad. Muslims believe that associating others with God in any kind of worship is polytheism, an unforgiven sin, even if the associated person is an angel or prophet.

See also

References

  1. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: The Pious as Sons of God. "The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha contain a few passages in which the title "son of God" is given to the Messiah (see Enoch, cv. 2; IV Esdras vii. 28-29; xiii. 32, 37, 52; xiv. 9); but the title belongs also to any one whose piety has placed him in a filial relation to God (see Wisdom ii. 13, 16, 18; v. 5, where "the sons of God" are identical with "the saints"; comp. Ecclus. [Sirach] iv. 10). It is through such personal relations that the individual becomes conscious of God's fatherhood, and gradually in Hellenistic and rabbinical literature "sonship to God" was ascribed first to every Israelite and then to every member of the human race (...)" By: Kaufmann Kohler, Emil G. Hirsch
  2. ^ King David is titled as Hashem's anointed one.
  3. ^ Rashi comments that the psalm alludes to the encounter between the nations and the Messiah.
  4. ^ If the gentile kings and judges turn away from sin, they too will rejoice when the wicked tremble in fear of God's wrath (Rashi).
  5. ^ The Stone Edition Tanach, Rabbi Nossom Scherman (Ed.), Mesorah Publications Ltd., Brooklyn, New York, 1998
  6. ^ 'Daughters of man' refers to the general populace (Saadiah Gaon).
  7. ^ The 'sons of the rulers' were sons of princes and judges, for elohim always implies rulership (Rashi).
  8. ^ Translated "devine beings" by the liberal Torah ed. of Plaut: "Other translate as 'sons of God'. Hurrian, Phoenician, and Greek myths told of Titans, supermen, of great stature and strength, who were supposedly the offsprings of unions between gods and men. (...) Another view is that the text in Gen. 6.2 records an angelic sin and that Psalms 82:1, 6, 7 are references to this incident (...) The phrase has also been taken as recording interclass marital unions: sons of the aristocracy married daughters of the common folk."; The Tora, A modern commentary; Commented by W. Gunther Plaut, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, New York, 1981
  9. ^ God would wait 120 years before bringing the Flood, to give mankind ample opportunity to repent (Rashi, Ramban).
  10. ^ The Nephilim were giants.
  11. ^ The Stone Edition Tanach, Rabbi Nossom Scherman (Ed.), Mesorah Publications Ltd., Brooklyn, New York, 1998
  12. ^ The veres 2-4 are addressed directly to Judges who fail to carry out their responsibilities.
  13. ^ Many judges are unaware of their awesome responsibility; they walk in darkness, blinded by prejudice and selfishness.
  14. ^ Since human judges are corrupt, You must see to it that justice prevails in the world.
  15. ^ The Stone Edition Tanach, Rabbi Nossom Scherman (Ed.), Mesorah Publications Ltd., Brooklyn, New York, 1998
  16. ^ The Stone Edition Tanach, Rabbi Nossom Scherman (Ed.), Mesorah Publications Ltd., Brooklyn, New York, 1998
  17. ^ Other translate as 'sons of God'.
  18. ^ That is the [angelic] adversary.
  19. ^ Other translate as 'sons of God' or 'angels'.
  20. ^ The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, p.158

External links

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