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Jesus identified God as His Father and Himself as the only begotten Son; these are familial names, which impose relational considerations.

Biblically speaking, in what way is God the Father of Jesus? Scripturally, what do references to Jesus being "the only begotten" (John 3:16) of the Father mean, as understood by evangelicals? Assuming that one rejects church tradition as a source, what other Scripture can be brought to bear to explain this "only begotten Son" relationship?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Caleb Dec 13 '14 at 15:39

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

There are many different perspectives on this issue. Could you perhaps write a bit more on this question to indicate what kinds of answers you'd like? Is there are particular Christian group whose answer you're interested in? If not then this is probably not a constructive question. See our tour page for more information, but generally we ask that questions be scoped to specific denominations or doctrines so that we can properly provide people with correct answers –  wax eagle Jun 12 '13 at 20:10
Christ is probably God's only begotten son in whom He is well pleased :) –  Chibueze Opata Jun 13 '13 at 0:57
@Rick: I've downvoted this due to lack of response concerning wax eagle's post; are you looking for a specific denomination's teaching? for the relationship within the Trinity? Jesus' own understanding of His Sonship? There are too many possible interpretations of this question to make it a good one; limit the question and I'll remove the downvote (and possibly upvote it). –  Ryan Frame Jun 13 '13 at 15:37
Sorry I was so slow in responding. I am not looking for denominational opinions, simply looking for a Biblical answer! –  Rick Jun 13 '13 at 21:48
@Rick As an evangelical who grew up in a Bible church, I sympathize with your belief that there is such a thing as a "Biblical" answer, but candidly, it just ain't so. Denominations clarify how people read the Bible- Evangelicals tend to take it very, very seriously - Unitarians, not so much. Some mainline denominations look at this as just "metaphor" You really need a perspective in which to answer, "How to read" this. Hopefully my edits are in line with what I suspect you really want. –  Affable Geek Jun 14 '13 at 19:25

3 Answers 3

Assuming you mean Jesus as a human, because of the doctrine of the virgin birth, God would be the physical father of Jesus (i.e. he created a Y chromosome out of nothing inside Mary) as well as the one to which he felt the highest level of authority (over Joseph, his earthly father, and his family).

Assuming you mean Jesus as the Son person of the Trinity, then it is infinitely more complex. You might want to read up on the doctrine of the Trinity (which has perplexed Christians throughout the ages) and the role of the Son in it.

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Yes, I am trying to understand the eternal nature of both. –  Rick Jun 13 '13 at 15:42
up vote -2 down vote accepted

John 5:19 says:

"Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does".

Jesus is the manifest will of God the Father? It seems that Jesus is the eternal fruit (Son) of the will of God the Father.

This is how we can reconcile pre-incarnate Christ's role in creation. In Colossians 1:16 in reference to Christ it says:

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

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Jesus was revolutionary in identifying God as His Father. Only a handful of times in the Old Testament is God identified as Father and most of those verses are prophetic. In Matthew alone, Jesus refers to God as Father in 38 verses. –  Rick Jun 13 '13 at 21:14
Just figuring this out as I go,it appears that Jesus Christ is the manifest or fulfilled will of God the Father born of the Holy Spirit. –  Rick Jun 14 '13 at 17:26
FYI, Yes, Christ was a "roll" as well, when he said, "This is my Body, broken for you" but I suspect you were not meaning that. :) –  Affable Geek Jun 14 '13 at 19:28
I am sorry, no I am not wondering if John 3:16 is the only place Jesus identified Himself as the "Only Begotten of the Father". Thanks but I think you might as well close out this question –  Rick Jun 14 '13 at 20:46
@AffableGeek, "Christ was a roll"? –  Rick Jun 22 '13 at 13:47

I don't see any passage where Jesus identifies God Yahweh as being the same "person" as His Father. Had He said so, that would have meant the death sentence for him in Judaism. The idea that the Father and God Yahweh were the same, came late in the 2nd cent. Until then, the majority of Christian Bishops (some 40 sects) taught that God the Father was different to God Yahweh. When the disciples of "John" suggested that the Father of Jesus was God Yahweh, they were drummed out of town in the early 2nd. cent.

The idea that God Yaweh and God the Father were the same came from a group of Catholic Bishops in the late 2nd. cent. It took until AD 325 to agree in a debate among 300 of the 1000 Bishops in the Empire, on how this could be.

Now, is Jesus the son of God Yahweh?

Unfortunately the Bible doesn't contain the answer. It was written before the answers were formulated by the Church. It is a requirement of most Catholic churches to accept the Trinity in Unity as a statement about the relationship between God and Jesus, before one can be confirmed. In the Church of England it is no longer necessary to even believe in God.

My own belief is that Jesus was who He said He was - the son of man.

Anglican Catholics are required to accept the Apostles Creed, in order to be confirmed. There is no mention of God Yahweh, only of God the Father.

Again, as a gentle reminder: the NT text was written to confirm the doctrine of the Church. The NT means what the Church says it means. You cannot use a Protestant text to argue against a Catholic teaching.

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No, Yahweh has been identified with God the Father from the start. The things Jesus said about his Father would have been blasphemous had they not been about Yahweh, and the reactions of the Jews clearly indicated they did not understand it that way. –  DJClayworth Jun 18 '13 at 1:02
This answer is a total mismatch for this site. Whatever you may believe about how history happened (and even if you are correct in those beliefs) this answer does not represent Christianity or it's traditions and doctrines. That is what this site is about. I happen to believe you are also factually wrong on your history, but this answer is getting downvoted because it does not teach anybody anything useful about Christianity in relation to the original question which is what this site is about. –  Caleb Jun 18 '13 at 11:24
So John 8:58, does not imply Jesus is Yahweh? –  Monkieboy Jun 21 '13 at 15:02
I apologize. I was talking about Christianity in the time before Nicea. I specialize in the writings of the Bishops of the 2nd - 4th cents. No Bishop understood Jesus to be God before AD 140. Obviously, the Church did not think of Jesus as God, and this is reflected in the early writings. You know He was God from the decision of the council of Nicea in 325 - I hope you have read it. –  Waeshael Jun 23 '13 at 15:53
If this site is only about modern day Christianity, then I don't see how I would fit in. But if what you are looking for on this site is confirmation that in America we are all doing what Jesus taught, then I think you need input on what the Bishops of the 2nd cent. and later were actually taught by the disciples. And what the Church of that time considered to be the truth. Protestant teachers don't often talk about this. I do. Everything I say, is in Church historical records. I could give citations. –  Waeshael Jun 23 '13 at 16:04

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