The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35, NIV)

This verse seems to suggest that Jesus will begin to be called the Son of God after he is born, rather than always being the Son of God as the doctrine of the Trinity teaches.

How should we understand this verse?

  • Luke 1:35 is a favorite verse used by those who deny the eternal Sonship of Jesus. But their usage of it is proven null and void by the context itself.
    – R. Brown
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 14:29
  • 6
    Leaving aside that this is probably just a rhetorical turn of phrase - he isn't called God's Son now because people don't know about him. When they do, they will call him God's Son. Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 16:10

6 Answers 6


The Begetting of the Son in the Virgin

It’s explicit in Luke 1:35 that the Virgin conceives by the Holy Spirit that is why her offspring will be called “God’s Son”.

There was no human father involved. It’s just the Holy Spirit and the Virgin as recorded in the Bible:

“She [Mary, the Virgin] was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18 NIV)

Hence, Gabriel is right when he proclaimed that the Holy offspring to be begotten in Mary will be called “God’s Son” because the one she conceives is the pre-existent offspring of the Father without human father just as John also firmly believes ( John 1:1-18).

Matthew concurs with Luke, the one begotten in the Virgin is “the God [who is] with us” (Matthew 1:23).

The begetting of God’s own Son in the Virgin through the Holy Spirit is a messianic prophecy (Isaiah 7:14).

Again, the reason why the one to be begotten in the Virgin will be called “God’s Son” is because of lack of human father to be involved because it is already having a Father who is God himself.

Gabriel believes that the One the Virgin conceives is without a human father but is conceived only through the Holy Spirit and that the one the Virgin conceives is God’s own pre-existent Son that is why the offspring will be called “ God’s Son” not “Joseph’s son” as soon as it was conceived.

The Son of God was named Jesus just as expected. The One the Virgin conceives and gives birth to is a one person with two unmixed, united and distinct natures: divine and human as the Chalcedonian Creed affirms.


Sometimes a relationship is initiated by someone declaring it to be so: "You are my friend" could begin a new friendship.

But sometimes a relationship exists even before it is named. Sons and daughters do not become sons and daughters when they are called that by their parents, but are sons and daughters since the moment of their conception, before anyone other than God even knows they exist.

Luke 1:35 is not saying that the second person of the Trinity only became the Son of God in the incarnation, but instead simply that people will recognise and declare that Jesus is the Son of God.


Christ Jesus is the fulfillment of "God's Son" promise.

Christ, always had the title "God's Son", so everybody was waiting for Him to be begotten.

We know God has a Son (Mt 14:14-15) and not begotten, until the Word became flesh (Jn 1:14).

Mary begot a Son. She called him Jesus. When Jesus was born, He was begotten of God and of Mary. He was also Christ Jesus because it was a spiritual begetting.

In addition, Jn 1:1-18, in a similar sense, anyone who believed in his name, was spiritually begotten, as a child of God.

I hope this answers your question, thanks for reading!


The Bible shows that there are several ways to be called "Son of God". The Jews for example are all called "Sons (and daughters) of God". So Jesus could simply have received the title of "Son of God" in a different way here, when he was born as a babe through the Holy Spirit and Mary, than he already has had it before he was born as a human. He became the "Son of God" in a new way. He was called "the Son of God" already in the Old Testament:

Daniel 3,25: He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Prov 30,4: Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son' name, if thou canst tell? The language shows that it is God who is spoken of here (creator). And it is said, that he has a Son! Who only can that be? Right, the one we would get to know as Jesus.

For me there are three basic ways to be called "Son (or daughter) of God": a) being the one divine Son of God himself b) being a created being and never have been disloyal (the angels for example) c) being a forgiven sinner (we humans) There are two other ways to be called as such: d) being born through the Holy Spirit (like Jesus was and we can be) e) being resurrected by the Father (like Jesus was and we can be)


Please excuse any typographical errors, but the only way I can answer questions is to not proof read them, since that process is extremely time consuming, for me.

The answer to your question as stated in paragraph 3; (So, the question is did Jesus become God's Son in the begetting in Mary or is he God's Son before he was begotten in Mary?), is both.

Now that I have you thoroughly confused let me explain that.

Jesus exists as a duality, by that I mean that Jesus exists as both human and Deity.

All Scripture is quoted from the New King James translation, unless otherwise noted.

  1. Jesus was born in the form of a human to the virgin Mary as is stated in:

Luke 1:35 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.

Luke 1:35 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.

That both humanity and deity were both present in the form of the man Jesus is evident in:

Matthew 8:28 and 29 When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. 29 And suddenly they cried out, saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?"

While these demons were speaking to the physical Jesus it is evident that they were keenly aware of the Deity of Jesus, not only calling him the son of God, but indicating that that they would be one day tormented, which takes place in:

Revelation 20:10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

And even though the Devil's angels are not mentioned specifically, they too will be tormented day and night forever and ever, as indicated by Jesus in:

Matthew 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

So Jesus the deity (or if you prefer Spirit) was the son of God from before the begetting, and the human Jesus became the son of God at the begetting; therefore both are true.

Hope this helps

  • I think is the most correct answer in that is addresses the true issue of Jesus' human aspect, which we know is born of Mary. Jesus as a spiritual being we know from John 1:1 to be without beginning. These 2 co-exist as part of the hypostatic union, but the human form of the union does have a beginning. Commented May 6, 2016 at 16:29

If you look closely at Matthew 28:19 it only says that he is baptizing them in the name of those 3. The 3 could be separate or any other number of possibilities, but this scripture does not confirm the trinity, only that the Father, son, and holy spirit exist.

I think the answer to your question is in the wording of the scripture at Luke 1:35. It says there:

"In answer the angel said to her: “Holy spirit will come upon you,+ and power of the Most High will overshadow you. And for that reason the one who is born will be called holy,+ God’s Son."

OK, so Mary just found out that she will be pregnant in the future. Because Jesus is not born yet, he is not yet the son of god. All the angel is saying is that Jesus will be born and called holy, son of god. All of this is not even including my personal religious bias into the scope.

If you ask a Jehovah's witness they will tell you he was Jehovah's only begotten son before he was given a fleshly body, but I don't think that is what you are asking for so I won't elaborate on it unless you ask me to.

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