Did God the Son become flesh?
If answering from the scriptures, there is no 'God the Son' mentioned from Genesis to Revelation, but there is Jesus (the son of God) who appears in the NT being the promised 'seed of Abraham' (Gal 3:16), of David Rom 1:3, the 'seed of the woman' (Gen 3:15) and numerous other prophecies about the 'one to come'.
He is born ~4BC to a virgin called Mary by the power of God's spirit. This is the first we hear the name Jesus. His origin is the logos - the word of God. Other words used to translate logos to English are reason, report, speech, news, account, utterance plan or message. There is no reason to think logos is a person based on the biblical usage of this common word.
'The logos became flesh', is how John describes Jesus' beginning in John 1:14. Prior to that, John links God's creation process with this logos - all things are made through it, BY God. There is no reason to say 'he' when describing the logos from the Greek. Words like Οὗτος (Houtos) John 1:2 don't mean 'he', but more like 'this one', 'this' or 'it', and αὐτῆς (autēs) v3 is not forced to be 'him' either. Whatever the logos is - John is not saying it is God in a person/being sense, but OF God. The logos was WITH God. Whatever is WITH God cannot BE God, but at least somehow associated with God to the point of being holy or divine.
The whole OT speaks of the one God, not a combination God, the NT doesn't alter this understanding - especially as Jesus comes to reveal the Father and to remove all mystery - not create more! (Col 2:2, Col 1:26, Eph 3:3, Rom 16:25) His insistent, 'one true God', claims need no interpretation.
No Jew would think for a moment that logos is another God or another part of God with Yahweh. Logos is used 39 times and in other forms like 'logou’ another ~250 times - none are a person except in the emphasis shown by publishers in Johns first few verses. For brevity, see Note 5.
John clarifies by, as the NEB puts it, 'what God was, the logos was'. So the logos is as God, but not God. Can or does the logos do anything, say anything of itself? God creates through it - except for this through-ness, the logos does nothing. How then can it be fully God?
Suffice to say, whatever the logos is - it is not flesh, it cannot die, it is not a person that it could be tempted or sin. Additionally, the logos cannot be separated from God - it cannot function or exist apart from God - this is John's thrust of the prologue. God and His word are at the beginning and made all that is - logos is God's will and purpose in action.
All these attributes are important for the Messiah, Jesus, to have. So, we have Jesus finally entering the plan of God - foretold and foreknown from the beginning (1 Pet 1:20) - from the foundation of the world. But he didn't begin actually existing until his miraculous conception and subsequent birth.
Summarising so far;
- God the Son is not scriptural
- whatever the logos is, is not a person - cannot die or all the other things Jesus was commissioned to do. 1John 1 describes this logos as a "which" - certainly not a way to describe a person who is God!
- Jesus is scriptural - born ~4BC and is the essence of God in, 'the word becoming flesh', being holy and without sin from birth.
If we are going to try and link this human Jesus prior to his birth as some pre-existing entity - i.e. God the Son, are there any texts that might help us to do that?
A popular one is John 17:5
And now, Father, glorify me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world existed. BSB
And now You, Father, glorify me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world existed. NASB
That looks good as a proof-text' until we do a little digging and see the context and other explanatory texts that help to understand John 17:5 in the way John and God intended.
Either Jesus IS God or he is not - we have to pick one. We cannot have him being God for some things and just a man for other things - like dying, etc. etc.
v1 Father glorify your son
v2 God gave him authority over all mankind
v3 You (Father) are the only true God - the one who sent Jesus
v4 I did the work You gave me to do
v5 glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world existed
None of this (like 99% of the NT) sounds like Jesus is claiming to be God.
All this sounds like the human Jesus wanting to be glorified, having received authority from the one true God, having been sent to do a job. Then we get, 'before the world existed', this bit that doesn't seem to fit the only-human Jesus narrative.
If Jesus pre-existed his birth by millennia, he wasn't a man. The
'God the Son' cannot be a man!
This process of God (a God the Son) becoming a fleshly man, an incarnation, isn't in the bible either, but moving on.
This has the tone of already done, it is past tense. But Jesus was glorified when? After his ascension.
But this He said in reference to the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:39
Note v5 above - it's strange that Jesus only had this glory, 'before the world existed'. If he had it eternally, this is an odd way to ask for it back. This then is a reference to God's plan which has been in operation before Genesis. 'slain from the foundation', and Matt 13:35 'I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world' Rev 13:8, 1 Pet 1:20 'known before the foundation of the world', Heb 9:35 '...suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world'
Jesus understands God's word - what He proclaims, comes to pass - as if it already was. The glory he was looking forward to is exactly this - it already was. The only detail missing for it to be fully realised was the moment - and that moment in time was now at hand!
Another aspect to this glory is that Jesus knew that he was the logos made flesh. He was at one with the Father in ways we can barely imagine. Not one essence or substance, but one in purpose as John 17:11, 21 clearly show.
Jesus knew what God had accomplished through His word, His plan, His design and purpose. He knew that he was going to reveal the fuller glory of this logos function as a man and eventually as a firstfruit of creation when he was given new spirit life at his resurrection. This is the glory that would be forth coming.
He said to them, “You foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to come into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the Prophets, He explained to them the things written about himself in all the Scriptures. Luke 24:25–27
Here Jesus, the 'logos become flesh', the one without sin and holy from birth, the man at one with God (Not one substance as some suggest) but in purpose and nature as several texts point out, and is fully aware of God's plan from before the world began. He knew who he was and what his mission was. He knew who God was and that He would not let him flounder against all temptation, because 'he was made like us in every way' Heb 2:17 tempted in every way Heb 4:15, Jesus totally needed the Father and he knew it! Jesus knew the plan - he WAS the plan. As we know all things come to their fulness in Christ.
So he is well aware of his fulfilment of prophecy - lots of them!
He knew he was going to die (resisting it at the end, but humbly and obediently accepting God's will over his own), he knew he was going to be with the Father in heaven, John 17:13, he knew of the glory awaiting his opportunity to say, "It is finished!"
So Jesus, praying for the glory that was built in for him as the key, the cornerstone to God's amazing plan from before the world began, is totally natural for him to ask for this as the end draws perilously close! He's nervous, tense, anxious, troubled - he is looking for encouragement from the Father, reminding himself of what awaits his triumphant finish.
Before proceeding, let's quickly ascertain what 'God the Father' signifies. It would be an assumption to conclude because the triune Godhead needs a leader - a figure head, a father for God the Son. That would be also unscriptural. As the trinity is never mentioned, only extrapolated, there is no Divine relationship. There is God (Yahweh) and of course, His logos and that's it. Later comes Jesus, but 'Father' is already established.
The term 'Father', as God, is in relation to mankind. Exodus 4:22, Isa 63:16, Hosea 11:1, Matt 5:45, 6:9, John 20:17. Jesus affirms this in John 20:17 with,
Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father…
He then says, 'to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God'. which echoes this Father to all creation reality. (Is God the Father of the Holy Spirit too? As we can see from the apostles, they knew perfectly well what the Holy Spirit was The Holy Spirit is the spirit of the Father)
Another popular verse is John 10:30 I and the Father are one.
One what? One substance? That's an unbiblical idea. Especially so as other verses explain exactly what Jesus meant - no speculation needed.
I am no longer going to be in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given me, so that they may be one just as we are. John 17:11
The glory which You have given me I also have given to them, so that they may be one, just as we are one v22
Are we 'one substance' with God? No, neither was Jesus - as the verses show. But we will be of one mind - being OF the world no longer, but at one with God, in Christ. John 17:16
There are always going to be 'proof-texts' that supposedly show some aspect of Jesus that makes him God. But they are used out of context or 'read into' so that a another meaning is forced onto what was intended.
What about John 1:1
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God
What it does not say is - in the beginning was Jesus!
Why does it not say this? Well, because it doesn't. God didn't make anything in Genesis through His Son. The son, Jesus, didn't begin until ~4BC so he was hardly there in the beginning.
A God the Son cannot come from the logos. What sense would that make? God only made His son - 'the logos become flesh' to have someone that could be the perfect sacrifice. God needed a human - made like us. To have a 'God the Son' be the Lamb, the tempted, the mortal, the able to sin son would not work. Nor would it be fair.
Imagine Satan being told by God to get ready for the final round. I'm sending my son - the second Adam, for you to tempt and try to get him onto your side. Oh, btw, it's really ME! Good luck! No, that wouldn't cut it. Either Jesus is made like us or he is not. God doesn't fudge or mess with the truth. The fact is He needed the fight to be fair and square. Jesus had to win only by faith and the power of God's spirit in him. Not by some Godly tricks. God cannot stop being God no matter what theologians make up. For Jesus to 'put aside his Godliness' makes a mockery of what was accomplished on the cross and the life lived to that climactic event. He was totally dependant on God - only God could - and DID, save Jesus from death.
Another passage explains this logos in addition to John 1
During the days of Jesus’ earthly life, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
What about Rev 3:14 'the beginning of God's creation' BLB, 'the Beginning of the creation of God' NKJ, 'the ruler of God's creation' NIV
Christ cannot be the first created as that would not let him be God eternal. But we know when the bible says he was made - ~4BC. Anything prior is conjecture.
He certainly IS ruler, so that works. Jesus IS the beginning of the final stage of God's creation. It is only through Jesus that all created things reach their intended glory. Jesus is 'firstborn from the dead' Col 1:15, 18 meaning he is the first to rise to new spirit life - the destination for all men who trust in the name and promise of Jesus the Saviour.
What about Heb 1:8 But unto the Son: “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever...
Next verse explains and gives all the context we need.
You have loved righteousness and have hated wickedness; because of this, God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of exultation above Your companions."
Jesus has a God - the same God as everyone else. This on its own is a huge problem for a co-equal God the Son. Here we see the supreme God, anointing with position above all others - except Himself. I don't know if the God members call each other 'God' but if they are supposed to be all equal, then, probably not.
When is God ever not God of the creation? When does God have companions that He needs to exalted over?
Either Jesus is God or he is not. The bible makes no claims he IS God, but honours the narrative of the human Jesus who fits the description of,
for God so loved the world, that He gave His only son.
Not a God the Son who cannot die, not an incarnation of God, a masquerade, but the real thing - the real son, the only son, Jesus the man.
Jesus left earth as a man and will return the same - a man with spirit life eternal as all his sheep will also become. What happened to the eternal God the Son? Did he give up being God to become a man, and thus always now being a man? That is an impossibility for God to stop being God. God the Son stopped being a spirit and became a man. That's sounds very silly doesn't it? If we stick to the biblical account, we have no need for these paradoxical and bizarre concepts.
We must conclude; there is no God the Son because he doesn't fit anywhere in the biblical revelation and there is no need for him to exist. In fact, he cannot exist if God gave His only son.
Note 5 logos is not a person in any of these or the other 300 logos verses.
Luke 7:17 And the news about Jesus spread…
John 6:60 This is a difficult statement…
Phil 2:16 holding fast the word of life…
John 15:3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you…
Matt 5:37 But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes…
Luke 8:11 the seed is the word of God.
Heb 4:12 The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword
1 Cor 2:4 my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words…