Do we have any proof from the Bible that the second Person of the Trinity was the Only-begotten Son of the Father before His incarnation?

  • 2
    I don't think this question is sufficiently clear. I assumed you were asking whether the second person's "begotten" status is eternal (the subordination debate), but it could also be read as asking whether simply whether Jesus existed before the incarnation. Can you please clarify?
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 28, 2015 at 9:30

3 Answers 3


The classic Bible verse to clearly declare that Jesus was the only-begotten son of God before the incarnation is John 1:1-2, declaring Jesus to be fully God, eternally with his Father.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1-2).

From this eternity:

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-2).

Notice the words ‘One and Only’.

So Jesus is the Eternal Word, of the Father and is God of very God. Now the eternal word of God is the express image ‘coming out’ of the Father which is his One and only Eternal Son.

God the Father Himself declared this Jesus to be his eternal Son, during the Baptism of John:

9At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:9-11)

Now the only-begotten Son is not a fictitious rapture of his human nature in the incarnation, or resurrection but from eternity. Jesus said:

And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13)

I will end it here as this subject has been fully proven by so many theologians through history that I would never be able to add anything to it. John Owen (Quoting St. Jerome) indicates to me that we need not fuss over the term only-begotten. The Messiah, the Son of God has so many names referring to the same 'One and Only' as always believed in the Chruch:

And Jerome, speaking of the effects of this mystery: (Comment. in Ezekiel, cap. 46:) “Ne miretur lector si idem et Princeps est et Sacerdos, et Vitulus, et Aries, et Agnus; cum in Scripturis sanctis pro varietate causarum legamus eum Dominum, et Deum, et Hominem, et Prophetam, et Virgam, et Radicem, et Florem, et Principem, et Regem justum, et Justitiam, Apostolu, et Episcopu, Brachium, Servum, Angelum, Pastorem, Filium, et Unigenitum, et Promogenitum, Ostium, Viam, Sagittam, Sapientiam, et multa alia.” — “Let not the reader wonder if he find one and the same to be the Prince and Priest, the Bullock, Ram, and Lamb; for in the Scripture, on variety of causes, we find him called Lord, God, and Man, the Prophet, a Rod, and the Root, the Flower, Prince, Judge, and Righteous King; Righteousness, the Apostle and Bishop, the Arm and Servant of God, the Angel, the Shepherd, the Son, the Only-begotten, the First-begotten, the Door, the Way, the Arrow, Wisdom, and sundry other things.” (John Owen’s Works Vol 1, P39)

Yes, He was the only begotten Son of God before the incarnation. This has always been one of the core beliefs within both Catholic and Protestant churches, across all the ages.

  • Thank you for your answer. Let me make it very clear. This is also my belief, but I want to "play an unbeliever" here for a while. Of all your verses that you have cited in your answer, only the first one - John 1:1 - is related to the time before His incarnation, and it is exactly that verse that says nothing not only about His only-begottenness, but even about His sonship.
    – brilliant
    Jun 13, 2012 at 6:04
  • @brilliant I see what your saying, for many things in the bible there is not one sentence that you can hang your hat on. The sentences are meant to be strung together to form ideas and themes. I think it is true to say that every word in the Bible as a an enterprise of ideas, all together, prove Jesus was the only begotten. All Messianic themes, prophecies, types and shadows are concerning the same Eternal Person. All was fullilled in Christ and so every name of Christ, as listed above, is proven by the whole Bible and each name proves the other.
    – Mike
    Jun 13, 2012 at 7:16
  • 3
    "Before Abraham was, I am."
    – zpletan
    Jun 13, 2012 at 13:48

In the New Testament, Jesus proclaims that he is YHWH of the old testament:

John 8:58 - "Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!"

Exodus 3:14 - "God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM (YHWH). This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

Before his crucifixion, Jesus made a fervent prayer in which he identifies himself as having much glory before even world history began:

John 17:5 - "And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

So yes there is biblical evidence to justify the fact that Jesus (YAH'shua) of the New Testament is indeed the same God; YHWH of the Old Testament - but in the flesh...


Yes. There is a proof from the Bible that the second person of the Trinity was the only begotten Son of the Father before his incarnation.

The early Christians loved to quote the following Old Testament Bible verses to prove that the second person of the Trinity was the only begotten Son of the Father before his incarnation.

Psalm 110:3 (Douay-Rheims Bible)

With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength: in the brightness of the saints: from the womb before the day star I begot thee.

Psalm 45:1 (Douay-Rheims Bible)

Unto the end, for them that shall be changed, for the sons of Core, for understanding. A canticle for the Beloved. My heart hath uttered a good word I speak my works to the king; My tongue is the pen of a scrivener that writeth swiftly.

Psalm 2:7 (Douay-Rheims Bible)

The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.

Proverbs 8:25 (NetBible)

before the mountains were set in place--before the hills--I was born,

The early Christians loved to quote the following New Testament Bible verses to prove that the second person of the Trinity was the only begotten Son of the Father before his incarnation.

John 1:1-4 (NASB)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

John 1:18 (NASB)

18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

John 3:16 (NASB)

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

1 Corinthians 1:24 (NASB)

24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.


The early church used the Greek Version of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint.

The Latin Vulgate's Old Testament is from the Septuagint. The Dhouay-Rheims Bible is from the Latin Vulgate.Hence, the reading of the Septuagint is preserved in both translations.


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