What Does It Mean to Say Christ Is Begotten of the Father?


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"Well, hello brother, fellow lover of Minneapolis — our sad city, our sinful city. The early church had to settle certain really crucial disputes over the nature of Christ. And one of those disputes came to a head in the fourth century, when a group called the Arians argued that Jesus Christ was created, made, and was not God. The summary and the end of that dispute was the Council of Nicaea. I’ll just read a little section of it.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, only begotten [that is, of the substance] of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made [clearly in the face of the Arians], of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made.

Now, that has been, and is today, the historic, biblical, orthodox position of the church throughout history. I believe that what that says is true. The phrase “begotten, not made” comes from that Council of Nicaea, the Nicene Creed.

Never Not the Son

So, we now should ask, Since the Bible and not creeds is our final authority that we really esteem — I esteem highly and love to ponder the wisdom of the creeds — is it biblical, and why does it matter?

I think a compelling case can be made biblically from the first fourteen verses of the Gospel of John that the phrase “begotten, not made” is biblical. John begins like this:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He [this Word is a person] was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1–3)

And then he adds in John 1:14,

And the Word became flesh [we’re talking about Jesus Christ] and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only [the KJV reads begotten] Son from the Father, full of grace and truth..." from the article: Why Does It Matter That Christ Was ‘Begotten, Not Made’?


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