30 Jul, 2013 Does ‘Son’ of God mean less than God?

Does Jesus being the ‘Son of God’ mean he’s not God, or less than God?

If there is only one God, and Jesus is His Son – does’t that logically mean Jesus is not God? This is what some sceptics have claimed.

They have claimed this by pointing out that the term ‘son of God’ was used a few times to refer to ordinary human beings (see Hosea 1:10) or to angels ( Genesis 6:2, Job 1:6; 38:7). Thus, they suggest it didn’t need to be seen as a claim at deity. However, in the New Testament the claim to be the ‘son of God’ (such as in John 3:16) is used of, and by, Jesus in a distinct way. More than merely claiming to be a ‘godly person’, the context confirms He is claiming to be God – something that is easily seen by the reactions of the religious leaders and others (for example, Mark 14:61).

It is also useful to know that while the phrase ‘son of’ can mean ‘offspring of,’ it can also mean, ‘of the order of.’[i] For example, ‘son of the prophets’ meant ‘of the order of the prophets’ – and these words meant this hundreds of years before Jesus’ time (1 Kings 20:35). So the designation ‘Son of God’ when used of Jesus could legitimately mean ‘of the order of God’. So it doesn’t have to infer that Jesus is less than the Father (God).

Either way, in their culture it was clearly a claim to equality with God – as is evidenced by reactions of those who heard Jesus’ various claims. For example, the Pharisees reaction to the way Jesus called God his ‘Father’: “…he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:18).

Because there is only one God, to be equal with God means to be God! It’s the words most crazy claim, but one that has sufficient evidence to support it such that many believe it be true – and not merely on the basis of blind faith (which is foolishness), but well-founded faith!

A small thought worthy of some reflection. God coming as a man – why would He do that?

[i] Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1986), 248 as in Josh McDowell, New Evidence That Demands a Verdict (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999), p162.

DAVE MANN. Dave is an Author and gifted communicator with a passion for the Gospel. This passion started when he came to faith at age 11. After Secondary School he went straight to Bible College, followed by 7 years in outreach ministry in New Zealand, then nearly 9 as a pastor in Singapore, before returning to New Zealand at the end of 2011. Dave is a visionary and fearless about pioneering initiatives aimed at helping the Church in New Zealand in the area of its mission. Author of various books and Tracts including “Because we care”, “That Leaders might last” and available free on this site: “The what and how of Youth and Young Adult ministry”.
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