Son Of God – What Does It Mean?

Various disciplines have their own vocabulary. They use language peculiar to their discipline that is well understood within the circle of users. Athletes talk “sports speak,” musicians “music speak,” Geeks “computer speak.” It is only reasonable that various faith groups have their own distinct terms.

“Christian speak” as spoken by a few is perplexing. Some speak like they have a steeple in their throat or are speaking through a stained glass window.

One of the descriptive words used of Jesus is understood within the Christian community, but not outside. It is the title “Son of God.”

Children sometimes ask, “Who was Mrs. God?”

The dictionary recognized “son” to signify not only generation but association.

The apostles James and John were called “sons of thunder.” Barnabas was known as “the son of encouragement.”

Following is how the word “Son” as used in the Bible for Jesus is understood within the Christian community.

In Scripture Jesus is called “God’s only begotten Son.” The word “begotten” is a compound of two Greek words used in Scripture. One word is mono, meaning “one.” The other is genes, meaning “kind, type, or species.” Combined they are used to speak of God’s only one of a kind son. The Greek monogenees is used to mean the only one of the same nature as. In Scripture Jesus is not spoken of as a Son of God, but the Son of God.

Two different Greek words are translated “son” in Scripture.

Teknon stresses the fact of human birth. It is used of homo sapiens.

Huios emphasizes dignity and character relationship. It is used of Jesus.

This is the line of logic that leads Christians to revere Jesus as the nexus of God. The angel messenger in speaking to Joseph called Jesus Immanuel, meaning God with us. Incarnation is a word describing the process. The root “incarnate” means embodied in flesh.

As such Christians believe Jesus was God manifest as a corporeal, touchable, human being: the man/God-God/man.

Ideologically this belief separates Christians from persons who are not Christians, but it does not have to separate us in our interpersonal relationships. In all of life when our understanding of an issue differ we are given an opportunity to prove we can disagree without being disagreeable.

A summary of why Christians celebrate the birth and life of Jesus is noted in I John 4: 9, “In this the love of God is manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”

That enables persons to give the right answers to these questions raised by the brilliant Henry Van Dyke.

“Are you willing to…stoop down and consider the desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old, to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough … to bear in mind what others have to bear in their hearts…? Are you willing to believe love is the strongest thing in the world — stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death — And that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem two thousand years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?