God the Son

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God resting after creation - Christ depicted as the creator of the world, Byzantine mosaic in Monreale, Sicily. Monreale god resting after creation.jpg
God resting after creation – Christ depicted as the creator of the world, Byzantine mosaic in Monreale, Sicily.

God the Son (Greek : Θεός ὁ υἱός, Latin : Deus Filius) is the second person of the Trinity in Christian theology. [1] The doctrine of the Trinity identifies Jesus as the incarnation of God, united in essence (consubstantial) but distinct in person with regard to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (the first and third persons of the Trinity).

Contents

Source

The phrase "God the Son" is not found in the Bible, [2] [3] but is found in later Christian sources. [4] By scribal error the term is in one medieval manuscript, MS No.1985, where Galatians 2:20 has "Son of God" changed to "God the Son". [5]

The term in English follows Latin usage as found in the Athanasian Creed and other texts of the early church: In Greek "God the Son" is ho Theos ho huios (ὁ Θεόςυἱός) as distinct from ho huios nominative tou Theou genitive, ὁ υἱός του Θεού, "Son of God". In Latin "God the Son" is Deus (nominative) Filius (nominative). The term deus filius is found in the Athanasian Creed: "Et tamen non tres omnipotentes, sed unus omnipotens. Ita Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus [et] Spiritus Sanctus." (distinct from filius Dei genitive "son of God"), but this phrase is also translated "So the Father is God: the Son is God: and the Holy Ghost is God". [6]

Usage

The term deus filius is used in the Athanasian Creed and formulas such as Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus Spiritus Sanctus: Et non tres Dii, sed unus est Deus. [7]

The term is used by Saint Augustine in his On the Trinity , for example in discussion of the Son's obedience to God the Father: deo patri deus filius obediens. [8] and in Sermon 90 on the New Testament "2. For hold this fast as a firm and settled truth, if you would continue Catholics, that God the Father begot God the Son without time, and made Him of a Virgin in time." [9]

The Augsburg Confession (1530) adopted the phrase as Gott der Sohn. [10]

Jacques Forget (1910) in the Catholic Encyclopedia article "Holy Ghost" notes that "Among the apologists, Athenagoras mentions the Holy Ghost along with, and on the same plane as, the Father and the Son. 'Who would not be astonished', says he (A Plea for the Christians 10), 'to hear us called atheists, us who confess God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Ghost, and hold them one in power and distinct in order.' " [11]

New Testament

Stained glass window of Jesus Christ, Peter and Paul Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia. Vitrazh v Petropavlovskom sobore.jpg
Stained glass window of Jesus Christ, Peter and Paul Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia.

"Son of God" is used to refer to Jesus in the Gospel of Mark at the beginning in verse 1:1 and at its end in chapter 15 verse 39. Max Botner wrote, "Indeed, if Mark 1:1 presents the "normative understanding" of Jesus' identity, then it makes a significant difference what the text includes". [12]

The Logos or Word in the Gospel of John text, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" [John 1:1] , is the God's utterance, expressing His will & thoughts in His revelation & creation. The text is often interpreted especially by the Trinitarians to identify the 'pre-existent' Jesus with this Word.

The disputed Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7) includes the Son in the formula "For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one." [13]

Christian belief affirms that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. [John 3:16] [14] Jesus identified himself in New Testament canonical writings. "Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.' " [John 8:58] [15] , which some Trinitarians believe is a reference to Moses in his interaction with preincarnate God in the Old Testament.  "And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.' And He said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent me to you." ' [Exodus 3:14] [16]

A manuscript variant in John 1:18 (Θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε· μονογενὴς Θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ Πατρὸς, ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο) has led to translations including "God the One and Only" (NIV, 1984) referring to the Son. [17]

Later theological use of this expression (compare Latin: Deus Filius) reflects what came to be the standard interpretation of New Testament references, understood to imply Jesus' divinity, but with the distinction of his person from another person of the Trinity called the Father. As such, the title is associated more with the development of the doctrine of the Trinity. Trinitarians believe that a clear reference to the Trinity occurs in Matthew 28:19 , "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Dissenting views

Groups of both trinitarian and antitrinitarian Christians reject the term 'God the Son' to describe Jesus Christ (as well as 'God the Holy Ghost' to describe the Holy Spirit). Jehovah's Witnesses reject the term along with the word 'Trinity' as extrabiblical terminology, along with the Deity of Christ. However, unitarians such as Oneness Pentecostals, who affirm his divinity, object to the term as an unauthorized reversal of the language of Scripture which describes him 40 times as the "Son of God." [18] [19] And the Church of Christ, which accepts both the Deity of Christ and the trinity doctrine, also avoids the term because they stress the importance to 'Call Bible things by Bible names, and talk about Bible things in Bible ways.' [20]

See also

Related Research Articles

Arianism is a nontrinitarian Christological doctrine which asserts the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was begotten by God the Father at a point in time, a creature distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to him, but the Son is also God. Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius, a Christian presbyter in Alexandria of Egypt. The term "Arian" is derived from the name Arius; and like "Christian", it was not a self-chosen designation but bestowed by hostile opponents—and never accepted by those on whom it had been imposed. The nature of Arius's teaching and his supporters were opposed to the theological views held by Homoousian Christians, regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father.

In Christianity, Sabellianism is the eastern Church heresy equivalent to the western historic Patripassianism, which are both forms of theological modalism. Sabellianism is the belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three different modes or aspects of God, as opposed to a Trinitarian view of three distinct persons within the Godhead. The term Sabellianism comes from Sabellius, who was a theologian and priest from the 3rd century. None of his writings have survived and so all that is known about him comes from his opponents. All evidence shows that Sabellius held Jesus to be deity while denying the plurality of persons in God and holding a belief similar to modalistic monarchianism. Modalistic monarchianism has been generally understood to have arisen during the second and third centuries, and to have been regarded as heresy after the fourth, although this is disputed by some.

Trinity Christian doctrine that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—as "one God in three Divine persons". The three persons are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature" (homoousios). In this context, a "nature" is what one is, whereas a "person" is who one is. The subset of Christianity that accepts this doctrine is collectively known as trinitarianism, while the subset that doesn't is referred to as nontrinitarian. Trinitarianism contrasts with positions such as Binitarianism and Monarchianism, of which Modalistic Monarchianism and Unitarianism are subsets.

Nontrinitarianism A form of Christianity that rejects the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity

Nontrinitarianism is a form of Christianity that rejects the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity—the teaching that God is three distinct hypostases or persons who are coeternal, coequal, and indivisibly united in one being, or essence. Certain religious groups that emerged during the Protestant Reformation have historically been known as antitrinitarian, but are not considered Protestant in popular discourse due to their nontrinitarian nature.

Oneness Pentecostalism is a movement within the Christian family of churches known as Pentecostalism. It derives its distinctive name from its teaching on the Godhead, which is popularly referred to as the "Oneness doctrine," a form of Modalistic Monarchianism. This doctrine states that there is one God, a singular divine Spirit, who manifests himself in many ways, including as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Arius priest in Alexandria; founder of Arianism

Arius was a Libyan presbyter and ascetic, and priest in Baucalis in Alexandria, Egypt. His teachings about the nature of the Godhead in Christianity, which emphasized God the Father's uniqueness and Christ's subordination under the Father, and his opposition to what would become the dominant Christology, Homoousian Christology, made him a primary topic of the First Council of Nicaea, which was convened by Emperor Constantine the Great in 325.

God the Father in Christianity, the first of the three persons of the Trinity, who begets the Son and from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds

God the Father is a title given to God in various religions, most prominently in Christianity. In mainstream trinitarian Christianity, God the Father is regarded as the first person of the Trinity, followed by the second person, God the Son, and the third person, God the Holy Spirit. Since the second century, Christian creeds included affirmation of belief in "God the Father (Almighty)", primarily as his capacity as "Father and creator of the universe". However, in Christianity the concept of God as the father of Jesus Christ goes metaphysically further than the concept of God as the Creator and father of all people, as indicated in the Apostle's Creed where the expression of belief in the "Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth" is immediately, but separately followed by in "Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord", thus expressing both senses of fatherhood.

Homoousion is a Christian theological term, most notably used in the Nicene Creed for describing Jesus as "same in being" or "same in essence" with God the Father. The same term was later also applied to the Holy Spirit in order to designate him as being "same in essence" with the Father and the Son. Those notions became cornerstones of theology in Nicene Christianity, and also represent one of the most important theological concepts within the Trinitarian doctrinal understanding of God.

Incarnation (Christianity)

In Christian theology, the incarnation is the belief that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, also known as God the Son or the Logos, "was made flesh" by being conceived in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, also known as the Theotokos. The doctrine of the incarnation, then, entails that Jesus is fully God and fully human.

Subordinationism is a belief that began within early Christianity that asserts that the Son and the Holy Spirit are subordinate to God the Father in nature and being. Various forms of subordinationism were believed or condemned until the mid-4th century, when the debate was decided against subordinationism as an element of the Arian controversy. In 381, after many decades of formulating the doctrine of the Trinity, the First Council of Constantinople condemned Arianism.

John 1:1 Verse of the Bible

John 1:1 is the first verse in the opening chapter of the Gospel of John. In the Douay–Rheims, King James, New International, and other versions of the Bible, the verse reads:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

God in Christianity is the eternal being who created and preserves all things. Christians believe God to be both transcendent and immanent. Christian teachings of the immanence and involvement of God and his love for humanity exclude the belief that God is of the same substance as the created universe but accept that God's divine nature was hypostatically united to human nature in the person of Jesus Christ, in an event known as the Incarnation.

Trinitarianism in the Church Fathers

Whether the earliest Church Fathers believed in the Trinity is a subject for debate. Some of the evidence used to support an early belief in the Trinity are triadic statements from the New Testament and the Church Fathers. The view that the Son was 'of the substance of the Father, God of God...very God of very God' was formally ratified at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. The Holy Spirit was included at the First Council of Constantinople, where the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one substance (ousia) and three co-equal persons (hypostaseis) was formally ratified.

This is a glossary of terms used in Christianity.

Catholic theology is the understanding of Catholic doctrine or teachings, and results from the studies of theologians. It is based on canonical scripture, and sacred tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. This article serves as an introduction to various topics in Catholic theology, with links to where fuller coverage is found.

Christian theology is the theology of Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theologians use biblical exegesis, rational analysis and argument. Theologians may undertake the study of Christian theology for a variety of reasons, such as in order to:

The Jesus' Name doctrine or the Oneness doctrine upholds that baptism is to be performed "in the name of Jesus Christ," rather than the Trinitarian formula "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." It is most commonly associated with Oneness Christology and Oneness Pentecostalism, however, some Trinitarians also baptise in Jesus' name.

Holy Spirit in Christianity The third person of the Trinity in trinitarian Christianity

For the majority of Christian denominations, the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, is the third person of the Trinity: the Triune God manifested as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; each entity itself being God. Nontrinitarian Christians, who reject the doctrine of the Trinity, differ significantly from mainstream Christianity in their beliefs about the Holy Spirit. In Christian theology, pneumatology refers to the study of the Holy Spirit. Due to Christianity's historical relationship with Judaism, theologians often identify the Holy Spirit with the concept of the Ruach Hakodesh in Jewish scripture, in the belief Jesus was expanding upon these Jewish concepts. Similar names, and ideas, include the Ruach Elohim, Ruach YHWH, and the Ruach Hakmah. In the New Testament it is identified with the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Truth, the Paraclete and the Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit (Christian denominational variations) Christian denominations have variations in their teachings regarding the Holy Spirit.

Christian denominations have variations in their teachings regarding the Holy Spirit.

Patriology or Paterology, in Christian theology, refers to the study of God the Father. Both terms are derived from two Greek words: πατήρ and λογος. As a distinctive theological discipline, Patriology or Paterology is closely connected with Christology and Pneumatology.

References

  1. Gilles Emery (2011). The Trinity: An Introduction to Catholic Doctrine on the Triune God. Catholic University of America Press. ISBN   978-0-8132-1864-9.
  2. Burnap, George Washington (1845). Expository lectures on the principal passages of the Scriptures which relate. Boston, Massachusetts: James Munroe and Company. p. 19. Retrieved 2015-01-18. There is no such phrase in the Bible, as 'God the Son,' or 'God the Holy Ghost.'
  3. Rhodes, Ron (2001). The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions: The Essential Guide to Their History, Their Doctrine, and Our Response. Zondervan, Michigan: Zondervan. p. 258. ISBN   0310232171 . Retrieved 2015-01-18. Oneness Pentecostals argue that Scripture never indicates that Jesus' sonship is an eternal sonship. The term 'eternal Son' is never found in the Bible. Nor is the term 'God the Son' in the Bible.
  4. Hick, John (1993). The Metaphor of God Incarnate: Christology in a Pluralistic Age (2nd ed.). Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 31. ISBN   0664230377 . Retrieved 2015-01-18. One notes that it does not aspire beyond the pre-trinitarian notion of 'Son of God' to the properly trinitarian idea of 'God the Son.'
  5. Ehrman, Bart D. (1993). The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies On The Text of The New Testament. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. p. 86. ISBN   9780195102796 . Retrieved 2015-01-18. ... by adding precisely the words that had earlier been omitted, tov viov, but in the wrong place, making the text now read 'faith in God the Son ...' neither of the other expressions ('God even Christ,' 'God the Son') occurs in this way in Paul.
  6. Philip Schaff (1877b), The Creeds of Christendom.
  7. F. Donald Logan A history of the church in the Middle Ages Page 10 2002 "It was later to be summed up in the Athanasian Creed: Ita deus pater, deus filius, deus spiritus sanctus, Et tamen non tres dii, sed unus est deus. (Thus, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, Yet not three gods but one God."
  8. Luigi Gioia The theological epistemology of Augustine's De Trinitate 2008 "... the obedience of Christ on the cross is the obedience of God the Son to God the Father: 'what greater example of obedience' ... exemplum qui per inobedientiam perieramus quam deo patri deus filius obediens usque ad mortem crucis?"
  9. MacMullen translation 1888 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/160390.htm
  10. The Augsburg Confession: a commentary Leif Grane, John H. Rasmussen – 1987 "GT: "Dass Gott der Sohn sei Mensch worden, geborn aus der reinen Jungfrauen Maria" (that God the Son became man, born of the virgin Mary)."
  11. Jacques Forget (1910) in the Catholic Encyclopedia article "Holy Ghost"
  12. Botner, Max (Jul 2015). "The Role of Transcriptional Probability in the Text-Critical Debateon Mark 1:1". Catholic Biblical Quarterly. 77 (3): 468, 467–480.
  13. "1 John 5:7". Biblia.com. Faithlife. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  14. "John 3:16 | The New King James Version". Biblia. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  15. "John 8:58 | The New King James Version". Biblia. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  16. "Exodus 3:14 | The New King James Version". Biblia. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  17. "John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known". bible.cc.
  18. Son of God: The Title Son of God Affirms Jesus Christ's Divine Nature
  19. Jesus is the Son of God; not God the Son
  20. New Philadelphia Church of Christ