God did not become the father of Jesus until his incarnation. There is no evidence to the contrary in the bible. It is stretching the truth to claim that Jesus was eternally the son of God. He wasn’t. That underplays how vitally important the incarnation is, as a means through which God the father became the father of the Jesus, the second person of the trinity.
Many have tried to figure things out about Jesus. It is heretic to claim he is not God, but the problem comes when trying to determine the kind of relationship Jesus, as we know him, had with the first person of the trinity (who is God) in eternity past.
[God the Father has been the father from eternity past being the source of all things. However, even that name was not the exclusive preserve of the first person of the trinity, the word father was also applied to the one who will later be called the Son. Isaiah said he will be called everlasting father (Isaiah 9:6). And the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father (Matthew 10:20), through whom we cry Abba father (Romans 8:14-16).]
So with no biblical backing whatsoever, just because it seems to show Jesus in great light, many theologians has fallen over themselves to claim that Jesus was the Son of God from eternity. They try to scrape together some meaning from some obscure bible verses to build a case that is not case for the eternal sonship of Jesus. They attempt to remove what they see is the cloak of mystery off the identity of Jesus in eternal past, but they only confuse the matter the more, drawing a conclusion, which the bible did not come to, by overstretching their imaginative reasoning, beyond biblical latitude.
And do not tell me about some spiritual fathers of yonder years came to a similar conclusion. The bible says: to the law and to the testimony, if they do not speak according to this world, there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:20). The word of God is foundational to truth, not the reasoning of men. It is time to remove the veil from the true Jesus, it is then we can experience him fully as a church.
Those who push the eternal sonship of Jesus, under whatever theological cloak, do not know that they actually underplay the seriousness of the incarnation, and how everything changed because of that, on earth and in heaven; how at the incarnation, a new thing came to being that never was. God had a Son by the Holy Spirit tying himself to be expressed in time. That may offend your sensibility, but it aligns with biblical testimony.
Those who push the eternal sonship of Jesus reveal a gap in their understanding of what the incarnation really means. That was God showing all his hands in the womb of Mary to undo the work of the enemy on the earth and in our lives (1John 3:8). It was God’s “all-in”. It was that serious.
To say Jesus had been the son of God from eternity, is false. The first person called the Son of God in the bible was Adam. God also called Israel his Son. So there is really nothing special in being called Son of God, so we should not feel compelled in a bid to honour Jesus, try to make him Son of God before he really became it. If you say he was not the son of God from eternity, he would not be angry with you because he was not. Forget about what your theologian told you.
Sonship and fatherhood, have in them the understanding of the prior existence of the father and the latter emergence of the son. Any attempt to stretch this concept beyond that is to engage in theological hocus-pocus. Sonship and fatherhood, brings the idea of time. The father is before the son, simple.
Before we go on, we need to answer this question: Since Jesus was God, and he was not the son of God from eternity, who was he?
He was God the word, being there at the beginning, but without beginning, so fully not less than fully God.
John the apostle of Jesus did not mince word, but clarified that from the first words of his story about Jesus (John 1:1-5).
Peter by revelation told Jesus: you are the Christ the son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). He was not the Christ for eternity, it was his call by birth, being the Son of David, and he was not the son of David for eternity.
So in a bid to be theologically correct, we cannot bend over backwards to ascribe eternal reference to everything about Jesus.
For example he was not Jesus from eternity, and no length and depth of biblical exegesis will allow us to come to that conclusion.
Jesus was God the Word from eternity, he was not God the Son. It is interesting that the phrase “God the Son” never occurred in the bible, it is always Son of God. God the Son is a wrong theological construct, covering up the truth about the time-bound essence of Jesus, as the prototype son of God in the flesh and the one we are to be patterned after (Ephesians 4).
We cannot be God the son, Jesus was never and is never God the Son, because the only point of his incarnation was so that in all things he can be made like us (Hebrews 2:12-13), and we can be one with him. We cannot be God like him as God the son, since we cannot be God, but we can be one with him as Son of God.
As God the son, he will be far off and that defeats the whole mandate of Jesus to bring men to God, but as Son of God, he is near, since other men have been called son of God. And in the book of Job we read of the Sons of God coming to have a meeting with God (Job 2:1-5). We cannot be like him as God the son, but as Son of God. He is not the first person to be so called, it is not so strange to us, not beyond our reach.
Jesus is the Son of God in the ultimate sense. When angel Gabriel came to Mary to inform her that he will give birth to the son of God (Luke 1:26-42), he said: the one that will be conceived in you shall be called the Son of the highest. He did not say: he was called the son of the highest. That was not his name pre-incarnation, though he existed in eternity past. Let us not get it confused. In our bid to honour the son of God, we should not be found guilty of the mistaken identity.
When we realise that the sonship of Jesus started in time, we can fully identify with him as his body, connected to him in the oneness of the Spirit, in a vital spiritual sense. He is not afar off, he is near in us, as sons of God, through faith in him. It is on that basis the time-limiting concept of Jesus being the son of God that we understand how we are sons of God.
We are only sons of God to the extent that Jesus is and nothing more. A more accurately understanding of his sonship will give us a more accurate understanding of our own sonship.
This was the point of the implantation of Jesus in the womb of Mary. It happened at a point in time, so also is salvation. And the birth of Jesus was by the Holy Spirit. So, there is no spiritual rebirth without the Holy Spirit. He is the one who seals us, being the sign of divine ownership of us. We also read: the Lord knows those who are his, and the lord knows those who are is and let those who name God’s name depart from iniquity (2Timothy 2:19).
Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, but he experienced Holy Spirit invasion while he was being baptised in water by John. The heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit came mightily upon him. That brought him to the limelight, in the explosive power of God (Luke 3, 4).
Jesus third level experience of the Holy Spirit is at the resurrection. We read that he was declared to be the son of God with power by the Holy Spirit, being gifted with an undying body (Romans 1:4).
At those three levels he was declared to be the son of God. When Mary was having a conversation with Gabriel (Luke ), He was declared to be the son of God then, when Gabriel said that he will be called the son of the highest. At the age of twelve we see that identity fully formed (Luke 2:48-50), but at the baptism of John, it was not the voice of Gabriel speaking to Mary, but the voice of God from heaven, in the midst of the people who came to receive the same baptism in the river Jordan by John (Luke 3:22).
In the first declaration by Gabriel, only Mary heard it, the second declaration was by the father, who is the one who gave the Holy Spirit to us. But the third declaration was not by words but action, by the resurrection, which marks permanent victory of death (Colossians 2:14-16) and was witnessed by all devils in hell, and angels in heaven, and to be proclaimed among men through the believers (2Timothy 3:16).
In the same vein, John wrote that we do not know what we would be like, but when we get our new resurrected bodies we would be like Jesus (1John 3:1-4) in his our resurrected body. But we cannot be like God the Son, but like Son of God.
When Jesus rose from the death, he appeared to many people eating and fellowshipped with them in a new body that can go through wall, and could be invincible at times.
At that times we would be sons of God on a whole new level, the third level. For us, the incarnation stands for the new birth; the invasion stands for the baptism of the Holy Spirit; the translation, the gaining of the new bodies at the resurrection of the just, is what we await at the second coming of Jesus.
- Incarnation: A Sermon (andygoodliff.typepad.com)
- David Limbaugh on His New Book: Jesus on Trial — A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel (rushlimbaugh.com)
- 8 Reasons the Resurrection Matters (derekzrishmawy.com)
- Pay Attention, Don’t Drift Away (chasingthewind.net)