Monday, June 24, 2013

begotten, but not created

This is something I've written about before, but recently, after having a lengthy discussion with my neighbor, who is Jehovah Witness, about who Jesus really is, I wanted to re-visit the topic on the blog. This truth is vital to Christianity. If we do not grasp and believe fully in it, than our faith is not in the Jesus of the bible.

We read in John chapter 1 this statement about Jesus, the Word: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

So I started to think about the difference between someone who is begotten and someone who is created. After all, that is the word John uses. He says Jesus was the only begotten. He doesn't say that Jesus was created by God. 

And I realized that there is a major difference

Consider this statement from C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, "A man begets a child, but he only makes a statue. God begets Christ but He only makes men" (p. 140). In other words, God creates man but He did not create Christ, for Christ Himself is God and it was through Him, and by Him and for Him that all things were created. After all, Colossians says, "by him [Christ] all things were created... all things were created by him and for him" (Col 1:16, emphasis mine). 

side note: when Paul uses the word "all" in Colossians, he means all. As in everything. As in every single thing that has been created. Some religions believe that Jesus was God's first creation and then He created everything. But this teaching does not line up with what the Bible says. We are told: through, for and by Jesus, all things were created. He could not have created Himself. A creation does not have that kind of power. 

But even though Christ wasn't made by God, He was begotten of God.

The Way of Cross

Lewis goes on, "But by saying that, I have illustrated only one point about God, namely, that what God the Father begets is God, something of the same kind as Himself" (p. 140). And this makes absolute sense. A dog cannot beget a mouse. A man cannot beget a cat. God does not beget a man, but He does create men. God only begets God. Jesus is God. 

another side note: Jesus was also begotten by a woman, making Him both man and God. And as a man on earth, He remained fully God.

Now that we have established that Christ was not created, but was begotten by the Father, it is also important to note that He is the only begotten of the Father. I'm sure you are familiar with John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (emphasis mine). This description of Christ is also used in John 1:14 (as seen above).

This statement reveals one simple and incredibly important truth: Jesus Christ is the only son of the Father who was begotten of God. While we are all called the sons and daughters of God once we accept Christ, we are adopted into His family through the saving work of Christ on the cross (Romans 8:15). We were not born to God, but to man. Only one was begotten of God: Jesus, God in the flesh (John 1:1, Rev 4:11, John 8:58). 

Jesus Christ is the only Son of God by His very nature. He was not created that way or made that way. He simply is. In fact, in John 8, when the Jews pressured Jesus to tell them who He truly was, His answer was simple: "I AM" (which was a reference to Exodus 3:14 when God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh that "I AM" sent him). It was then that the Jews took up stones to stone Him, because He had claimed to be God.

And I thank God that Jesus is the only begotten of the Father. Because of this, His sacrifice on the cross was the only sufficient and complete sacrifice for sins, once and for all. It is because of Him and only because of Him, that I can know personally my Lord, our heavenly Father. Him alone. Nothing I can do or have done. 

Without His perfect sacrifice, there would be no way for me or you to approach a holy God. But thanks be to Jesus, who was the only acceptable sacrifice, spotless, blameless and perfect, the Lamb of God, I am cleansed and free and made holy. Amen.

*Soli Deo Gloria*


  1. It's so good to read stuff like this on a Monday morning! I love reminders like these. Jesus wasn't just an afterthought from God, a last ditch effort to save His people. Jesus is of God, and he has been there for eternity waiting for the perfect time to demonstrate his great love for us.

  2. This is such a deep and beautiful post. I am so thankful that Jesus loved me enough to make that sacrifice specifically for me. It's so powerful, that love

  3. Wow, I never gave thought to the difference between 'had', 'begot', 'made', 'created', etc. You've given my brain some definite fodder for pondering. Thanks for a beautifully written post! Why'd you not post it when you originally wrote it?

  4. Ah, I see.. You originally posted it on your other blog. Question answered. Unless that's wrong...