What does begotten mean?


#1

In a discussion with an inlaw over the holidays, the question came up as to what begotten means in relation to Jesus as stated in the Nicene Creed. She also asked what the difference between begotten and made is also in reference to Jesus in the Creed.


#2

Begotten means that Jesus is both fully God and fully man, because he was born of Mary and the Holy Spirit. Critically important to the diety of Jesus.

Made would be heresy since that would say that Jesus was merely a creation of God and therefor just another creature like all the rest of us. Thus denying that He is God in the flesh. The first few verses of the Gospel of John bring this out really well…
(John 1: 1-5) " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be 4 through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; 5 the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."


#3

I think it’s a unique word and refers to the fact that the “Son” always existed and was not born into existence as a human male would have been.

Although this is all a true mystery, it makes sense in terms of our understanding of an eternal God who is manifested in three persons. We believe God is eternal and the Trinity is eternal as well. Hence, the Son was begotten not made.


#4

Here is a short answer. The second person of the trinity is not a created being. He was around before the creation. Also, he has a divine natue, or is the same type as God because he was begotten. Just like if a man and woman beget a child, the resulting child is not some other kind, rather, that child is a human.

I suppose begotten must also mean that he is the Son, and the first person of the trinity is the Father. It describes relationship.

Of course, at the right time, the second person of the trinity became incarnate and took a human nature in addition to the divine one.


#5

Hello Kathy G.,

Scripture indicates that Jesus is begotten of the Father upon His ressurection. We know that our spiritual God is Omni-Present to all of physical time. Anyone begotten of our spiritual God is also Omni-Present to all of physical time (the whole of physical time from before creation and beyond the end of time). Jesus in the flesh came down from heaven and is not made.

Please visit Jesus Loves God

NAB PSA 2:4
He who is throned in heaven laughs; the LORD derides them; Then in anger he speaks to them; he terrifies them in his wrath: “I myself have set up my king on Zion, my holy mountain. I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: The LORD said to me, 'You are my son; this day I have begotten you. Ask of me and I will give you the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall rule them with an iron rod: you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.’” NAB ACT 13:32

“We ourselves announce to you the good news that what God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, in raising up Jesus, according to what is written in the second psalm, You are my son; this day I have begotten you.

NAB 1PE 3:18

He was put to death insofar as fleshly existence goes, but was given life in the realm of the spirit.NAB HEB 1:5 Messianic Enthronement.

To which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my son; today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son”? And again, when he leads his first-born into the world, he says, “Let all the angels of God worship him.”

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com


#6

Begotten not made means that Christ, is eternally the Son of the Father, though the Father and the Son are both beginningless and endless, eternally unchanging. Begottenness simply suggests unchanging relationship between persons, not that one person created (made) another person in the order of time.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#7

[quote=RobedWithLight]Begotten not made means that Christ, is eternally the Son of the Father, though the Father and the Son are both beginningless and endless, eternally unchanging. Begottenness simply suggests unchanging relationship between persons, not that one person created (made) another person in the order of time.

Gerry :slight_smile:
[/quote]

:slight_smile: Yes. Let’s think how the word of a person is “begotten” from that person…

Maybe we can ask ourselves: When did God begin to SPEAK? :slight_smile:

This will help us understand how the Word of God ( the Son ) is eternal…


#8

[quote=Witness]:slight_smile: Yes. Let’s think how the word of a person is “begotten” from that person…

Maybe we can ask ourselves: When did God begin to SPEAK? :slight_smile:

This will help us understand how the Word of God ( the Son ) is eternal…
[/quote]

Good point. Begottenness does not mean Jesus is not, then Jesus is. Rather Jesus was, is, and always will be the Son.

There never was, when the Son was not

Gerry :slight_smile:


#9

Perhaps the Church uses this term in a technical way that I have been previously unaware of, but IMHO you are all reading wa-ay more into it than necessary. A good dictionary is all you need.

“Begotten” is the past participle of “beget” which means “to father” or “to sire”. It indicates the relationship of the Father to the Son and of the Son to the Father.

It has nothing (AFAIK) to do with the etnernalness of their relationship. In fact, when speaking of Jesus it is often modifed by the adverb ("*eternally *begotten of the Father").

The word is old-fashioned, but not unique. Some bibles (KJV?) list geneaologies as long lists of “begat”'s.

But wait, aren’t we all begotten of our fathers? Of course we are, but unlike Jesus, we, and our fathers before us, are all created beings. Jesus is the *uncreated *second person of the triune God.

tee


#10

[quote=tee_eff_em]Perhaps the Church uses this term in a technical way that I have been previously unaware of, but IMHO you are all reading wa-ay more into it than necessary. A good dictionary is all you need.

It has nothing (AFAIK) to do with the etnernalness of their relationship. In fact, when speaking of Jesus it is often modifed by the adverb ("*eternally *begotten of the Father").
tee
[/quote]

While the term “begotten” has nothing to do with eternalness per se, there is still a necessity to distinguish the term “begotten” from “made” as applied to the Son, since the Nicene creed clearly states in the phrase “Begotten, not made”, that these two concepts are clearly not the same, which the Creed wanted to point out, though they superficially appear to be so. Hence, the idea of eternity is added to the idea of begotteness as applied to the Son to emphasize this distinction.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#11

In his book Jesus of Nazareth Pope Benedict XVI offers a different explanation of ‘begotten.’

P.335, he says that the term “Son of God” was common in the kingdoms of Egypt and Babylon, and describes the use as a part of their political theology; it was a title for a king. His accession to the throne was called the 'begetting." The terms relate to the king’s mythical origination from God.

The terms were adapted to the history of Israel. The most clarifying usage or the key insight comes from Psalm 2:7

I will tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to me, 'You are my son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me and I will make the nations you heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession."

This referred to the status of Israel as God’s firstborn son and was “personified in the king.” So, ‘begetting’ is a form of ‘election’ by God.

The power over all nations was not descriptive of the power of the king of Israel at the time. It was a promise of such a future ruler. The Early Christian Church saw the fulfillment of this election in the resurrection of Jesus (see Acts 13:32f).

(paraphrased and condensed from pp 335 to 337)

Israel adopted


#12

answering-islam.de/Main/Shamoun/eternal_generation.htm


#13

With due respect to his holiness (and perhaps less to his translators), I still say you all are making a bigger deal out of a simple English word than is necessary.

The ancient Egyptians and Babylonians may well have had a special term for the ascension of a new king to the throne – I highly doubt they called it by the English word “begetting”.

Indeed, the most familiar usage of the word “begotten”, the two occurences in the Nicene Creed, ("…eternally begotten of the Father…begotten, not made…) are English renderings of two different Latin words – The first translates natum, “born” (from nascor, nati, natus); the latter translates genitum, also “born” (from gigno, genui, genitus).

Does that *really *sound like a technical term?

:twocents:
tee


#14

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