What Does "begotten" mean?


#1

I have always seen this word in many Bibles. Every place I look says it means “created” in one way or another. So why is this word used?


#2

[quote=Catholic Dude]I have always seen this word in many Bibles. Every place I look says it means “created” in one way or another. So why is this word used?
[/quote]

Havent you read all the this guy begot that son and that son begot that son and so on. Bearing sons. It has more to giving birth than to creation.

The most important part of being begotten is to be beggoten of God on judgement day to ressurect into eternal life.

Jesus was begotten of the Father also.

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 JOH 3:3 **

Jesus gave him this answer: “I solemnly assure you, no one can see the reign of God unless he is begotten from above.” “How can a man be born again once he is old?” retorted Nicodemus. “Can he return to his mother’s womb and be born over again?” Jesus replied: “I solemnly assure you, no one can enter into God’s kingdom without being begotten of water and Spirit.

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.” NAB REV 1:4 Greetings.

To the seven churches in the province of Asia: John wishes you grace and peace – from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before the throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born from the dead and ruler of the kings of earth.NAB PSA 89:27

“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior.’ And I will make him the first-born, highest of the kings of the earth.” NAB COL 1:15 Fullness and Reconciliation.

He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creatures. In him everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations, principalities, or powers; all were created through him, and for him. He is before all else that is. In him everything continues in being. It is he who is head of the body, the church; he who is the beginning, the** first-born of the dead**, so that primacy may be his in everything.

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com


#3

Unless I am mistaken, the word “begotten” was specifically chosen as the word of choice for the Creed because it emphasized the fact that the Word was not “created” at one time by the Father (as argued by the Arians), but instead “begotten”–that is, eternally proceeds from the Father…or something like that.


#4

[quote=Madaglan]Unless I am mistaken, the word “begotten” was specifically chosen as the word of choice for the Creed because it emphasized the fact that the Word was not “created” at one time by the Father (as argued by the Arians), but instead “begotten”–that is, eternally proceeds from the Father…or something like that.
[/quote]

You got at the heart of what I was asking. I know what places like Jn3:16 are saying, but people like the JWs turn it around and say “Created” as in God “created” the Son. Do you see what I am getting at? It seems like a bad word to pick in translation, unless like a lot of other words it must have changed its definition over time.


#5

“Beget” means to create something like yourself (ie, procreation). It’s a specific type of creation. You can “create” many types of things, but you can only “beget” something like yourself.

Birds beget birds. And worms beget worms for the birds to eat.

The term can be applied inorganically. Violence, as the saying goes, begets more violence. But you wouldn’t say “violence begets suffering” because suffering is not the same type of thing as violence. You could say “violence creates [causes] suffering,” but not “begets.”


#6

In the sense of the Creed, it doesn’t mean “create”, but rather “proceeds”, or “comes from”. Just as I can come from Seattle, or even the other room, I’m not created by either of those things.


#7

[quote=DavidFilmer]“Beget” means to create something like yourself (ie, procreation). It’s a specific type of creation. You can “create” many types of things, but you can only “beget” something like yourself.

."
[/quote]

NO beget (present tense) does NOT mean create in any way shape or form. Create is what the Creator does - God alone. Beget is what an earthly father does in a physically self-emptying act, which results in the conception of a child. Your earthly father did not create you out of nothing, God did that. Your earthly father begat you.

Beget is what God the Father does in a divinely self-emtying eternal action, He begets the Son. The Son is completely and totally receptive of the Father’s love, and eternally returns the totality of this Love to the Father, who eternally is fully receptive of this Love. The Love is the Holy Spirit. Creation is the action taken by the Father, for love of the Son through the action of the Holy Spirit which results in the existence of creatures. The Son is NOT a creature, therefore He was not created by God the Father, He was begotten.

Please do not sling words around carelessly (as some bible translators have done) especially here on this forum.


#8

How about this,

Beget, from a human view, implies sequence:
first the father, *then *the son.

But try to think of the sun that lights and warms
our planet:

the star [the sun] cannot be thought of without
giving off light. To be a star* is* to give off light.
The concept of “sequence” is more muted in this
analogy, and is easier to conceptualize.

God the Father always was/is, Christ, begotten of
the Father, always was/is…the way light comes
from a star…if you have a star, you have light.
*Since *the Father is, the Son is.

[All analogies fail in some particular. There are
"dying" stars, black holes etc.]

reen12


#9

A great description of the Trinity is written in the first Chapter of a book (City of God) written by a german nun in the 15th century. It is reported as being dictated by Our Blessed Mother and describes the instants or divine decrees that describes Creation and God’s plan for the universe.

Jesus is not a created being as He is God, He is the Word as John says in his gospel and the Word is God, his incarnation into a human body was decreed before creation. God distributed as much of Himself into Jesus as was possible for a human creature to contain. SO Jesus is truly human, and truly part of the essence of God. The Word existed as God was from the beginning, so there is no beginning of Jesus and no end.

The first created creature was Mary (as least in terms of divine decree), as she was to become the perfect vessel to bear God on earth. God envisioned the Mother of God even before the angels.

The first two instances described God’s acknowledgement of Himself, communication (it sound like a self awareness type deal) and His desire to distributed His goodness.

The third described the desire to make the Word incarnate and the creation of Mary as the perfect creature to bear Jesus.

The fourth or fifth described the creation of the angels, the universe, Hell etc.

From the beginning God knew about the rebellion of some of the angels and of man. Even though he wanted all of His creation to accept Him, he granted free will and also knew some would reject Him. Rather than creating automatons, God let us have a choice to choose Him or reject Him.

wc


#10

Here is the Strong’s interpretation:

[left]1080** **γεννάω gennao /ghen·nah·o/] v. From a variation of 1085; TDNT 1:665; TDNTA 114; GK 1164; 97 occurrences; AV translates as “begat” 49 times, “be born” 39 times, “bear” twice, “gender” twice, “bring forth” once, “be delivered” once, and translated miscellaneously three times. 1 of men who fathered children. 1a to be born. 1b to be begotten. 1b1 of women giving birth to children. 2 metaph. 2a to engender, cause to arise, excite. 2b in a Jewish sense, of one who brings others over to his way of life, to convert someone. 2c of God making Christ his son. 2d of God making men his sons through faith in Christ’s work.[/left]

%between% v v: verb

TDNT Theological Dictionary of the New Testament

TDNTA Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume

GK Goodrick-Kohlenberger

AV Authorized Version

%between%Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the test of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (G1080). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.


#11

[quote=Catholic Dude]You got at the heart of what I was asking. I know what places like Jn3:16 are saying, but people like the JWs turn it around and say “Created” as in God “created” the Son. Do you see what I am getting at? It seems like a bad word to pick in translation, unless like a lot of other words it must have changed its definition over time.
[/quote]

Actually, if you look to most modern translations, you will find that they don’t use the word “only begotten” anymore. Recent linguistic studies have shown that the Greek root is not from gennao (to beget), but genes) (unique or one of a kind). Christ is the unique Son of God, not the “only-begotten” son, which does imply “createdness.” The NIV, NET, ESV, and all other translations have changed recognizing this.

This is interesting since the creed of Nicea DID say that Christ was begotten in eternity, but did not attempt to explain what this meant. This was a reaction to the Arians and give unfortuate implications concerning the ontology of Christ. Christ is not in any way ontologically subordinate to the Father.

Michael


#12

[quote=Catholic Dude]I have always seen this word in many Bibles. Every place I look says it means “created” in one way or another. So why is this word used?
[/quote]

It’s an old English word. It literally means to procreate as the father.

The reciprocal for a woman would be to conceive.


#13

[quote=Catholic Dude]You got at the heart of what I was asking. I know what places like Jn3:16 are saying, but people like the JWs turn it around and say “Created” as in God “created” the Son. Do you see what I am getting at? It seems like a bad word to pick in translation, unless like a lot of other words it must have changed its definition over time.
[/quote]

Reread the Nicene creed and you’ll get a much better idea of what begotten means as it applies to Christ, and a better understanding of his divinity - which is your actual endpoint in trying to understand “begotten”.

We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only son of God.
Eternally begotten of the Father;
God from God
Light from Light
True God from true God
Begotten, not made, One in being with the Father
Through Him all things were made.
That is a serious dose of the holy Spirit right there. You think maybe they had a little trouble with some folks trying to deny the divinity of Christ before this was written? :rolleyes:
I know you are seeking to understand the word begotten - that’s good. This section of the creed(in fact the entire creed) is an excellent meditation for understanding how much there is to Jesus - don’t rush through it!

Phil


#14

Ha! I’d forgotten the phrase in the Creed:

Light from Light…the star analogy must have
occured to me because Light from Light was already
in my thought.

reen12


#15

Originally Quoted by michaelp:Quote:
Originally Posted by Catholic Dude
You got at the heart of what I was asking. I know what places like Jn3:16 are saying, but people like the JWs turn it around and say “Created” as in God “created” the Son. Do you see what I am getting at? It seems like a bad word to pick in translation, unless like a lot of other words it must have changed its definition over time.

Actually, if you look to most modern translations, you will find that they don’t use the word “only begotten” anymore. Recent linguistic studies have shown that the Greek root is not from gennao (to beget), but genes) (unique or one of a kind). Christ is the unique Son of God, not the “only-begotten” son, which does imply “createdness.” The NIV, NET, ESV, and all other translations have changed recognizing this.

This is interesting since the creed of Nicea DID say that Christ was begotten in eternity, but did not attempt to explain what this meant. This was a reaction to the Arians and give unfortuate implications concerning the ontology of Christ. Christ is not in any way ontologically subordinate to the Father.

Michael

Are you implying that the bishops at Nicaea (many of whom spoke Greek as their first language, and many others who were scholars of Greek, which was then the intellectual language of the East) did not take into serious consideration each word of the Greek Scripture and how they would make the Creed compatible with it?

If so, sorry, but I find it hard to believe that hundreds of bishops, well-learned in the Scriptures, in the ancient languages and in the liberal arts did not look very deeply into the language of Scripture when wording the Creed.

There is a real danger in the West of believing that modern Westerners can better understand foreign cultures. This is called Orientalism, and it oftentimes can be a sign of a hidden hubris. It often presupposes that those individuals in the ancient cultures “didn’t know any better”–and that our own systematic historical and linguistic conclusions should replace those made by the ancients, even if the ancients had spent years in study to reach their own conclusions.

One might say that those at Nicaea (and, later at Constantinople) created (and later, modified) the Creed as it now stands because of outside pressure, a compromise, or to fulfill an agenda. For argument’s sake, let’s say that all this is true. Can we honestly say that many modern Biblical scholars do not have their own agendas, are not pressured by academia to make novel discoveries, do not need to compromise some accuracy in publishing works that have no evident loose-ends? Just look those scholars of the Jesus Seminar, whose works flood the bookstore shelves.

I don’t mean to personally offend you, but sometimes I wonder if we place too much emphasis on our own abilities to understand the past, while at the same time passing off as “superstitious,” “misguided,” or “simplistic” the thoughs and conclusions of the early Christians.

I’m sure there are many modern scholars who understand why the Fathers quoted the Creed as they did.

Maybe the new translations are more linguistically correct, but this does not necessarily have to challenge the formulation of the Creed.


#16

Originally Quoted by michaelp: Quote:
Originally Posted by Catholic Dude
You got at the heart of what I was asking. I know what places like Jn3:16 are saying, but people like the JWs turn it around and say “Created” as in God “created” the Son. Do you see what I am getting at? It seems like a bad word to pick in translation, unless like a lot of other words it must have changed its definition over time.

Actually, if you look to most modern translations, you will find that they don’t use the word “only begotten” anymore. Recent linguistic studies have shown that the Greek root is not from gennao (to beget), but genes) (unique or one of a kind). Christ is the unique Son of God, not the “only-begotten” son, which does imply “createdness.” The NIV, NET, ESV, and all other translations have changed recognizing this.

This is interesting since the creed of Nicea DID say that Christ was begotten in eternity, but did not attempt to explain what this meant. This was a reaction to the Arians and give unfortuate implications concerning the ontology of Christ. Christ is not in any way ontologically subordinate to the Father.

Michael

Are you implying that the bishops at Nicaea (many of whom spoke Greek as their first language, and many others who were scholars of Greek, which was then the intellectual language of the East) did not take into serious consideration each word of the Greek Scripture and how they would make the Creed compatible with it?

If so, sorry, but I find it hard to believe that hundreds of bishops, well-learned in the Scriptures, in the ancient languages and in the liberal arts did not look very deeply into the language of Scripture when wording the Creed.

There is a real danger in the West of believing that modern Westerners can better understand foreign cultures. This is called Orientalism, and it oftentimes can be a sign of a hidden hubris. It often presupposes that those individuals in the ancient cultures “didn’t know any better”–and that our own systematic historical and linguistic conclusions should replace those made by the ancients, even if the ancients had spent years in study to reach their own conclusions.

One might say that those at Nicaea (and, later at Constantinople) created (and later, modified) the Creed as it now stands because of outside pressure, a compromise, or to fulfill an agenda. For argument’s sake, let’s say that all this is true. Can we honestly say that many modern Biblical scholars do not have their own agendas, are not pressured by academia to make novel discoveries, do not need to compromise some accuracy in publishing works that have no evident loose-ends? Just look those scholars of the Jesus Seminar, whose works flood the bookstore shelves.

I don’t mean to personally offend you, but sometimes I wonder if we place too much emphasis on our own abilities to understand the past, while at the same time passing off as “superstitious,” “misguided,” or “simplistic” the thoughs and conclusions of the early Christians.

I’m sure there are many modern scholars who understand why the Fathers quoted the Creed as they did.

Maybe the new translations are more linguistically correct, but this does not necessarily have to challenge the formulation of the Creed.


#17

[quote=Madaglan]Are you implying that the bishops at Nicaea (many of whom spoke Greek as their first language, and many others who were scholars of Greek, which was then the intellectual language of the East) did not take into serious consideration each word of the Greek Scripture and how they would make the Creed compatible with it?

If so, sorry, but I find it hard to believe that hundreds of bishops, well-learned in the Scriptures, in the ancient languages and in the liberal arts did not look very deeply into the language of Scripture when wording the Creed.

There is a real danger in the West of believing that modern Westerners can better understand foreign cultures. This is called Orientalism, and it oftentimes can be a sign of a hidden hubris. It often presupposes that those individuals in the ancient cultures “didn’t know any better”–and that our own systematic historical and linguistic conclusions should replace those made by the ancients, even if the ancients had spent years in study to reach their own conclusions.

One might say that those at Nicaea (and, later at Constantinople) created (and later, modified) the Creed as it now stands because of outside pressure, a compromise, or to fulfill an agenda. For argument’s sake, let’s say that all this is true. Can we honestly say that many modern Biblical scholars do not have their own agendas, are not pressured by academia to make novel discoveries, do not need to compromise some accuracy in publishing works that have no evident loose-ends? Just look those scholars of the Jesus Seminar, whose works flood the bookstore shelves.

I don’t mean to personally offend you, but sometimes I wonder if we place too much emphasis on our own abilities to understand the past, while at the same time passing off as “superstitious,” “misguided,” or “simplistic” the thoughs and conclusions of the early Christians.

I’m sure there are many modern scholars who understand why the Fathers quoted the Creed as they did.

Maybe the new translations are more linguistically correct, but this does not necessarily have to challenge the formulation of the Creed.
[/quote]

I see what your saying. I never said that and never intended to go that deep or take it in the direction of denying historical Christianity and scholarship. I know there are groups out there who have it way wrong and even translate the Bible to make it say one thing or another. I never attacked the Creed, it is the backbone for what we know today. I was getting at the surface level argument that in places like Jn3:16 it says “only begotten”, and how people use words like that to argue “created” ie inferior to God. The Creed doesnt have that problem and makes the concept more clear to me. In fact throwing out the Creed is the heart of why a lot of these groups go astray, even when the Creed was aimed at the same heresy these groups fall into again and again. In terms of translation and usage especially in a dictionary, many words get distorted, for example the word “gay”. So my original question was why is that word used in the Bible, but as a few have pointed out it is being phased-out of modern translations.


#18

Originally Quoted by Catholic Dude:

I see what your saying. I never said that and never intended to go that deep or take it in the direction of denying historical Christianity and scholarship. I know there are groups out there who have it way wrong and even translate the Bible to make it say one thing or another. I never attacked the Creed, it is the backbone for what we know today. I was getting at the surface level argument that in places like Jn3:16 it says “only begotten”, and how people use words like that to argue “created” ie inferior to God. The Creed doesnt have that problem and makes the concept more clear to me. In fact throwing out the Creed is the heart of why a lot of these groups go astray, even when the Creed was aimed at the same heresy these groups fall into again and again. In terms of translation and usage especially in a dictionary, many words get distorted, for example the word “gay”. So my original question was why is that word used in the Bible, but as a few have pointed out it is being phased-out of modern translations.

Haha…I wasn’t being critical of what you wrote, but of what michaelp wrote. And I only wrote what I did to point out the potential dangers in modern biblical scholarship.

In conversing with one of my evangelical friends, who is now attending seminary in Virginia Beach, I have discovered that Greek is not as easy to understand as I originally thought. Also, last year, I took a course on literary criticism, in which we studied the post modern criticisms of language. One critic, Jaques Derrida, mentioned that many words we use have multiple meanings, even contradictory ones. The word “pharmakon,” for example, can have a wide number of meanings. Which meaning is specifically referred to in the text? According to Derrida, there is no implicit meaning in the text, and that the meaning of the text “falls apart.” While I won’t go so far as to believer, as Derrida does, that no authorial meaning can be taken from a text, I am aware that language is oftentimes “slippery” and enigmatic.

Even Plato, in his Phaedrus, mentions that speaking is superior to writing, for in writing there is not always the availability of the author to clarify what he meant with certain words or phrases.

One final thought: the linguistic understanding of the New Testament Greek does not necessarily need to supplant the older or traditional understanding of the Greek. Perhaps Peter, Paul and John used a specific word, misattributing this word to the wrong root. Peter, Paul and John used language in a practical way, in order to better spread the gospel. Should we follow what the early Church thought their Greek meant, or what the Greek they used officially and linguistically meant? In short, should we go with the actual linguistic meaning, or with how the apostles and their immediate successors understood the meaning of Scriptures?

With this in mind, we should recognize that the NT Greek is Koine Greek–a less formal Greek–which, I would imagine, is less structured and regular than other forms of Greek. One word may have different meanings when placed in various associations.
I’m not saying that the Koine Greek which the apostles used is not the same as the linguistically reconstructed Koine Greek of today, but I believe that we should consider the possibility that this is not the case.

Even if you read the American dictionary, you will discover than many words have unknown roots, or there is only a conjecture as to the proper root.

Again, I’m not condemning you for what you wrote, michaelp; I’m simply trying to offer some thoughs on the matter.


#19

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