Son of God
Son of God
The phrase "Son of God" in the Holy Scriptures holds a great revelation in disclosing the true identity of Jesus Christ, the man from Nazareth. Since the early Apostolic Fathers, the identity of Jesus Christ has been discussed and debated thousands of times. The controversy surrounding the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ reached the upper echelons of the religious elite at the Council of Nicea in 324AD when the term "Son of God' was reinstituted as "God the Son" to fit the Trinitarian theology. The Trinitarian theology is the belief that there is one God which exists in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. They are all co-eternal, coequal in power, and coexistant. We will find out in this study how just changing the term "Son of God" to "God the Son" can lead so many astray from the true identity of Jesus Christ.
From the Bible, we see that Jesus Christ had two distinct natures. One nature is His humanity (body) while the other is His divinity (Spirit). This is why Jesus is described as being both fully man and fully God. The name Jesus refers to the incarnation of the Father (Jehovah) who exists as the eternal Spirit of God dwelling in the flesh under the New Covenant. The name Jesus can be used interchangeably between His natures as in relation to humanity. David. K. Bernard gives this example, "when we say Jesus died on the cross, we mean His flesh died on the cross. When we say Jesus lives in our hearts, we mean His Spirit is there". The prophet Isaiah in his Messianic prophecy reveals to us the duality of the Messiah being both Father and Son in chapter 9 verse 6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us, a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace".
The mystery of godliness is how the one true God the Jehovah of the Old Testament, took upon Himself the form of man, and as the Son of man was born of the Virgin Mary. As Paul says "And without controversy great is the mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Timothy 3:16).
The term Son of God is a phrase that reveals the incarnation of divinity into humanity. Jesus on His Father's side was divine, on His mother's side, human. Thus, He was known as the Son of God and also the Son of Man or the God-man. The "Son" refers to Christ humanity while the "God" refers to His divinity. This is why the term "God the Son' is so detrimental to the actual identity of Jesus because it only equates Christ with divinity. Therefore, according to the doctrine of the Trinity "God the Son" is eternal. However, this is unscriptural.
The "Son-ship" of God is not something eternal as prescribed by the Trinitarian theology, but it was temporary to fulfill the purpose of God for Redemption during the transition of the Old Covenant (Dispensation of the Law) to the New Covenant (Dispensation of Grace). The Son of God was begotten, which means born into existence, through the Virgin Mary. Also, the Son-ship came to an end at the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary when He said, "It is finished." Paul writes in 1Corithians 15:24; 27-28, "Then cometh the end, when he [Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father…,...For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him...And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all". These verses of Scripture refer to a particular role that God temporarily assumed as the "Son of God" for the purpose of redemption. Once redemption was complete the function of the Son was no longer necessary. Therefore, God (Jesus) return to His original role as Father, Creator, and Ruler of all.
Ephesians 5:27 describes this same scene in different terms: "That he [Christ] might present it to himself a glorious church…" 1Corinthians 15:24, which describes the Son presenting the kingdom to the Father can only be clarified with the explanation that Jesus is not only a man, but the Father manifested in the flesh from Paul's description in Ephesians revealing that Jesus presents the church to Himself.
In summation, there is one God and Father to all, who declared Himself in many different roles and titles: A Creator, Redeemer, Burning Bush, and a Son. The functions of a Father, Son, and Spirit are prominent roles in the will of God for creation, redemption, and sanctification. Nonetheless, no matter how many titles or terms are given to God all come to the point of one God with one name above every other name, Jesus (Zech 12:9). "For in Him [Jesus] dwelleth ALL the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9).