The Sonship of Jesus Christ - Refuting the Heresy of Eternal Generation (Part 2)Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Sunday, April 12, 2015.
2. Argument #2: Christ was sent as the Son A. Verses in the NT which refer to the Son of God being sent into the world prior to the incarnation are using present terminology to refer to Jesus as the Word in the past. i. Verses which are used in this manner include: (Joh 3:16-17; Joh 10:36; Act 3:26; 1Jo 3:8; 1Jo 4:9). ii. We commonly use present terminology to refer to someone doing something in the past. a. For example, the statement, "My dad was born in 1946" doesn't mean that he was my dad when he was born. b. I am simply referring to my dad in his current relationship to me when describing something that happened to him prior to him entering into that relationship. c. The same is true of an apostle who was writing many years after Jesus' birth when He became the Son of God (Luk 1:35), and saying that God sent His Son into the world. d. The apostle was writing of Jesus in His present relationship with the Father as His Son when describing something that happened to Him prior to Him entering that relationship when He was the Word (Joh 1:1). iii. The reasoning of those who hold to eternal sonship would make John the Baptist the eternal forerunner of Christ (Joh 1:6). B. The following verses are used to support the idea that God sent His Son to become Jesus Christ; but they prove no such thing. i. Rom 8:3 - God didn't send His Son to be made flesh, but rather in the likeness of sinful flesh. ii. Gal 4:4-5 - God didn't send forth His Son to be made of a woman, but rather God sent forth His Son who was made of a woman to redeem us. iii. These verses are referring to God's Son, Jesus being sent into His earthly ministry as a man, which is referred to as "his coming" (Act 13:24). iv. These verses are not referring to God sending the Word to become flesh. C. Heb 1:5-6 is used to support the claim that the firstbegotten Son of God entered the world as such, being the Son from all eternity. i. The text itself refutes this heretical claim. ii. Heb 1:5 is a quote from 2Sa 7:14 in which God made a covenant with David that He would setup one of his descendents on his throne after David died, at which time God said "I WILL BE to him a Father, and he SHALL BE to me a Son". iii. God didn't tell David that "I AM his Father and he IS my Son", but that he would be His Son in the future. iv. Jesus would (did) become God's Son "when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world" (Heb 1:6). v. Bringing the firstbegotten into the world refers to the birth of the baby, Jesus (Heb 1:6 c/w Joh 16:21 c/w Luk 1:35), at which time the angels of God did worship Him (Heb 1:6 c/w Luk 2:9-14). vi. If Jesus was the Son of God in eternity past, the angels would have already been worshiping Him from the time they were created, and they would not have been made to wait until He was brought into the world (Heb 1:6). 3. Argument #3: Christ was the Son when creating. A. The creation of all things is ascribed to the Son in Col 1:13-17 and Heb 1:2. i. As was the case in Argument #2, attributing the creation of the world to the Son of God is simply using the name of His current office to refer to acts that He did as the Word prior to becoming the Son of God. ii. By comparing scripture, it is clear that it was the Word, who was God in the beginning, who created all things (Joh 1:1-3). iii. Long after He created all things, The Word became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ (Joh 1:14), at which time He became the Son of God in the womb of Mary (Luk 1:35). B. The Son of God is said to be the "firstborn of every creature" in Col 1:15. i. This cannot be referring to His divine nature as the Word because the divine nature of Christ (the Word) is NOT a creature. ii. Creature - 1. a. Anything created; a created being, animate or inanimate; a product of creative action; a creation. iii. The "firstborn of every creature" refers to the human nature of Jesus Christ, which is the Son of God. iv. The human nature of Christ is a "creature", a human being created in the virgin's womb (Luk 1:35). v. Jesus is the "firstborn of every creature" in two aspects. a. He is "the firstborn from the dead" (Col 1:18 c/w Act 13:33-34) by means of His resurrection. (i) The resurrection of Christ is elsewhere referred to as a begetting from the dead (Rev 1:5). (ii) Jesus was the first that should rise from the dead (Act 26:23). (iii) He is the firstfruits of resurrection of the dead (1Co 15:20). (iv) It is in this sense that Jesus is the firstborn of every creature (Col 1:15), being the firstborn from the dead (Col 1:18). b. He is also the "firstborn of every creature" in the sense of having the right of the firstborn. (i) A firstborn son in a family normally got a double portion (Deu 21:17). (ii) Jesus, being the firstborn of every creature, was given the preeminence (Higher rank or distinction; priority of place, precedence; superiority) (Col 1:18), whereby the Father gave Him to be the head over all things (Eph 1:22). 4. Argument #4: God the Father is called the Father prior to the incarnation. A. Jesus said the Father sent Him from heaven, which happened prior to the incarnation (Joh 6:38-39). i. As has already been proved, the Father sent the Word to be made flesh (Joh 1:1,14). ii. This verse no more proves that the first person of the Trinity was the Father of Jesus Christ before the incarnation than it does that Jesus was a flesh and blood man when He was sent down from heaven, since He said "I (the flesh and blood man who was speaking) came down from heaven" (Joh 6:38). iii. Verses like these are simply using the current terminology of "Father" and "Son" to refer to those persons when they acted in the past before they held the status they currently do (more on this in Section VIII). B. When the angel announced to Mary that she would miraculously conceive, he said "the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee" (Luk 1:35). C. When speaking of the act of the incarnation as yet future, the angel did not call the Highest the Father because He would not be the Father of Jesus Christ until the time of the conception. D. The first person of the Trinity is called the Highest elsewhere in scripture (Psa 18:13; Psa 87:5; Luk 1:32; Luk 1:76; Luk 6:35). E. God was called a Father prior to the incarnation because He was a Father in creation, such as: i. The Father of His children (Psa 68:5; Psa 103:13; Mat 6:9). ii. The Father of the nation of Israel (Jer 31:9; Mal 1:6). iii. The Father of mercies (2Co 1:3). iv. The Father of glory (Eph 1:17). v. The Father of all (Eph 4:6). vi. The Father of spirits (Heb 12:9). vii. The Father of lights (Jam 1:17). VIII. The arguments for eternal sonship prove way too much. 1. If the doctrine of eternal sonship proves that Jesus was the Son of God from all eternity, it also proves that He was a man, the Son of man, and the Christ from all eternity. A. Jesus was referred to as a man prior to the incarnation. i. John the Baptist said that Jesus the man was before him (Joh 1:30). a. Jesus was born six months after John the Baptist (Luk 1:36). b. Was John then saying that Jesus as a man existed before him? c. Of course not. John was simply referring to Jesus as the Word who was before him (Joh 1:1) by what He was at the time (a man). ii. Jesus said that "I" (the flesh and blood man who was praying) had glory before the world was (Joh 17:5). iii. The verses which refer to the Son creating or being sent prior to the incarnation no more prove that the Son was eternally begotten than Joh 1:30 and Joh 17:5 prove that Jesus Christ existed as a man from eternity. B. Jesus was referred to as the Son of man prior to the incarnation. i. Jesus said the Son of man came down from heaven (Joh 3:13; Joh 6:62). ii. Jesus said "I" (the flesh and blood man) came down from heaven (Joh 6:42). iii. Was Jesus saying that He as the Son of man existed from eternity? iv. Of course not. Jesus was simply referring to Himself by the title He currently held (Son of man) and was saying that He, as the Word, came down from heaven (Joh 1:1,14). v. The verses which refer to the Son creating or being sent prior to the incarnation no more prove that the Son was eternally begotten than Joh 3:13 and Joh 6:42,62 prove that Jesus Christ existed as a the Son of man from eternity. C. Jesus was referred to as Jesus and the Christ prior to the incarnation. i. Paul said that "God...created all thing by Jesus Christ" (Eph 3:9). ii. Paul said that "Christ Jesus came into the world" (1Ti 1:15). iii. Paul said that God saved us by His grace "which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2Ti 1:9). iv. Paul said that all things are by Jesus (Heb 2:9-10). v. The name "Christ" means "Messiah" (Joh 1:41). vi. Was Paul saying that Jesus Christ (the human Messiah) existed from eternity? vii. Of course not. Paul was simply referring to Jesus by the title He currently held (Jesus Christ) when declaring that He, as the Word, created all things, existed before the world began, and came into the world (Joh 1:1-3,14). viii. The verses which refer to the Son creating or being sent prior to the incarnation no more prove that the Son was eternally begotten than Eph 3:9, 1Ti 1:15, 2Ti 1:9 and Heb 2:9-10 prove that Jesus Christ existed as the Messiah from eternity. IX. Eternal spiration of the Holy Spirit 1. The same heretics who teach that Jesus is the eternally begotten Son of God (eternal generation) also teach that the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds (spiration) from the Father and the Son. A. "...the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son." (Westminster Confession (Presbyterian), Ch.II, Section III, 1646) B. "The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son." (1689 London Baptist Confession, Ch. 2, Section 3) 2. They base this drivel on one verse: Joh 15:26. A. Joh 15:26 simply says that the Holy Spirit was sent from the Father to earth to be the Comforter of the church who would testify of Christ (Joh 14:26; Joh 16:7). B. Proceed - 1. intr. To go, move, or travel forward; to make one's way onward; 3. The Holy Ghost is God (1Jo 5:7; Act 5:3-4); therefore He eternally proceeds from no one. 4. Eternal procession is a self-contradictory term, just as is eternal generation.
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