concerning His Son, (who is come of the seed of David according to the flesh, who is marked out Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of sanctification, by the rising again from the dead,) Jesus Christ our Lord; - Romans 1:3-4 YLT

Whether "marked out" or "declared" or some other English word is correct for ὁρίζω (horizo), is it implied in these verses that Jesus was not the Son of God until the resurrection or is it implied in these verses that Jesus was the Son of God even before this declarative event?

6 Answers 6


The answer to this question about when Jesus was declared the "Son of God" can be determined from just two considerations.

1. Grammar of Rom 1:4

The verb ὁρισθέντος = "having declared" is aorist and thus was done at some indefinite earlier time. That is, Rom 1:4 is simply saying that the resurrection of Jesus simply confirmed what was was already known about Jesus, that He was already the "Son of God".

2. Pre-Existing Titles

The above conclusion can be confirmed by examining the use of Jesus' title, "Son of God" well before the resurrection:

  • Matt 8:29 - “What do You want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have You come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
  • Matt 14:33 - Then those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God!”
  • Matt 16:16 - Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
  • Matt 26:63, 64 - Then the high priest said to Him, “I charge You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.” “You have said it yourself,” Jesus answered.
  • Matt 27:43 - He trusts in God. Let God deliver Him now if He wants Him.f For He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
  • Matt 27:54 - When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and said, “Truly this was the Son of God.” See also Mark 15:39.
  • Mark 3:11 - And when the unclean spirits saw Him, they fell down before Him and cried out, “You are the Son of God!”
  • Mark 5:7 - And he shouted in a loud voice, “What do You want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You before God not to torture me!”
  • Luke 1:35 - The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.
  • Luke 4:41 - Demons also came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But He rebuked the demons and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Christ.
  • Luke 8:28 - When the man saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before Him, shouting in a loud voice, “What do You want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You not to torture me!”
  • Luke 22:70, 71 - So they all asked, “Are You then the Son of God?” He replied, “You say that I am.” “Why do we need any more testimony?” they declared. “We have heard it for ourselves from His own lips.”
  • John 1:34 - I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.
  • John 1:49 - “Rabbi,” Nathanael answered, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
  • John 3:18 - Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
  • John 10:36 - then what about the One whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world? How then can you accuse Me of blasphemy for stating that I am the Son of God?
  • John 11:4 - When Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
  • John 11:27 - “Yes, Lord,” she answered, “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
  • John 19:7 - “We have a law,” answered the Jews, “and according to that law He must die, because He declared Himself to be the Son of God.”

That is, Jesus was often addressed as "Son of God"before His resurrection from the dead.


The answer to this question can be determined by seeing whether the Bible speaks of the Son being the Son of God eternally, or only becoming the Son of God at a particular point in time - in the case of this question, at the time of Christ's resurrection from the dead. As there is also a related question as to whether he could have become Son of God at his incarnation, I start with a quotation from a scholar on this point:

"There is the clear evidence for an eternal sonship afforded throughout John's Gospel. ...It is implied, for example, in John 3:16, where the greatness of God's love lies precisely in the fact that he gave his Son to incarnation, humiliation, pain and death. He was Son at the point of giving; that is, at the point of incarnation (sending). Calvary is the climax of the giving, not its commencement. Equally, the eternity of the sonship lies behind John 17:1, 5: 'Glorify your Son... with the glory I had with you before the world began.' This clearly implies that his pre-existent glory was a glory he had as Son. John 6:46 speaks to similar effect: 'No-one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.' It is difficult to believe that this refers to some vision enjoyed by Jesus after the incarnation. It is much more natural to take it as referring to something pre-temporal, especially in view of Jesus' description of himself a few verses later as 'the bread that comes down from heaven' (Jn.6:50). He comes to earth both as the Son and as the bread of life.

The following conclusions, then, seem safe. First, monogenes says nothing about origins because the Son is unoriginated. Secondly, it emphasizes the uniqueness of Jesus' sonship. Thirdly, this uniqueness consists in four things: he is an object of special love, he is the Father's equal, he is the Father's likeness and he is an eternal, not an adopted. Son." (The Person of Christ p74, Donald Macleod, Inter-Varsity Press, 1998)

Another vital point regarding this question was raised in one set of comments where it was claimed that the Son is subordinate to the Father, citing Christ delivering the kingdom to God. "The reason for dissolution of the powers and the world is because of end of the world; He will not reign after he has destroyed his enemies, bec theres no need for it. He will not have the need to be Lord, and Son which are merely temporal offices... Sonship exists only as long as the purpose of judging the workers in the vineyard, as the heir of the Father God."

This matter of subordination needs to be faced up to, and over four pages, citing many scriptures that both show the Son's apparently delegated authority, and others showing the equality of the Son with the Father, the author above makes these points:

"The presence of subordinationist material should in fact be seen as a tribute to John's historical credibility. It embarrasses his main thesis (the divine grandeur of Christ), yet he resists the temptation to suppress it... we must pay attention to the purpose of these subordinationist passages. Jesus was vulnerable to the charge that he was concerned only with his own glory. He appeared to make himself equal with God; he performed miracles without any specific invocation of God; he legislated by saying simply, 'I say to you!' Hence the need to remind his contemporaries that he was in the world to reveal and glorify the Father and to do his will. But just there lay the paradox: to reveal the Father he had to reveal himself. ('Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father', Jn.14:9). Hence the two kinds of material: the material that reveals the Son, and the material that obscures him. There is no way of resolving the difficulty, if only because the Father is as determined to glorify the Son as the Son is to glorify the Father. This is why Jesus himself can say, 'Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him' (Jn.13:31). Hence, too, the portrayal of even the cross itself as a 'lifting up' (hypsosis: Jn.3:14; 12:32; 12:34). (Ibid. pp 75-78)

It is mentioned that the question of subordination resulted in language used by the early church fathers that allowed a vocabulary of subordinationism to flourish, but that N.T. subordinationism is federal, not ontological. All of that is too complex to do justice to here; a distinct question needs to be raised to deal with the matter. I include a couple of points about it here because it is directly related to the question of whether the Son of God became the Son either at the time of his resurrection, or at his coming into the world as the Son of Man.

Now, the main point: What the scriptures state about the Father and the Son shows the intimacy of relationship of their unique relationship in one, Holy Spirit. All that would declare the Son to have only entered into a relationship of Son with God the Father at some point in time, robs the Deity of the intimacy of relationship between Father and Son, in One Holy Spirit. This triune relationship

"is not a solitude. This relationship is (as the three Luke passages show [7:12; 8:42; 9:38]) not a question of nature. It is not of nature, of gender, of natural conception, of flesh and blood, of carnal connection. It is a relationship of person... the everlasting relationship between Father and Son, in One Spirit." (The Only Begotten Son of God, pp 14-15, Nigel Johnstone)

The author (above) goes on to show the eternal begetting of the Son, saying of those who wish to attack that biblical truth:

"...they will have (only in their miserable darkened mind) three gods with no divine relationship conjoining them. Or one god who is incapable of any action whatsoever - for he is, utterly and incurably : alone. ... John 5:25 records Jesus' words, in context: 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God : and they that hear shall live. By the voice of the Son of God, shall they live. For as the Father hath life in himself, ; so hath he given to the Son [of God] to have life in himself.'

Note the article in v25 and again in v26. But note the absence of article in the following verse : 'And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is son of man', John 5:27.

The Authorised Version translators supply a definite article in the English translation and then fail to put it in italics, contrary to their own rules, for there is no article in the Greek original of the Received Text, something noteworthy in a language which so frequently presents it.

Jesus identifies 'the' Son of God, then identifies 'the' Son but presently only 'son of man' thereafter. 'He' - that is 'the' Son - is 'son of man'. I say again, verse 26 is categorically not about incarnation, but 27 is clearly so.

The power of his voice (surely no man is so mad as to assert that this refers to the sound that comes from Jesus' human throat!) is due to his Sonship in Deity. And Jesus explains the reason for such power : it is due to the life that is of the Father being in the Son, independently - which is a begetting - the reason that the dead hear his voice." (Ibid. pp 30-32)

Having supported the biblical claim that the Son of God has eternally been Son, the Romans 1:2-3 text is seen to be correctly translated (e.g. YLT and other translations) as "marked out Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of sanctification, by the rising again from the dead,) Jesus Christ our Lord". He was never made Son by the resurrection, or even by the incarnation. It speaks of the everlasting relationship between Father and Son, in One Spirit.


A lot of people did not believe Jesus who He was, even after all the many miracles he did. It was not by raising others that convinced people but by His own resurrection out of the dead that made the final stamp of God's approval. This combination of the Son of God and the Son of man combined, dying together as one, out of that death springs a new creation. What emerges is the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power.

Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.” "You have said it yourself,” Jesus answered. “But I say to all of you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Powers. Mathew 26:63-64

A few highlights from Benson commentary.

Concerning his Son Jesus Christ — The gospel is good news from God, concerning the coming of his Son to save the world. The Son of God, therefore, is the subject of the gospel, as well as its author: who was made ...was of the seed of David according to the flesh — That is, with regard to his human nature. Both the natures of our Lord are here mentioned; but the human is mentioned first, because the divine was not manifested in its full evidence till after his resurrection.

And declared — Gr. του ορισθεντος, determinately marked out; the word signifies, to fix the boundaries of a thing, and consequently to make it appear what it is; to be the Son of God — In a peculiar sense, in a sense in which no creature, man or angel, is or can be his Son;

With power — Powerful evidence, or in the most convincing manner; by the resurrection from the dead — That is, by his own resurrection, not by his raising others.

God would not have raised him from the dead, if he had been an impostor; especially as he had often foretold his own resurrection, and appealed to it as a proof of his being the Son of God, John 2:19. His resurrection, therefore, was a public testimony, borne by God himself, to the truth of our Lord’s pretensions, which put the matter beyond all doubt.


You are probably expecting too much out of a single verse but look at the use of ὁρίζω in these verses.

For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” (Luke 22:22, ESV)

this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (Acts 2:23, ESV)

And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. (Acts 10:42, ESV)

Figure 1. The senses of ὁρίζω in the New Testament (generated with Logos Bible Software). enter image description here

Also, when it comes to the resurrection note that Jesus said:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,... (John 11:25, ESV)

He did not say, "I will be ..." This implies a statement with the continual eternal nature of the I am statement in Exodus 3:14


Excellent question? The first word at Acts 2:36 is "Therefore." Therefore is defined as, "for that reason, because of that, on that ground or to that end." The Apostle Peter declared that King David's prophecy (vs29-30) did not apply to him. David foretold one would sit on his throne and he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Peter further explains (vs34) it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: "The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand, vs35, Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet." Back at Matthew 22:42 Jesus ask the Jews the following question, "What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?"

They said to Him, "The Son of David." Jesus said to them (vs41), "Then how does David in the Spirit call Him Lord, saying, Vs44, "The Lord said to my Lord sit at My right hand, until I put Thine enemies beneath Thy feet?" Vs45, "If David then calls Him Lord, how is He his son?"

At vs46, "And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on ask Him another question." (Can anyone here answer the question?)

Therefore, or since this is true let all the house of Israel know for CERTAIN that God has MADE/declared Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified."

The interesting this about this is the fact that Jesus Christ was already declared the Savior who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11, "for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, WHO IS Christ the Lord." The resurrection validates it.

The Apostle Paul validates it at Romans 1:1-4, "Paul a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, vs2, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures. Vs3, concerning His Son who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, Vs4, WHO WAS DECLARED THE SON OF GOD WITH POWER BY THE RESURRECTION from the dead, according to the spirit of holiness JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD."


Yes, this verse shows that he was not appointed as the Son of God until the resurrection. All the language concerning the designation and appointing of Jesus as Christ, Lord and Son are temporal in nature. We should therefore understand them as such, and not assume that the Logos was always a Son, Christ in nature. It should mean both declaration and ordination as the Son. Obviously, the Sonship is not eternal, as these references about the divine declaration points to the Baptismal declaration and the Psalm 2 quote which refers to the contingent sonship: today I have begotten you.

ὁρίζω, to ordain, determine, appoint

Acts 10:42 (ESV) And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ὁρίζω appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.

Acts 2:33 Being therefore exalted at the δεξιός right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

Thayer: δεξιός .. to occupy the places of honor nearest the king, Mat 20:21; Mat 20:23; Mar 10:37; Mar 10:40; (לִימִין פְּ יָשַׁב, 1Ki 2:19; Psa 44:10 (Psa 45:10)). Hence, after Psa 109:1 (Psa 110:1) as applied to the Messiah (Mat 22:44; Mar 12:36; Luk 20:42), Christ is said to have ascended καθῆσθαι or καθίσαι ἐκ δεξιῶν (at or on the right hand) of God, Mat 26:64 ; Mar 14:62; Mar 16:19; Luk 22:69; Act 2:34; Heb 1:13; εἶναι or καθίσαι ἐν δεξιά τοῦ Θεοῦ, Rom 8:34; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3; Heb 8:1; Heb 10:12; Heb 12:2 -- to indicate that he has become a partner in God's universal government

Christ's Sonship by nature is for the heirship of the Father. Unlike mankind being children by virtue of God's love, Christ is the heir and representative of God. Horizo is in the same sense as tithemi, to place.

Heb 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he τίθημι appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Notice the words: appointed ἔθηκε, Heb 1:2; became γενόμενος, Rom 1:3, Heb 6:20; Col 1:18; made ἐποίησεν, Act 2:36; granted ἐχαρίσατο, Php 2:9.

Acts 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Theologians interpret horizo or similar words as the proof of his Sonship rather than real appointment and designation. Henry Alford comments,

the text speaks, not of the fact of Christ’s being the Son of God barely, but of the proof of that fact by His Resurrection. Chrysostom has given the right meaning: τί οὖν ἔστιν ὁρισθέντος; τοῦ δειχθέντος, ἀποφανθέντος, κριθέντος, ὁμολογηθέντος παρὰ τῆς ἁπάντων γνώμης καὶ ψήφου.… Hom. ii. p. 432. That an example is wanting of this exact use of the word, is, as Olsh. has shewn, no objection to such use; the ὁρίζειν here spoken of is not the objective ‘fixing,’ ‘appointing’ of Christ to be the Son of God, but the subjective manifestation in men’s minds that He is so. Thus the objective words ποιεῖν (Act 2:36), γεννᾷν (Act 13:33) are used of the same proof or manifestation of Christ’s Sonship by His Resurrection. So again ἐδικαιώθη, 1Ti 3:16.

However, Paul could have simply used the words: proof and testimony instead of those words if he wanted to write that the designation of Jesus as Son and Christ is merely a proof, and not the formal coronation in the dispensation or office in the full glorious sense. The Corinthians 15 passage is the best reference for the divine office is contingent and formal, rather than real ontological. In the end when Christ ends his Lordship and return everything to the Father, then the office of Sonship too will be dissolved, since there won't be any need, reference & purpose for the Sonship. The Roman Church which holds to the eternal and ontological begotten doctrine (where one god ontologically emanates and begets another) would obviously disagree.

[1Cor 15:24-28 ESV] Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

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    How does the Son being in subjection to God equal the dissolution of Sonship when all things being in subjection to the Son does not equal the dissolution of all things? Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 12:07
  • @MikeBorden he will deliver the kingdom to God when he will have abolished (dissolved) all rule and all authority and power. The reason for dissolution of the powers and the world is because of end of the world; He will not reign after he has destroyed his enemies, bec theres no need for it. He will not have the need to be Lord, and Son which are merely temporal offices.
    – Michael16
    Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 12:14
  • Are you suggesting that the Trinity goes away or reunifies or something? Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 12:38
  • Yes, Trinity if it is merely economical roles it could also dissolve, however my focus was more about the office of Sonship. Sonship exists only as long as the purpose of judging the workers in the vineyard, as the heir of the Father God. I don't believe God is necessarily triune or multipersonal by nature. The Catholics and most Protestants believe God is divided into three by begetting a son and spirit. christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/84444/…
    – Michael16
    Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 13:00
  • And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. - John 8:35 If the Son abideth forever how then does the office of Sonship pass away? Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 13:18

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