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I thought Jesus, like the Father, exists in all eternity, even if we know Him as his earthly manifestation as the one who was sinless and rose again from the dead. How is he then "begotten" which implies "created". My understanding until now is that Jesus is "uncreated" but chose to take on a fleshly form for the reasons previously stated. T

Many thanks in advance for any/all responses/clarifications.

Kind regards, Philip

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    Does this answer your question? Isaac and Jesus described with monogenēs
    – Dottard
    Sep 5, 2023 at 8:07
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    – Dottard
    Sep 5, 2023 at 8:08
  • There is a textual variant which is now accepted by the modern versions "only God", not "only son", the early Christians seems to be hesitant in the explicit deity references of Christ (also see the Jude verse where Jesus saved the Israelites). So the translation should be only God. The term "begotten" has been refuted and outdated, there have been many topics on its translation on this site hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/9140/16757
    – Michael16
    Sep 5, 2023 at 8:49
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    Begotten does not mean, or imply, "created". These words have entirely different meanings. In Ezekiel 28:15 we read that the being who rebelled and came to be called Satan was "perfect in all your ways from the day you were created (by God)". Satan was created, not begotten, and nowhere in the Bible is he ever described as begotten.
    – moron
    Sep 6, 2023 at 9:03
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    Jesus did not take on a fleshly form - the 'logos' took on flesh - which became Jesus. when born through Mary. Any other ideas, as the one you suggest, are not based on careful exegesis.
    – Steve
    Sep 7, 2023 at 12:09

4 Answers 4

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I have covered this subject extensively in my book 'The Only Begotten Son of God' and I supply this extract in particular for this question.

The whole booklet is available free of charge on my website.


It is commonly reckoned that the -genes suffix of monogenes comes from genos, rather than gennao, to beget. The Bagster's Analytical Greek Lexicon (1870) states that it is so.

My 1,700 page Special Edition of the 1854 American Edition of Liddell & Scott states that monogenes is derived from monos and genw, which they state was an obsolete fragment from which had come geinomai and gignomai.

Thayer (1896) states that monogenes is derived from monos and genos.

Genos, as used in the Greek scriptures, the apostolic writings, occurs twenty one times, as listed by Robert Young in his Analytical Concordance, the meanings - as translated in the Authorised Version - being : diversity 1, generation 1, kind 5, kindred 3, nation 2, offspring 3, one's own countrymen 1, stock 2.

And in the dative form : born at 1, born in 1, of the country of. Some (and it is interesting to notice who that 'some' is) say that the compound word monogenes - due to its originating from genos - must mean 'single, of its kind only' or 'unique, in kind'.

It should be noted that those who prefer to render the word such as the above, also favour the grotesque and illogical intrusion of μονογενες θεος, monogenes Theos in John 1:18. Which owes its unwarrantable existence to the avid labours of Dr Hort. . But if one just examines the prefix -monos, for a moment, something becomes immediately obvious. . .Μονος, monos occurs 47 times (according to Young) as an adjective and 66 times as an adverb. Its meanings, as given by the Authorised Version translators, are : Adjective : alone 21, by one's self 2, only 24. Adverb : alone 3, but 1, only 62.

I ask just two questions :

Firstly, linguistically :- If monos means alone/only and if monogenes is supposed to mean 'single, unique, one of its kind' then what has happened to the suffix -genes ?

And, secondly, spiritually :-

If monogenes uios means 'the alone son' why does Jesus say :

'I and my Father are one', John 10:30 ?

They wish to rob the Deity of the intimacy of relationship - between Father and Son, in One Holy Spirit.

They strip the word monogenes of its suffix, -genes. And they seek to rip apart the Divine relationship of Father and Son.

And then they - grossly and crudely - patch their concoction back together again in the grotesque illogicality of monogenes Theos. I refer the reader back to Section I of this booklet, the section headed "scholars" - that the reader may consider the consequences of such ungodly ravaging of the word of God concerning his Son Jesus Christ, his beloved Son, the onlybegotten. ... What these "scholars", devoid of charity, empty of spirituality and void of all compassion, cannot perceive with their blind eyes is that monogenes is expressing . . .

a relationship, not a solitude.

This relationship is (as the three Luke passages show) 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.

And, as the careful, meticulous and reverential expressions of the Holy Spirit - through Luke, John and the writer to the Hebrews, the specially chosen and inspired authors of holy writ - is sought out in the nine references (surely a supremely significant number) by the trembling spirit of the sincere seeker after God, then so will be revealed to the inquiring heart, by that same Divine Spirit, the everlasting relationship between Father and Son, in One Spirit.

The singularity of the one born of woman is expressed, but in another way and in another context - in the word arrhen, a single man, a solitary man, and it is expressed by John in Revelation as arrhen uios, the solitary son, as a precursor to the later expressions of the bridegroom of the bride - the Lamb who, later, by the provision of redemption in righteousness, has a wife.

This is seen in υιον αρρενα, huion arrena, Revelation 12: 5, She brought forth a 'man-child', as the AV translates it, or 'a son male' as EGNT renders the words, expressing sonship and male status, but failing to properly categorise arrhen and its meaning which is different from both anthropos (man, humanity or mankind) and aner (an identified male individual).

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  • @NigellJ. Is there a verse that that shows the meaning of monogenes as a relationship of person? Sep 5, 2023 at 20:05
  • This analysis is based on outdated classical Greek and not Koine Greek. However, this is not the place for debate as we have been here before.
    – Dottard
    Sep 5, 2023 at 22:09
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    @Dottard Please see my question on SE-C regarding Denny Burke (Professor of Biblical Studies) and his thesis in regard to monogenes. Thank you.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 6, 2023 at 6:47
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    @AlexBalilo Doesn't common sense dictate that begotten dictates a relationship between Father and Son? Of course, if you reject begotten how can you see relationship. Sep 7, 2023 at 20:23
  • @MikeBorden. Granting that "common sense dictate that begotten dictates a relationship between Father and Son". What is your common sense definition of the word "begotten" as it is used in the Bible? Sep 7, 2023 at 22:05
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It should be an embarrassing and surprising fact for the Christians that the meaning of the Greek word used monogenes (only one, unique, only beloved) was turned or twisted into monogenetos (only begotten) by the mainstream Church of Pagans (Romans/Greeks/polytheists) sometime around the third century. Both words have different meanings, and I'm not sure if the early church writers used the Greek word monogenitus itself, but they did use its equivalent unigenitus in Latin. Jarome's Vulgate translation played a vital role in this change of official theology. In short, this fact is an open secret in Church theology that the Roman Church and even many Protestants today believe that Christ, the logos, was a temporally begotten (created) smaller god from the body(?) of God the Father like an asexual reproduction; and the Holy Spirit too at some point was created or begotten (they use another term for it), thus one god splits into three. This doctrine is essentially called Subordinationism, which was condemned as a heresy in one form, yet continued in the mainstream Church in another subtle form. Another additional point to note is that the traditional Trinity has been understood by many as a compound unity, a team of three gods. Many Christians outrightly reject the Hebrew and Greek words for "one" in order to redefine their polytheism by insisting on calling it monotheism. This basically means the Roman church and those who followed could not accept the trinitarian monotheism of the early apostolic Church.

This is a very sensitive issue for Christians, and such controversial topics challenging core dogmas are not commonly welcome, so we should be cautious due to its highly political nature. The fact that many Christians also believe in the Biblical Jewish monotheism but remain ignorant of these facts of traditional religious history which results in the paradox expressed in your question. The New or modern Bible versions have long corrected the traditional mistranslation of monogenes by removing "only-begotten" from those verses such as John 1:18, 3:16 etc., after discovering stronger linguistic proof, so we should not rely on the outdated Bibles on this.

According to one authority on New Testament Greek “monogenos is literally ‘one of a kind,’ ‘only,’ ‘unique’ (unicus), not ‘only-begotten,’ which would be monogennetos (unigenitus).”(J Moulton, G. Milligan, Vocabulary of the Greek Testament. pp. 416-417)

This conception of "begotten" must have started even in the first-century pagan or Gentile Churches of heresies. However, we can find the oldest evidence from Justin Martyr of the 2nd century. It seems the mainstream or ruling sect of Christians could never accept the eternal divine coequal nature of Christ, thus they had to turn him into a begotten, formed, temporal creation, like their pagan mythological gods. This is quite the same as the Arian belief that Christ was made. It doesn't make much difference with begotten, since begetting too is a form of bringing forth into existence, though not with the help of raw material as the organisms being created from dust. The only difference between Arius and others was that Arius argued that the Son was created ex nihilo, out of nothing, whereas the leading authorities argued he was created from the substance of the father, i.e. begotten like a creature is begotten with the same substance of the species.

Dialogue of Justin, Philosopher and Martyr, with Trypho — Justin Martyr

"I shall give you another testimony, my friends," said I, "from the Scriptures, that God begat before all creatures a Beginning, [2167] [who was] a certain rational power [proceeding] from Himself, who is called by the Holy Spirit, now the Glory of the Lord, now the Son, again Wisdom, again an Angel, then God, and then Lord and Logos; and on another occasion He calls Himself Captain, when He appeared in human form to Joshua the son of Nave (Nun). For He can be called by all those names, since He ministers to the Father's will, and since He was begotten of the Father by an act of will; [2168] just as we see [2169] happening among ourselves: for when we give out some word, we beget the word; yet not by abscission, so as to lessen the word [2170] [which remains] in us, when we give it out: and just as we see also happening in the case of a fire, which is not lessened when it has kindled [another], but remains the same; and that which has been kindled by it likewise appears to exist by itself, not diminishing that from which it was kindled. The Word of Wisdom, who is Himself this God begotten of the Father of all things, and Word, and Wisdom, and Power, and the Glory of the Begetter, will bear evidence to me, when He speaks by Solomon the following: If I shall declare to you what happens daily, I shall call to mind events from everlasting, and review them. The Lord made me the beginning of His ways for His works. From everlasting He established me in the beginning, before He had made the earth, and before He had made the deeps, before the springs of the waters had issued forth, before the mountains had been established. Before all the hills He begets me. God made the country, and the desert, and the highest inhabited places under the sky.

Not all Church fathers believed in the begotten doctrine. Ignatius wrote in A.D. 110 that Jesus was gennetos kai agennetos meaning “begotten and not begotten.” (Revised Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Greek Lexicon p. 156) Ignatius meant that in reference to the incarnation Jesus was “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4) or “begotten” but in reference to his eternal status he was “not begotten.” It is clear that Ignatius believed according to the Gospels that Christ was begotten only in his flesh, in the incarnation, he was not-begotten in his deity.

It seems some Christian leaders were using begotten for the Son, as the begotten God to contrast him with the unbegotten Father. Only the Father God of unbegotten, uncaused cause. According to the early Christians, Christ was begotten (created or made into existence) before the creation of the world, like a fire is kindled. It seems they could never accept the eternal self-existence of Christ or the co-equality in the Trinity, and the divine indivisibility or aseity, hence the Arian and subordination beliefs persist even to this day among all the Christian sects.

Pagan influential leaders were converting to the Church and were made Bishops and architectures of the official Creeds of the Church, like Augustin and Hilary of Poitiers in the fourth century. Hilary of Poitiers (ca. 315-367 CE) in his De Trinitate, also uses the term unigenitus for Christ.

The scripture reference of monogenes was changed by Jerome officially into begotten, in his new Vulgate translation. The Vetus Latina, Old Vulgate translation contained unicus (only) not unigenitus, which Jerome used in the 4th century.

KJV alternate rendering of the Greek monogenes ( John 1:14 ,John 1:14,1:18; John 3:16 ,John 3:16,3:18; Hebrews 11:17; 1 John 4:9 ). Elsewhere the KJV rendered the term “only” (Luke 7:12; Luke 8:42; Luke 9:38 ). The phrase “only begotten” derives directly from Jerome (340?-420 A.D.) who replaced unicus (only), the reading of the Old Latin, with unigenitus (only begotten) as he translated the Latin Vulgate. Jerome's concern was to refute the Arian doctrine that claimed the Son was not begotten but made. This led Jerome to impose the terminology of the Nicene creed (325 A.D.) onto the New Testament.
(Holeman Bible dictionary, 1991)

When we have to do with living beings—men or animals—the meaning ‘born,’ ‘begotten’ is, of course, congruous, but there is no emphasis whatever attached to this side. When Christ is designated μονογενὴς υἱός, the emphasis is laid not on the fact that He as Son was ‘born’ or ‘begotten’ (in contrast to being ‘created’ or ‘made’), but that He is the ‘only’ Son, that as Son of God He has no equal. The Latin translators were quite right when originally they rendered the expression υἱὸς μονογενής simply by filius unicus, not by filius unigenitus. It was the dogmatic disputes as to the inner essential relations between Christ and God, especially those raised by Arius, which first gave occasion for emphasizing the point that Christ as the Son of God was a ‘begotten’ Son, i.e. that He did not form part of the creation. After that it became a general custom to render μονογενής by unigenitus, ‘only begotten.’ In the original form of the so-called ‘Apostolic Symbol’—the ‘Old Roman Symbol’—we read: καὶ εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν; and in the Latin text, which in all probability belongs to the same date (i.e. in any case some time in the 2nd cent.): ‘et in Christum Jesum filium eius unicum dominum nostrum.’
(Ferdinand Kattenbusch, Hastings, James. Entry for 'Only Begotten'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament)

Fortunately, they did not pervert the Greek since their official language was Latin, however, it is a well-known fact that various textual corruption in Greek manuscripts are caused by scribal tendency to conform to the Vulgate translation, and until the Revised Version or the critical era of the Bible, the English translations had the same tendency to conform the Latin translation, thus such corrections took so long to take place.

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    The problem with defining monogenes as "unique" or "one of a kind" is that it doesn't really explain anything. Every son of every father is unique, and is one of a kind. You could also say that every individual is unique and one of a kind. It's an attempt to take something meaningful and strip it of all meaning, so you can assign to it your own meaning. Calling Jesus the one and only or unique son of God is utterly meaningless and pointless.
    – moron
    Sep 6, 2023 at 9:15
  • So who are we to say that God could not have temporally brought His son into being by some form of asexual reproduction? Why would you be so sure about that? Were you there?
    – moron
    Sep 6, 2023 at 9:26
  • @moron you are conflating two different usage of "unique", unique means "only", and it's diff from the unique individual which pertains to quality and character. The context of unique son means only son, it's not about speciality and character of individual. The Latin version rightly translated (monogenes son )only son with unicus in Luke 7:12, 9:38 but in other reference they have twisted it deliberately. Unique means only in its original form, not the individual speciality. The reason I condemn the physical begetting bec it's pagan bestiality that turns God into a beast. I condemn paganism.
    – Michael16
    Sep 6, 2023 at 9:34
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In Acts 13:31-38, Paul addressed the Jewish officials in the synagogue of Antioch of Pisidia. Here, Paul demonstrated that Jesus is the divinely appointed King who is David's heir to the throne. Paul confirmed the fact that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead fulfilled the words of Psalms 2:7, “Today I have begotten you.” So, “today,” according to Paul's inspired interpretation, refers not to Jesus' eternal sonship as Origen suggested, nor to his incarnation as suggested by Pink. Paul explains that “today” refers to Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Notice what Paul says,

“God has fulfilled this...in that (This stresses the mode of fulfillment) he raised him from the dead as it also says in the second Psalm ‘Today, I have begotten you.’” [bold mine]

Since Paul confirms the resurrection as the “today” referred to by the psalmist, this renders mute all other arguments, interpretations, explanations, and speculations. Scripture has spoken.

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  • The question is "How is he then "begotten" which implies "created". ". Sep 7, 2023 at 19:07
  • Paul is quite clear on the matter. He is begotten because he was "raised from the dead." Paul offers the inspired explanation of the use of the term. That should be the end of it.
    – oldhermit
    Sep 7, 2023 at 19:50
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    Jesus was called monogenes before the resurrection from the dead. John 1:18 and John 3:16. Yes, he is also the first begotten from the dead. But he was already 'Monogenes'. (And 'Prototokos'.)
    – Nigel J
    Sep 7, 2023 at 20:26
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    The word in verse 33, translated as begotten, allows for a figurative meaning of regenerated and the word in Psalm 2:7 carries a meaning of 'showing forth lineage'. And so, Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead. Romans 1:4 Sep 7, 2023 at 20:52
  • @oldhermit. Jesus being raised from the the dead was caused by his God. That means Jesus' begetting was caused by his Father/God., correct? Sep 7, 2023 at 22:09
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If the application of the word "begotten" has a meaning similar to its ordinary use and the meaning it conveys, then the word begotten imports a derivation of being.

From John 1:18, we can infer that Jesus' mission is not to be God Almighty but to demonstrate God. If the word begotten "genmao" means beget, bring forth, become the father of, then Jesus' own statement in John 6:57 shows us that his life was caused by his Father and God. Thus, when Jesus was begotten, he was caused to exist by the Father.

John 6:57 ASV

As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he that eateth me, he also shall live because of me.

Jesus' begetting occurred in time, not outside of time. A father is not the same age as his son.

Hebrews 1:5 says, "today I have begotten thee"... Today does not mean eternity. It is a moment in time. The God of Jesus is not begotten and is not dependent on any source, However, Jesus admitted his own life's dependence on the Father, John 5:26.

Hebrews 1:5 ASV

For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, This day have I begotten thee? and again, I will be to him a Father, And he shall be to me a Son?

John 5:26 ASV

For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the Son also to have life in himself:

What about "eternally begotten" does that mean Jesus is eternally coming into being?

To become something means that there was a time when this was not so. How can we believe that Jesus was begotten and eternally exists at the same time? This is self-contradictory. Assenting to a "beginningless beginning" may be possible if one renounces the use of comprehension and riding oneself from his/her inherent qualities to weigh evidence.

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  • "How can we we believe that Jesus was begotten and eternally exists at the same time?" - the way that's typically explained is by a mysterious thing called "eternal generation". I'm not saying I believe that...because I don't - just pointing that out. Sep 5, 2023 at 14:04
  • @Aleph-Gimel.. Eternal generation is self contradictory. It is like saying that Jesus was eternally coming into being or Jesus had a beginningless beginning. .What about you, what do you mean by what you point out as eternal generation? Sep 5, 2023 at 19:46
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    I completely agree with you, it's like talking about an "uneternal eternality". I'm simply saying that the standard trinitarian answer to your question, "How can we we believe that Jesus was begotten and eternally exists at the same time?", would be: eternal generation. Which, if course, is a term not found in scripture...very much like "hypostatic union". Sep 5, 2023 at 22:43
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    Eternal generation is simply a fancy way of saying "We don't know if Jesus has existed eternally, or if he was literally begotten (brought into being but not created) at a specific juncture. We just don't know".
    – moron
    Sep 6, 2023 at 9:21

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