Daily Plumer – Hebrews 1:2, 5 – What Does it Mean to Say that Christ is the Son of God?

“When we say that Christ is the Son of God, as is claimed in vs. 2, 5, we mean much more than that he is the Son of God in the same sense that converted men are sons of God. Those, who from among men are raised to that privilege, become sons of God only by regeneration and adoption; but Jesus Christ is God’s Son by nature and generation. He is begotten of the Father; yea, he is the only begotten Son of God. Therefore God cannot have other sons, that are such in the sense in which Christ is a Son; else Christ would not be the only-begotten. Owen: ‘Either to exalt believers into the same kind of sonship with Christ, or to depress him into the same rank with them, is wholly inconsistent with the analogy of faith, and the principles of the Gospel.’

He is so the Son of God, that he has the same being, essence and nature with his Father. He is not the same person as the Father, for the Father communicates his being and nature to him; but ‘this personal distinction always supposes one and the same nature. Every son of man is man.’ The only begotten Son of God is God. No sound thinker will deny that the filiation of Christ is ineffable. But the scripture clearly asserts that ‘he is before all things,’ Col. 1:17, therefore his sonship is eternal.

In the Athanasian Creed definition and exactitude are carried to the highest perfection. The Son of God, though he is not the Father nor the Spirit, is yet very God. Tait: ‘To be begotten implies unity of substance. For the begotten of the human is human, and the begotten of the Divine is Divine…Let us take all the host of heaven from the Archangel Gabriel, down to the lowest of those shining ones who do the Almighty’s bidding, and wait to fulfil his word. Let us then visit the worlds that roll in space. Let us next descend upon the earth, and take the great and good of all generations of mankind – the sages, the legislators in whom nations have gloried, and for the honor of whose birthplace cities have disputed. And having thus gathered from universal nature all that is good, excellent and glorious, let us place them before the Lord on the one hand, and Christ alone on the other. These, says the Eternal, point to the illustrious company which we have gathered before him,– these I made, and having made, I could annihilate. And were they now annihilated, millions of creatures as excellent would spring into being at the word of my mouth. But of the Son he says, Him I made not; he is my begotten, of one substance with myself, a sharer of my divinity, eternity and glory. Cease then your impious comparisons: to compare the creatures to him is to compare them to me.’

Nor is any of this language stronger than that which we find in many scriptures. Take a few specimens: ‘Whatsoever things the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise;’ ‘As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;’ ‘Before Abraham was, I am.’ John 5:19, 26; 8:58. Indeed John opes his Gospel with this language: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’

(These hopefully daily remarks come from William Swan Plumer’s 1872 commentary on the epistle to the Hebrews.)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: