The Begotten Son
John R Gavazzoni
Thousand Oaks, CA
The following is a response to a reader and friend who is having trouble with the truth that Christ is the Son of God from eternity. He felt that to accept Christ as eternally begotten of the Father would violate the oneness of God and instead of writing a formal follow-up to my message on "The Eternal Son(s)," which I had planned to do, it occurred to me that this brief attempt at explanation might be, in itself, a continuation of the Eternal Son(s) article and be helpful to others who are struggling to make sense of conventional explanations of the Godhead.
The family essence of Deity is beginning to be made clear to God's seeking ones and introduces a sublime dimension to the truth that God is love. May the Lord increasingly open our hearts to understand the full implications of His Fatherhood.Here is a portion of his letter:
"John, I agree with you on your thoughts on Eternity. Yes, Eternity is. The ages had a beginning. In Hebrews 1:1 it says "Through whom he made the worlds" the word "worlds" is actually "ages" in the Greek. So we can know that the ages were made, therefore they had a beginning. I have written to you before on this subject of "The Only Begotten Son." My question is this: "We know that Jesus is Human from Mary. So whose Spirit went into the Virgin Mary?" Was it God Himself or God the Son or God the Holy Spirit? The Bible just says "The Power of the Highest" and "Therefore that Holy thing will be called the Son of God" Notice that the terms "God the Son" and "God the Holy Spirit" are not in the Bible. Henry Jones" (not his real name).+++++++++++++++++
It's good to hear from you again and to hear that the Lord is renewing your search for the truth regarding the Being, Nature and Personhood of our wonderful God and Savior. I think I see a point at which our thoughts may have a common bridge. Jesus of Nazareth, most certainly, was fully human and in His humanity, He was God manifested in the flesh and as the Word He was God. John describes Him as the Word which was with God and was God (Jn. 1:1).
So here we have a sublime complexity within the unity of God. This Word, who was both with God and at the same time was God, was the One who became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that it was by His human birth that Christ became the Son of God. I am saying that it is impossible for Him to be the Son of the Eternal Father without His sonship being essentially eternal and that sonship became manifested in flesh by His human birth.
It may be that you are having trouble with the idea of spiritual reproduction and think that reproduction necessarily requires a fleshly existence. But "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (Jn. 3:6). Allow me to challenge you with this thought: Is God Himself Father in and from eternity or did He only become Father at Jesus' birth in time?
If you conclude that God has always been Father, then you must also conclude that He always had a Son. There is not the same distinction in the eternal relationship of Father and Son as there is in the relationship of fathers and sons in the earthly dimension because of the obvious autonomy of two different bodies.
In the relationship of Father, who is Spirit in and from eternity, when He reproduced Himself in eternity in conjugal union with His own Motherhood, what came forth was pure Spirit-Child and so the traditional idea of separate Persons does not apply in this realm. Thus, you can accept the Son as eternal without sacrificing the oneness of God. "They" are One Spirit, One Spirit Family.
As in the world of science, there is the need for periodic paradigm shifts in our theology. We need to quit looking at this truth of the eternal Son through the limiting concept of trinitarian teaching about three persons in the Godhead and take a completely fresh look at the oneness of God that is not a simplistic oneness, but a familial oneness of eternal love-relationship and not project into that relationship the autonomy of our fleshly existence.
When Jesus said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (Jn. 14:9), it is clear that He, both makes a distinction and at the same time affirms the unity of their Being. I cannot tell you how powerfully God has impressed upon my spirit and mind that His very Being is relational, within Himself, and that in our "so great salvation" (Heb. 2:3), He ushers us, by grace, into that internal and eternal relationship. He is one, BUT HE IS NOT ALONE. HE IS FAMILY AND HAS BROUGHT US INTO THE FAMILY THAT HE IS THROUGH HIS SEED, THE ETERNAL SON.
I Hope that I don't sound as though I have all the answers, but I would like you to read a five part series that I wrote some time ago that goes into this question more deeply than is usually found in dialogues about the so-called "trinity." In it, I do not merely react to traditional trinitarian teaching because mere reaction usually produces more error, but I try to show the inadequacy of the concept and then show that the essential relationship in the Godhead is Family.
In this approach I believe I have been modestly successful in showing the oneness/unity/union of God without sacrificing the complexity and plurality that is unavoidable when studying the subject. The 5-part series is titled, The Coming of the Lordthough you would not normally expect to find what we're talking about under that heading. If for any reason you can't get into the site just let me know and I'll "snail-mail" you copies of all five installments, all of which are linked together on the web.
Here's one more comment on your questions. Yes, our Lord did take on our humanity and become truly human through the instrumentality of Mary so that He is the perfect union of Deity and Humanity in His Person. Though the early, post-apostolic Fathers instigated some subtle departures from the faith of the apostles, nevertheless they were wonderfully clear on that point, i.e., that it is God's eternal purpose to bring us into union with Himself and according to the essential principle of the new covenant, He unilaterally, accomplished that in Himself by becoming a man in Jesus of Nazareth, our Lord and Savior.
That union, accomplished in Christ, accrues to us since we are "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ" (Rom. 8:17). Nothing more sums up the marvel and extent of His grace toward us than that statement. All that He is and has we share in Him by grace. As to your question about whose Spirit went into Mary to bring about the human birth of Christ, let me point out the importance of the truth of the "Seed" in Pauline teaching.Paul was given great insight into this mystery and much of his Spirit-inspired thought revolves around Christ as the Seed (Sperm) of God. When He wrote about the Abrahamic Covenant preceding and preempting the Mosaic Covenant he says, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ" (Gal. 3:16, KJV). Paul understands that God is Father and as such He is reproductive by nature and He essentially only has one Seed, His eternal Son, in whom we have our sonship.
It is by that Seed that He begets us as sons. Now, of course, the begetting of the eternal Son necessitates a Female Egg for the Seed (Sperm) of the Father to impregnate and that gets us into the Mother dimension of the being of God that paganism and Romanism have terribly distorted
Of the many names that God uses to describe Himself in covenant relationship with His people, one name emphasizes what I have called His gender completeness. It is probably best translated as "El Shaddai," the Mighty, or Many-Breasted One and conveys the idea of the nurture and provision that a child gets at the breast of its mother. When God "makes love" and I say that with the utmost sense of awe, the Holy Spirit is the communion whereby the impregnation occurs and I am not saying that the Holy Spirit is merely a reproductive force.
Since God is Pure Being; Pure Relational Being, that which flows within the God-Family is Pure Being, not just someTHING. He/She, the Spirit, is God in conjugal communion within Him/Her Self. This is the meaning behind the scripture that speaks of "The Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth is named" (Eph. 3:15). God names (natures) every family by that which He is, Family.
Trinitarian teaching, though far superior to pagan ideas of God, tends to portray God as three separate persons though they valiantly try to avoid that. Whereas in scripture we find God portrayed as the Family-Being, who Karl Barth called our "Primal Origin" and Paul Tillich called the "Ground of Being." He is not a being among beings, He is Being itself and the source of all being. Our Lord Jesus was eternally conceived and birthed by the love and loving intercourse within God Him/Her Self and that same Seed is the source of our being sons of God.
Our origin and destiny have to do with loving communion. To repeat myself, we have trouble conceiving of the Son's eternality because we think in terms of time, as if there had to be a point in time when Christ was birthed. He was birthed in that day which is the Day of the Lord and that Day always is and continually breaks into the space-time continuum. In the fulness of the time, that Day penetrated the veil between time and eternity and Christ was born of a woman but that was not the beginning of His Being.
That was the point at which the eternal reality was manifest in the flesh in a material world. Christ is the eternal Son of the One who is Being, Himself.++++++++++++++++++++++
Because we were chosen in him from before the foundation of the world, we are also "eternal sons of our Father" (Eph. 1:4). At this point, I want to include a quote from my dear friend, Lenny Antonsson, who clearly was connected with me in Spirit on this topic. He speaks of things that came to me, but which never manifested in words. Here is what he has to add to this discussion:
"As I had opportunity to read John's article, "The Begotten Son," before it was posted, God revealed to me clearly, that just like in Hebrews where Abraham is giving tithes to Melchisedec (Heb. 7:1-2), the whole tribe of Israel was in his loins and the whole tribe of Israel gave tithes to Melchisedec (Heb. 7:9-10). So also, when Christ went to the cross, our seed was in Him (Eph. 1:4); "by His stripes we were healed" (Isa. 53:5; I Pet. 2:24). We took those stripes; we took the nails when He was nailed to the cross; we took the piercing when He was pierced in the side.
"Just like Adam, whose side was opened up to bring forth the female part of Adam (Gen. 2:21-23), so Christ's side was pierced (Jn. 19:34), to bring forth the spiritual female part of Christ, the bride, which we are (Jn. 3:29; Rev. 21:2,9). When He rose again, we rose again with Him (Eph. 2:6). Paul is speaking of this in Gal. 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ, yet I live, but it is not me living but Christ living in me " and so on.
"When I was reading what John wrote, I saw that when the Lord became the Son, we became the Son in Him at the same time, in the eternal. We have traveled the same path as the Lord has, because we have been in Him from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), in exactly the same way that the Levites' seed was in Abraham when he paid tithes to Melchisedec.
"When Christ rose again, He arose both male and female. In the Old Testament, the female was pushed aside, and likewise, the modern Christian church has pushed the female aside in the same way. Even as Eve was in Adam, so we were in Christ; even as Adam carried the female within himself for a while, until He was put to sleep and there was a separation, so Christ carried us in Him for a while until He was put to sleep and there was a separation.
"Then, we come full circle to the beginning when the bride comes forth from Christ and is joined to Him in Spirit so that in the New Creation, "there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28). End Quote.+++++++++++++++++++++
In addition to the 5-part series that I've recommended, I've just added another article on this subject entitled "The Eternal Son(s)," that you might want to read. From there you can also go to the Greater Emmanuel International site which posts that article and some others. Brother Alan McSavage, who manages that site, has graciously given me the opportunity to write a monthly article for them and regularly contributes messages along with others that I believe would be very profitable to you.
Please keep in touch and the Lord bless you as you seek, not merely a correct theology about Him, but to know Him in the intimate communion of Father and Son. I do sincerely applaud you for your desire to affirm that God is One God. But I do expect that you will come to a more mature understanding of the complexity of His Oneness. I am most willing to plow this field with you as we seek to "know Him as He is" (I Jn. 3:2).
Stay tuned for future serious, seminal samplings.
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John R Gavazzoni
758 N. Woodlawn Dr.,
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360.