How many 'Sons' does God have?
Many people tell us "but the Bible clearly says that Jesus is the Son of God. How can you say that Jesus is not God's only begotten son when Jesus says it so clearly in black and white in the Bible?" Well, first of all, as seen in the previous section, we first need to know the language of his people, the language of the Jews to whom he was speaking. Let us see how they understood this proclamation.
Let us begin by asking: How many sons does the Bible tell us that God Almighty has?
- Jacob is God's son and firstborn: "Israel is my son, even my firstborn" Exodus 4:22.
- Solomon is God's son "He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son": 2 Samuel 7:13-14.
- Ephraim is God's firstborn: "for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn" Jeremiah 31:9 (who is God's firstborn? Israel or Ephraim?).
- Adam is the son of God "Adam, which was the son of God" Luke 3:38.
- Common people (you and me) are the sons of God:
- "Ye are the children of the LORD your God" Deuteronomy 14:1.
- "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" Romans 8:14.
- "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name" John 1:12.
- "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;" Philippians 2:15.
- "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: ... now are we the sons of God" 1 John 3:1-2.
- "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" Job 38:7.
- "Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD," Job 2:1.
- "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD," Job 1:6.
- "when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men," Genesis 6:4.
- "That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they [were] fair" Genesis 6:2
As we can see, the use of the term "son of God" when describing normal human beings was not at all an uncommon practice among Jesus' people.
Well then, was Jesus the only begotten son of God?
Read Psalms 2:7 : "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me (King David, King), Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee"
Indeed, the Jews are even referred to as much more than this in the Bible, and this is indeed the very trait which Jesus (pbuh) held against them. When the Jews picked up stones to stone Jesus (pbuh) he defended himself with the following words
"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, 'I said, Ye are gods?' If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken..." John 10:34:
(he was referring to Psalms 82:6 "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High..") As we can see from these and many other verses like them, "son of God" in the language of the Jews was a very innocent term used to describe a loyal servant of God. Whether the translators and editors chose to write it as "Son of God" (with a capital S) in reference to Jesus and "son of God" (with a small S) in reference to everyone else does not diminish the fact that in the original language, both cases are exactly the same. Are we beginning to see what drove the most learned men of the Anglican Church to recognize the truth? But let us move on.
Grolier's encyclopedia, under the heading "Jesus Christ," says:
"During his earthly life Jesus was addressed as rabbi and was regarded as a prophet. Some of his words, too, place him in the category of sage. A title of respect for a rabbi would be "my Lord." Already before Easter his followers, impressed by his authority, would mean something more than usual when they addressed him as "my Lord.".... it is unlikely that the title "Son of David" was ascribed to him or accepted by him during his earthly ministry. "Son of God," in former times a title of the Hebrew kings (Psalms 2:7), was first adopted in the post-Easter church as an equivalent of Messiah and had no metaphysical connotations (Romans 1:4). Jesus was conscious of a unique filial relationship with God, but it is uncertain whether the Father/Son language (Mark 18:32; Matt. 11:25-27 par.; John passim) goes back to Jesus himself" .
There seems to be only two places in the Bible where Jesus (pbuh) refers to himself as "son of God." They are in John chapters 5 and 11. Hastings in "The dictionary of the Bible" says: "Whether Jesus used it of himself is doubtful." Regardless, we have already seen what is meant by this innocent title. However, Jesus is referred to as the "son of Man" (literally: "Human being") 81 times in the books of the Bible. In the Gospel of Barnabas, we are told that Jesus (pbuh) knew that mankind would make him a god after his departure and severely cautioned his followers from having anything to do with such people.
Jesus was not the son of a human man (according to both the Bible and the Qur'an). However, we find him constantly saying "I am the son of man." Why?. It was because in the language of the Jews, that is how you say "I am a human being."
What was he trying to tell us by constantly repeating and emphasizing to us throughout the New Testament "I am a human being," "I am a human being," "I am a human being"?. What had he foreseen? Think about it!.
Do Christians emphasize this aspect of Jesus? The New Testament Greek word translated as "son" are "pias" and "paida" which mean "servant," or "son in the sense of servant." These are translated to "son" in reference to Jesus and "servant" in reference to all others in some translations of the Bible (see below). As we are beginning to see, one of the most fundamental reasons why Jesus (pbuh) is considered God is due to extensive mistranslation. We shall see more and more examples of this throughout this book.
Islam teaches that Jesus (pbuh) was a human being, not a God. Jesus (peace be upon him) continually emphasized this to his followers throughout his mission. The Gospel of Barnabas also affirms this fact. Once again, Grolier's encyclopedia says:
"...Most problematical of all is the title "Son of Man." This is the only title used repeatedly by Jesus as a self-designation, and there is no clear evidence that it was used as a title of majesty by the post-Easter church. Hence it is held by many to be authentic, since it passes the criterion of dissimilarity."
Written by : Misha'al ibn Abdullah, 'What Did Jesus Really Say?'