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Author Topic: Begotten not made  (Read 1901 times) Average Rating: 0
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Father Peter
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« on: September 21, 2003, 01:47:54 PM »

Hi

I've been having some communication with a thoughtful older UK SDA man. He is concerned that the SDA is teaching that Christ is not begotten - in the Christian theological sense - but is merely 'unique' - in what seems an Arian sense.

<explanation>
Begotten is a theological term, found first in the New Testament and then used by even the earliest Fathers such as Ignatius to describe the distinction between God the Father and God the Son. The Father is unbegotten, he has no origin, but the Son is begotten of the Father, not meaning that he is created but that the Father is the eternal source of His being. Arius taught that the Son was a created being and would therefore have agreed with a stream of Seventh Day Adventist thought that also teaches that the Son is created.
</explanation>

We have been looking at some of the early Church fathers who use the term 'begotten' of the Son. This is because the man I am communicating with is being told that the term Begotten did not gain it's later mainstream Christian meaning until after Nicaea, and what is described as a corruption of the faith.

OK. The questions I am trying to answer at present are:

i. Did Ignatius, Justin Martyr and Origen write in Greek as their Mother Tongue.

ii. Did their texts use the term 'monogenes' for the passages translated as 'begotten'.

iii. Anyone have an online or searchable Greek text for the fathers named above?

The man I am communicating with is aware that if Christ is not begotten then he is not God and the Trinity is a false doctrine. He knows it's important. But he wants some documentary evidence that what I've been telling him (that begotten is used consistently and early in the theological sense) is true.

Hope someone has some pointers

Peter Theodore
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Anastasios
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2003, 01:56:52 PM »

I can't help your immediate problem but I would suggest you suggest to him Fr John Behr's Way to Nicaea book as it really gets into all of this, the scriptural Christ, the rule of faith, several individual fathers, etc.

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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2003, 05:22:47 AM »

Linus made a really good point on another forum (TBBTSNBN) so I hope he doesn't mind if I quote him from there.
Quote
Jesus is the Son of God.

But no one, not even God, creates a son.

Sons are begotten, not made.

Fathers have sons who are beings like them, not lesser beings of their manufacture.

Human fathers are limited in their begetting by linear time.

God and His Son are beyond linear time.
God is eternal.

For Him to have a Son, that Son MUST be eternal like Him. Hence the begetting of the eternal Word of God, Jesus Christ, must be in the very nature of the Father.

Just as you cannot have the sun without its rays, you cannot have the Father without the Son.

Forgive me Linus, but you say it much better than I can.

unworthy John
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2003, 07:12:28 AM »

Linus made a really good point on another forum (TBBTSNBN) so I hope he doesn't mind if I quote him from there.
Quote
Jesus is the Son of God.

But no one, not even God, creates a son.

Sons are begotten, not made.

Fathers have sons who are beings like them, not lesser beings of their manufacture.

Human fathers are limited in their begetting by linear time.

God and His Son are beyond linear time.
God is eternal.

For Him to have a Son, that Son MUST be eternal like Him. Hence the begetting of the eternal Word of God, Jesus Christ, must be in the very nature of the Father.

Just as you cannot have the sun without its rays, you cannot have the Father without the Son.


This is a brilliant explanation, except for one passage, which I've bolded. Saying that things "must" be a certain way is dangerous; I hink it is far more important to say that there is lots of testimony in the scriptures that the Son is eternal and of the same nature as the Father. Oher than that this is one of the best, most concise explanations of this that I've seen.
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2003, 07:58:06 AM »

That was just one post out of the middle of a long thread. Linus had also given a large number of parallel verses where Jesus (the Son) is described as having the same attributes as God the Father.

I too was very impressed which is why I posted it here. I hope Linus will forgive me.

unworthy John.
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2003, 12:10:41 PM »

Wow! Thanks, guys!

Keble -

John is right. What he posted was part of a series of several posts that probably included more Scripture than anything else.

However, I still think that for God to have a son (a real son, not one in name alone), that Son must be a being like His Father - eternal.

This thread puzzles me, because I was not aware that Seventh Day Adventists have a problem with the deity of Christ. I knew they were, IMHO, a bit strange, but I did not know they were that far off the mark.
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2003, 01:33:26 PM »

I had thought that they were fairly evangelical nowadays but through discussion with the man I mentioned and reading some of their websites it seems that there is a real movement to stand against the begotten-ness of the Son of God in what is seen as a return to earlier, purer, SDA teaching.

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2003, 01:41:07 PM »


This thread puzzles me, because I was not aware that Seventh Day Adventists have a problem with the deity of Christ. I knew they were, IMHO, a bit strange, but I did not know they were that far off the mark.

Generally their theology is small-o orthodox, but you need to remember that the JWs are somewhat of a split-off from them.
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2003, 05:55:14 PM »

<surface>

Quote
Generally their [SDA] theology is small-o orthodox, but you need to remember that the JWs are somewhat of a split-off from them

I didn't know JWs are a splitoff from them but it makes sense - JWs are famous for end-of-the-world predictions that don't happen, which is exactly how the SDAs started (Miller and his prediction, I think for 1844, and 'the Great Disappointment' afterwards - yet a church remained from his movement.)

I've asked about SDAs before and was told they're Christian - basically a kind of evangelical Protestant who goes to church on Saturday instead of Sunday. JWs, however, AFAIK christologically are Arians, not Christians.
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2003, 07:47:43 AM »

I knew the JWs were the creation of a Seventh Day Adventist - Charles Taze Russell - and that the SDAs arose out of the Millerite Movement. I did not know they were flirting with Arianism, although that does not surprise me.

I have read some of what Ellen G. White, the founder of SDAism, wrote. She taught that worshiping on Sunday is the "Mark of the Beast." White was a rabid anti-Roman Catholic, using all the usual Protestant terms to describe the Roman Church (I need not repeat them here).

If I recall correctly, SDAs are vegetarians, too, are they not?



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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2003, 11:41:57 AM »

I knew the JWs were the creation of a Seventh Day Adventist - Charles Taze Russell - and that the SDAs arose out of the Millerite Movement. I did not know they were flirting with Arianism, although that does not surprise me.

I have read some of what Ellen G. White, the founder of SDAism, wrote. She taught that worshiping on Sunday is the "Mark of the Beast." White was a rabid anti-Roman Catholic, using all the usual Protestant terms to describe the Roman Church (I need not repeat them here).

If I recall correctly, SDAs are vegetarians, too, are they not?

Not dogmatically, but they do push vegetarianism officially.

The SDAs range all over the map, from neraly mainline Protestants who have a bee in their bonnet about Sunday worship to eschatological cranks. It wouldn't surprise me to find some semi-Arians hiding among the latter, but as far as I know there's nothing official about that.
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Tags: Christology Seventh Day Adventists Seventh Day Adventist Millerite 
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