Anthony Buzzard Multimedia • About Anthony Buzzard
The Begetting, Coming into Existence, of the Son of God
by Anthony Buzzard
What does the word “beget” mean? Definitions are easy to come by. Just type the word into a search engine, or consult a dictionary anywhere. To beget is “to sire, to father, to bring into existence, to procreate, to generate.”
This word is crucial to our understanding of who Jesus, the Son of God, is. For centuries churches bearing the name of Christ argued over whether the Son had a beginning of existence or not. Of course there is a vast difference between a person who has no beginning and one who comes into existence, that is, has a beginning of existence.
So what does the Bible say about Jesus, the Son of God? The answer is very easy as long as one is able to process simple information and begin at the right place.
The place to start is in Matthew and Luke. Both these biblical writers major on the story of the begetting of Jesus. They thus inform us in detail of how and when the Son of God began to exist, was begotten, that is procreated.
Matthew 1:1 uses a noun related to begetting. It is the word “genesis.” It means of course beginning. Jesus’ family history is to be announced by Matthew. Jesus is introduced as being the descendant (son) of Abraham and the descendant of David. Is that clear? In Matthew 1:18 Matthew picks up the same word “genesis”: “The beginning, genesis, of Jesus was as follows…” Matthew focuses in on the beginning, procreation, begetting, coming into existence, origin of Jesus as the Son of God.
There is no possible doubt or ambiguity in these accounts of who Jesus is and how he began. The language is un-complex and of course was written to be understood! Matthew 1:20, two verses later, tells us more about this begetting of Jesus. Please note the slight “fudging” of the original Greek in some translations here. Your translation probably tells you that Joseph was reassured to learn that what Mary “conceived” in her womb was from the spirit of God. Actually the Greek is more specific. It reads “what is begotten,” i.e., fathered, brought into existence, is from the spirit. Begetting is the work of a father.
In this crucial verse God had a Son, using His operational presence and power, His spirit, to procreate that Son. God in other words brought the Son into existence, caused him to exist — begat him.
Language has no clearer way of telling you that the Son of God was brought into existence by miracle in Mary. The Son was caused to be, generated, fathered, sired. Yes, of course Mary conceived a baby but the text (Matt. 1:20) tells us of the Father’s miraculous activity in begetting a Son.
Is this clear, and do you believe it? This account defines who the Son of God is. He is a procreated, generated, fathered person. God was his Father and this happened when a biological miracle was wrought in the womb of a young Jewess, probably about 16 years old.
None of this is the slightest bit difficult — until of course we listen to the words of the churches which make this matchlessly simple account into something quite different!
But before explaining what the church has done to make a simple account impossibly complex, let us see how beautifully Luke reinforces what we just learned from Matthew. In Luke Mary is visited by Gabriel, when Elizabeth was six months pregnant with John the Baptist. Once again the account is not complex. It was written by the historian and Bible expert Luke, and designed to convey unambiguous information to promote and confirm the Christian faith.
The angel is addressing a sixteen-year-old. He intends to be understood! The angel begins with these words: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus” (Luke 1:30-31). Nothing difficult about this information. Then this: “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father” (1:32). The baby to be conceived will be God’s Son. Now information about the destiny of this Son of God: “And he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (1:33). Next Mary’s very reasonable question: “But Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?’” (1:34). The reply of Gabriel, God’s messenger: “The holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (1:35).
The original Greek here gives us this: The child to be begotten, brought into existence, generated will be the Son of God. This repeats the information we found in Matthew 1:1, 18, 20.
We are at a crucial and defining moment with this easy explanation from Gabriel. The angel actually provides an exact definition of the title Son of God. It is rare that a Bible verse comes with its own built-in clarification. But here we have the Bible’s perfect definition of “Son of God.” Jesus is the Son of God precisely because of the miracle worked in Mary. “For this reason he will be the Son of God.” The miraculous begetting and conception provides the simple reason for Jesus being the Son of God. He has no human father. He is the Son of God and God is his Father!
Alas, the Church overturned this crystal clear account of the origin of the Son of God. By 150 AD, 50 years later than the end of the New Testament period, that Son of God had been invested with a pre-history as Son. This meant that the words of Gabriel were derailed and disregarded. The reason for Jesus being the Son of God was no longer the miracle in Mary. The Son was given a “beginningless beginning,” a so-called “eternal generation.” These terms involved manipulating the meaning of the words “beget, originate, cause to exist.” They were flatly contradicted, removed from the record and invested with non-meanings — meanings they nowhere else ever had! The conversation between Gabriel and Mary was frankly turned into nonsense, made incomprehensible.