A few weeks ago at church on Wednesday night, we got into a light discussion on what it means for Jesus to be the “Son” of God. And we talked about Mary and the virgin birth, and how the child she carried relates to her physically.
Muslims think that Christians believe that God and Mary had a physical union of some kind and produced Jesus. That is absolutely wrong. We do not believe there was any kind of physical relationship between God and Mary in any way.
I decided to do this in a question and answer form. It seems to be easier that way.
1) Why is Jesus called the Son of God?
There are a number of factors that play into this title.
First of all, I believe in one God (Deut 6:4). The one God is made up of three persons. They act as one, they speak as one, they think as one, they will as one, they are one in relationship, and they exist with the complete, full essense of God in them. God has always existed and has no beginning and no end. They are not divided in anyway, yet they have a distinctness of three persons that is part of that full essense of God. We see in the text that they can and do act distinctly as well as together. I don’t pretend to understand it, but that is what is revealed in scripture and I embrace it.
Within that relationship of God there is an authority. One of the three is the head, and the other two submit. God is spirit (John 4:24), and does not have any gender as He does not have a physical form. So how did Jesus become a son?
In a way, the Father and Son relationship has eternally existed between Jesus and the Father. But I think that relationship is based mostly on the authority and submissive relationship within God that has always existed. When Jesus stepped into our universe and time, He took on an additional component. He incarnated a human body. That body was male. He is 100% God and 100% man.
I believe that like Adam, Jesus’ body was a special creation. The body was 100% human, and it was created perfect and without the curse of sin that all human beings carry from Adam. For Jesus to be sinless and to die for our sins, He would have had to have a sinless, non-cursed body or He would have died on the cross under the sin of Adam. Plus, for Him to incarnate a human body it would have to be sinless. Being God, He could not dwell in a sinful tent.
So you have this special 100% human, sinless body created. The person of God who we know as Jesus incarnated that body. The person of God we call the Holy Spirit placed that body incarnated by God into the womb of Mary where it began developing. Nine months later, Mary delivered Jesus in Bethlehem.
So Jesus is called the Son of God:
a) He is God, who was born
b) He took on the additional component of a sinless, male human body
c) That body was a special creation like Adam’s body was a special creation.
d) The person of God we know as Jesus is submissive to the person of God we know as the Father as a human son is to a human father. Jesus revealed Him to us as a Father.
Some texts to support this:
Luke 3:38c, “the son of Adam, the son of God”
Adam is called the son of God here in the lineage of Jesus. Adam is called a son of God because he was created by God and God breathed life into him. Jesus is the only “begotten Son of God” because His body was a special creation like Adam’s and it was incarnated by God.
Matthew 1:18-20, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (ESV).
This text shows that the human body of Jesus was “from” the Holy Spirit. It was not that the Holy Spirit used Mary’s egg or something like that. The body was from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit created the body and placed it in Mary’s womb.
Luke 1:34-35, “And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “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.”
In this text, we see that Mary questions the messenger about her conception because she is a virgin. The Holy Spirit would come upon her, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her, and because Jesus was born He would carry the title, Son of God. Together with this text in Matthew we can clearly see that the Holy Spirit acted on Mary by placing this special body into her womb. The child was “from” the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 10:4-7, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
Therefore, when He came into the world, He [Jesus] said: ‘ Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God'” (NKJV).
In this text in Hebrews, we see Jesus say specifically to the Father that His body was prepared for Him. It was a body without sin, created specifically outside the curse of Adam to carry the sins of His people. So that His sacrifice could be done once for all sin to purify those who call on His name for salvation.
1 Corinthians 15:45, “And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”
Jesus is called the “last Adam.” That is one reason why I believe His body was a special creation. What other possible reason could there be for Jesus having that title? The first Adam brought death to us, the second Adam (Jesus) brought life.
2) Did God use Mary’s egg to produce the body of Jesus somehow?
I do not think so. The reason I think His body was a special creation placed in her womb instead of God using her egg is because Mary was a sinner. She carried the curse of Adam just like every human being does. If God would have used her egg, the body of Jesus would carry the sin of Adam just like we all do.
Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—”
Genesis 5:3, “And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”
From these two texts we see that Adam’s sin was passed to all of his children. Through one man sin entered the world, which brought death and spread to all men. Seth was a son of Adam, and he was born in the likeness of Adam. This was after the fall when sin entered into humanity. Therefore Seth carried the sinful likeness of Adam.
Adam and Eve were both sinners. Eve sinned before Adam, and they were both cursed by God with death and other punishments. When Adam and Eve had daughters their sin passed to the daughters in full force just as it passed to the sons fully. There is no difference. Mary was under the curse of Adam just like every other daughter of Adam and Eve. And we are all guilty of Adam’s sin, male and female. We are all guilty of Eve’s sin, male and female as we are her children as well as Adam’s.
3) If Jesus’ body was a special creation, how could He be called the Son of David?
The geneaology of Jesus in Matthew is traced down to Joseph who was Jesus’ chosen earthly father. The genealogy of Jesus in Luke is thought to be traced down through Mary’s side. Joseph is listed there in Luke (from what I understand) because being the husband of Mary he would be included in Mary’s family. In Matthew’s lineage Jesus is traced back to Solomon the son of David. In Luke’s lineage it is traced back to Nathan the son of David. That is one reason Luke’s lineage is considered to be Mary’s fathers.
We know that God had chosen Solomon to carry the promise that God made to David about his line always being Kings over Israel (2 Samuel 7:12-17; 1 Chronicles 28:2-8). And because God chose Joseph to be the earthly father of Jesus, and He chose Mary to be the earthly mother of Jesus, He is called the Son of David. His parents were chosen by God, therefore all the promises made to David would pass to Jesus.
In 2 Samuel 7:12-17, God also tells David that his descendents would be God’s sons and God would be their Father. That is another reason Jesus is called the Son of God.
e) Jesus is the Son of God because of the promises made to David by God (The Davidic Covenant).
So as you can see Jesus’ title Son of God has a lot of aspects. There is ample evidence to support that title and relationship between Him and the Father. It is amazing to see how God has worked everything out according to His plans. I am thankful that He always does. He is a God of promises and a God who fulfills everything He says.