V1. THE THEORY OF ETERNAL SONSHIP DISCUSSED
The word Son in connection with Jesus does not refer to His
Deity, but to His humanity. AS GOD, Christ had no beginning, was
not begotten, was not the firstborn, was not born, and therefore,
was not a Son; but AS MAN HE had a beginning, was begotten, was
the first-born of God, was born, and therefore became the Son of
God. If one believed sonship referred to Deity, then he would
have to believe that this person of Deity had a beginning, and
was not always God, was not always in existence, and therefore,
was not an eternal and self-existent Being. It is plainly stated
in Micah 5:2; John 1:1-2; Col.1:17; Rev.1:8-18; John 17:5 that He
had no beginning AS GOD and that He was as eternal and
self-existent as the Father and the Holy Spirit. On the other
hand, AS MAN it is plainly stated that He had a beginning. Note
the following simple statements of Scripture that AS MAN and AS A
SON He did have a beginning, proving sonship refers to humanity
and not to Deity.
(1) "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise. . . . she
was found with child of the Holy Ghost. . . . that which is
conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth
a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his
people from their sins" (Matt.1:18-25). This proves that God had
a Son at the same time Mary did, and neither had a Son before
this. This Son was "Immanuel . . . . God with us," but before the
second person of the Godhead came to be with us AS MAN, HE could
only exist AS GOD. AS GOD the second person of the God-head is
never called the Son of God, but when He became man by becoming
the Son of both Mary and God, He is called "The Son of God."
The only references to His Sonship before He became the Son of
Mary and God were in prophecies foretelling this event (Isa.
7:14; 9:6-7; Prov.30:4; Ps.2:7, 12; Heb.1:5-6). That He was "The
Son of God" and appeared in the fiery furnace as such in Dan.3 is
not stated anywhere. It was the heathen king that said "the form
of the fourth is like the Son of God," literally, like a Son of
God, as in the margin. In this appearance the being was an angel
(Dan.3:28) and not the second person of the Godhead who later
became man and the Son of Mary and God. To this heathen king any
being like an angel would be called a Son of God, because he
believed in many gods and offspring of gods. He knew nothing of
the true God, much less that He would someday have a Son born of
(2) "Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and
shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall BE CALLED
THE SON OF THE HIGHEST.... The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee,
and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee; therefore
also that holy thing which shall be born of thee SHALL BE CALLED
THE SON OF GOD" (Luke 1:31-35). If God or Mary had a Son before
this, when was it born? Certainly this was the first time Mary
had a son, for she "brought forth her firstborn son: and called
his name JESUS" (Matt.1:25). This was also the first time God had
a Son, for Mary's child is also called God's "first-born" in the
same sense He was Mary's "first-born" (Matt.1:25; Ps.89:27; Col.
If God had a Son before this, then Jesus is the second-born Son
and not "firstborn" and "the only begotten Son" of God, as in
John 1:18; 3:16-18,35-36, and in the passages listed above. Or,
if Sonship refers to Deity, then He became God's Son twice; once
sometime back in eternity and again when God had a Son by Mary.
If He was begotten as God's Son sometime in the eternal past and
His Sonship refers to Deity and not to humanity, then who was the
mother of this God-Son and when did God have a Son by this other
mother? There is no statement in Scripture that Jesus was God's
Son from all eternity. If He were, then there still would have to
be a time when He became God's Son, and if that took place at a
certain time and place, He could not have always been God's Son.
Neither would He always have been God, as the Bible declares in
Mic.5:2; John 1:1-2; Heb.1:8; Rev.1:8).
To solve all these unanswerable questions of speculation, let us
believe the simple statements of Scripture that the person we now
know as the Son of God and Mary was not always God's Son and
Mary's Son, that He was always God and a separate person along
with the Father and the Holy Spirit, that He became man and the
Son of both God and Mary over nineteen hundred years ago for the
purpose of redemption, that it was in God's plan that one of the
... persons of the Godhead should become man and the Son of the
one who became the Father by the power of the Holy Ghost, and
that it did not become a reality until it actually took place in
Mary about nineteen hundred years ago.
(3) "Unto you is born THIS DAY in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord. . . . when eight days were accomplished
for circumcising of the child, his name WAS CALLED JESUS, which
was so named by the angel BEFORE HE WAS CONCEIVED IN THE WOMB"
(4) "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). He
was the "Word" and "God" and a member of the Godhead from all
eternity, but He was not made flesh until God had a Son by Mary.
(5) "God gave his only begotten Son" is taken to prove that God
must have had a Son before He gave Him, but this must be
understood in connection with other passages. It is certain that
the second person of the Godhead had to become a man and the Son
of God and Mary before either God or Mary could have a Son; so
God giving His Son must refer to the time of the crucifixion when
God gave His Son and the Son gave Himself to redeem man "that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting
This time is stated to be at the crucifixion, for it was then
that the sins of the whole world were atoned for and all men were
crucified with Him (Rom.6:4-6; 8:32; Gal.1:4, Eph.5:25; 1 Tim.
2:6; Tit.2:14; 1 Pet.2:24). The time then when God gave His Son
that men should believe in Him to be saved was the time He gave
Himself to save all men, and not at the time he was born. At the
time He was born He did not save the world and could not have
done so. He had to grow to manhood to die for men. We also read
of God giving Christ the headship of the Church, and this was
even after the crucifixion (Eph.1:20-22).
The birth of Christ was necessary for God to have a Son to give
to die for the world later. The purpose of the birth was that He
might have a Son to give as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of
the world. God did not give Him to die at the time He was born,
but gave Him to die when He was a man and after He had been the
Son of God and Mary for over thirty-three years. Because God now
has a Son, His giving the Son can be spoken of even at birth in
the same sense that He was called "Christ," as explained in Point
(6) "Hath not the Scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed
of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?"
(John 7:42; Mic.5:1-2; Isa.7:14; 9:6-7; 11:1-2). The person who
was to be God's Son and Christ was to come from God and man;
hence, Sonship refers to humanity, not to Deity. AS GOD He could
not have been born or brought into existence, but as man He had
to be (Acts 13:23; Rom.1:3; 8:3,28-32; 9:5; Gal.4:4; Phil.
1:8-11; Col.1:15; Heb.2:14-18; 7:14; 10:5-14; 1 John 4:1-6; 1
(7) It is stated in both Testaments that there was a certain day
that God was to have a Son and a certain day in which He did have
a Son. "The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; THIS DAY
have I begotten thee. . . . And again, I WILL BE to him a Father,
and HE SHALL BE to me a Son.... And again, when he bringeth in
the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the
angels of God worship him" (Ps.2:7; Acts 13:33; Heb.1:5-6;
5:5-10; 10:5-14; Isa.7:14; 9:6-7).
The words Father and Son have exactly the same meaning when used
of God as when used of men.
If Sonship refers to Deity then we would have to conclude that
there was a certain day when the second person of the Godhead was
born and before this day He was not in existence, but this is
contrary to all statements in Scripture about Him. Therefore, we
must conclude that Sonship refers to humanity and that before His
birthday Jesus was God, but He was not man or God's Son and that
as God He had no beginning, but as man He did have a beginning.
The prophets foretold how God would become a man by being
begotten, but not one ever said that a person would become a God
by being begotten (Gen.3:15; 49:10; Deut.18:15-19; Ps.2:7;
22:1-22; 40:7; 80:17; 89:19; Isa.7:14; 9:6-7; 11:1-2; 42:1-5;
32:2; 53:1-12; Jer.23:5; Mic.5:2-4).
(8) The truth then is this: there were always ... distinct and
eternal persons unbegotten of each other from all eternity; that
only one of these eternal persons of the Deity became a man and
the Son of another of these eternal Beings ... and that one took
the headship part, another took the mediative part ... It was in
the plan ... to take these respective parts long before the plan
began to be worked out.
It was predicted that one of the eternal Beings would become the
Father, that one would become the Son ... This is why it was
written of a certain day this was done (Ps.2:7; Acts 13:33; Heb.
1:5-6; 5:5-10; 10:5-14; Isa.7:14; 9:6-7). This plan was not
carried out until the Holy Ghost came upon Mary, as in Matt.
1:18-25; Luke 1:31-35. Paul said in Gal.4:4-5 that God's Son was
"made of a woman, made under the law." According to Heb.10:5-14
God prepared a body for the second person of the God-head in
which He was to become incarnate, and it was this man that was
born of a woman and was called "the Son of God." Hence, Sonship
refers to HUMANITY, not to deity.
As God the second person ... had no beginning and was not
begotten, but as a man He did have a beginning by being begotten
of the Father through the Holy Spirit and through the virgin
Mary. There is, therefore, NO such doctrine in Scripture as "the
eternal sonship of Jesus Christ" or that He was God's Son from
all eternity. There is no excuse to teach some theory that is NOT
stated in Scripture, even if it is commonly accepted as orthodox
There are 15 prophetical statements about God having a Son in the
future, born of a woman (Gen.3:15; 12:3; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10; 2
Sam.7:14; Ps.69:8; 89:27; Isa.7:14; 9:6-7; 11:1; Matt.1:21; Luke
1:30-35; 2:26). There are also 15 historical statements in the
Bible showing that God did have His first and only begotten Son,
born of a woman, and that this took place on a certain day in
time and not in eternity past (Matt.1:18-21; 2:1-6 with Mic.
5:1-2; Luke 2:1-11; John 1:14; Rom.1:3-4; 8:3; Gal.4:4-5; Phil.
2:5-11; Col.1:15-18; Acts 13:33; 1 Tim.3:16; Heb.1:5-6; 2:9-18;
5:5; 7:14). On the other hand, there is NO Scripture in the Bible
showing that God had a Son throughout all eternity - one begotten
before all worlds. Nor is there a Scripture indicating that there
never was a time when He did not have a Son, and NO passage to
prove that Christ was the Son of God before He was born of a
virgin as God's only begotten Son. We find NOTHING in the Bible
stating that eternal sonship and eternal generation is true of
We can prove the pre-existence of Jesus Christ as God without
claiming that He was in sonship all that time. We know that He
was always God; He had no beginning as God; He was never born,
begotten, and never had a mother, as God. He never had a Father
God as deity in the ages past, and never became God's Son in any
sense until, as predicted and fulfilled in the above Scriptures.
VII. THE KENOSIS OF CHRIST (Phil. 2:5-8)
The 'kenosis' of Christ means that Christ emptied Himself. The
Greek word for "made himself of no reputation" in Phil.2:7 is
'kenao,' meaning to empty, evacuate, become nothing, to divest
one's self of native dignity and power, and to descend to an
inferior position or condition. It is translated "made void"
(Rom.4:14), "make void" (1 Cor.9:15), "make of none effect" (1
Cor.1:17), and "be in vain" (2 Cor.9:3). The idea in all these
passages, as can readily be seen, is to cause a thing to be seen
as empty, hollow, nothing, false or absolutely useless.
God emptied Himself! What a strange idea in connection with God!
Yes, indeed, but through a knowledge of this truth comes a true
knowledge of the essence of Christianity and of the very nature
and being of God Himself. This truth as demonstrated by God to
man by concrete example clears God once and forever of all the
accusations made against Him by the devil and his followers. It
personified in God the very opposite of the depraved nature of
the devil and those who follow him.
When God created the Heaven and the Earth He planned that they
should be inhabited by free and intelligent peoples with absolute
freedom of choice as to their destiny and God-given
responsibility to keep the moral laws of the universe. This plan
was that all Spirit and material beings should be subject to God
and love Him, not from the principles of fear and suspicion
instilled in them by false ideas of a tyrannical, oppressive,
despotic, and ghostly being called God, who was ready to pounce
upon them for the least infraction of His moral laws; but that
God, Himself, should be the example and ideal to them of all that
is just, holy, true and perfect. God should be the supreme
sovereign ruling for the good of His whole creation and sharing
His goodness, power, and glorious Being with all alike; and that
His form of government should be recognized and respected by all
When Spirit and human free wills were created they were
inexperienced as to right and wrong and as to the true nature of
the great Being which had brought them into existence. They were
created miniatures of God in attributes and powers and could
exercise their powers and attributes like God, but only in a
limited and finite way. They had to learn by experience the free
exercise of their faculties as to right and wrong, walk in the
ways of God and be content with their own creative limitations in
strict obedience and submission.
Being like God in body, soul, and spirit they could naturally
enjoy the same feelings, emotions and desires as God and have
perfect fellowship with Him in their mutual administration of the
universe. The many theophanies in Scripture reveal and
demonstrate the mutual interests and common partnership of God
and His created subjects and co-workers (Gen.2:21; 18:2; 19:1-5;
32:24-32; Num.22:22-31; Josh.5:15; Judges 6; Isa.6; Ezek.1; Dan.
7:9-13; Heb.13:2). Even since the rebellion in God's kingdom it
is God's plan to dwell with and make man co-administrators of the
universe (Isa.7:14; 9:6-7; 66:22-24; Ezek.43:7; Rom.8:17; Rev.
Angels were the first to help God administer the affairs of the
universe (Col.1:15-18). Lucifer, himself, ruled this planet and
through pride fell and invaded Heaven to dethrone God, but was
defeated and his kingdom destroyed and the Earth placed under
water and darkness, as we have seen ... Lucifer's highest
ambition was to "be like the Most High" in the infinite and
sovereign sense. This spirit of pride and self-exaltation was the
very opposite of what the second person of the Godhead
demonstrated when He emptied Himself and thought it not something
to be grasped after to retain equality with God. Since Lucifer
fell he has become the leader of all whose program is
self-exaltation and rule or ruin. Some day he will be forced to
capitulate and bow the knee to Him who demonstrated the opposite
principles - who emptied and bumbled Himself from deity to
humanity and from humanity to infamy and who has been exalted at
the right hand of the Father waiting until His enemies be made
His footstool (Phil.2:9-11; Ps.110:1; 1 Cor.15:22-28; Heb.
2:7-10; 10:12-13; 1 Pet.3:22). In this we have a clear
demonstration of the power of the greater and more God-like
principles of right over wrong, unselfishness over selfishness,
humility over pride, faithfulness and obedience over rebellion,
and self-emptying over self-exaltation.
When God restored the Earth in six days and created new life
therein, man was given the dominion Lucifer had lost. Man soon
sinned after the same subtle manner as did the spirit-rebels by
attempting to be equal with God in the unlawful sense. It was
Satan using the serpent as a tool who said, "God doth know that
in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye
shall be AS GODS, knowing both good and evil." Thus Adam, like
Lucifer before him, through trying to be "AS ELOHIM," in the
unlawful sense, really became unlike God in the lawful sense. He
became the leader of all human rebels against God, as Lucifer had
become the devil and leader of all spirit-rebels before Adam.
At the fall, Lucifer took up his new role as the usurper and
pseudo-ruler of man and his dominion (Luke 4:6; John 12:31;
14:30; 2 Cor.4:4). Man entered his new role as a beaten
galley-slave, no longer able to resist his slave-master and
exercise his God-given dominion or his faculties in freedom from
sin and the devil.
God, who always has had and always will have the best interests
of His creatures at heart, saw the unequal struggle and helpless
state of His new creation and began to champion man's cause and
make it possible for man to defeat the spirit-rebels and regain
his dominion. God knew that the spirit-rebels were past
redemption, having refused all means of reconciliation before He
took action against them. God further knew that the new rebels
should be given full justice and a chance to become reconciled
before having final action taken against them. So, as
pre-planned, the Creator offered redemption to all human rebels,
especially to them who accept and believe the gospel (Eph.1:4; 1
Pet.1:2; Rev.13:8; 17:8).
THE FIRST STEP in the work of redemption was to send angels to
protect the new race from immediate destruction by the
spirit-rebels who wanted to annihilate the race and seize the
Earth for themselves. The age-long struggle between these good
and bad spirit-forces for the protection and destruction of the
race until "the restitution of all things" is clearly revealed in
Job 1:10-12; 2:5-6; 42:10; 91:11-12; Dan.10:12-11:1; Matt.18:10;
Acts 10:38; Eph.2:2-3; 6:1-17; Heb.1:14; 2:18; Rev.12:7-12.
THE SECOND STEP was the promise of a Redeemer who would be the
seed of the woman and who would liberate man from the slavery of
the devil and free and restore his original domination. Many are
the promises of a virgin-born child who would be God manifest in
flesh, who would be the "first-born" and head of a new creation
of human kind, and who would finally put down Satan and with man
rule supreme over all creation forever (Gen.3:15; 12:1-3; 49:10;
2 Sam.7; Isa.7:14; 9:6-7; 11:1-8; 42:1-4; 53:1-12; 61:1-3; Mic.
5:1-2; Matt.1; Luke 1:32-35).
THE THIRD STEP was the actual fulfillment of Immanuel, God with
us. What kind of Being was God to be when He appeared among men?
What kind of an example and life was He to demonstrate before and
among men in order to win them from allegiance to the devil? What
could He possibly do to allay the fears and wrong impressions of
God in man and counteract the arguments against God and His
rights and bring man over on God's side? Was He going to be as
Satan pictured Him -a being full of pride, a tyrant, a despot,
full of vengeance, ready to destroy those who rebelled? Was He to
come in might and power to inspire awe and demand the worship of
all? Was He to come with His faithful hosts of angels to conquer
Satan and his rebels in the sight of man to prove to man that He
alone was the one powerful enough to reign as sovereign of all?
Was He coming to save Himself or save and restore others?
He came as a man - a lowly servant of all to set the right
example of how men can be like God. He came and lived as God
would live among men so that men could learn to live like God. He
literally "emptied Himself" and took the form of a servant
instead of the form of a sovereign. He humbled Himself from deity
to humanity and from humanity to infamy, taking on Him the sins
of the world and redeeming fallen man to His original dominion.
TO BE CONTINUED