Jump to content

1 John 4:9


inquiringmind

Recommended Posts

We are spirit sons and daughters of God. Our spirits are his sons and daughters, but we have physical parents as well- the parents of our bodies.

Jesus was a spirit Son as well, but God was also his physical father- of his body since he was literally the Son of God.

We are not "begotten" sons and daughters- He was the only one "begotten" by the Father.

Link to comment

We are spirit sons and daughters of God. Our spirits are his sons and daughters, but we have physical parents as well- the parents of our bodies.

Jesus was a spirit Son as well, but God was also his physical father- of his body since he was literally the Son of God.

We are not "begotten" sons and daughters- He was the only one "begotten" by the Father.

1 John 4:9 seems to say that He was "only begotten" when He was sent into the world (before He had a physical body.)

You seem to be saying that we were all begotten as spirit children before we were sent into the world.

But then, how would the incarnation be the sending of God's "only begotten" into the world"?

Link to comment

The Greek monogenes really means "unique" or "one-of-a-kind." The same term is used in regards to Isaac in Heb. 11:17, who was not an only child. LXX Gen. 22:16 refers to Isaac as Abraham's "beloved son." This was probably what the NT authors were drawing on when they called Jesus God's "beloved son." There are covenant implications here.

I find explanations such as "only begotten in the flesh" to be confusing. I think they miss the point as well.

Link to comment

1 John 4:9 seems to say that He was "only begotten" when He was sent into the world (before He had a physical body.)

You seem to be saying that we were all begotten as spirit children before we were sent into the world.

But then, how would the incarnation be the sending of God's "only begotten" into the world"?

This is where understanding the covenant terminology comes into play. Jesus was "unique" prior to the Incarnation:

Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages, according to Abraham’s record, are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the witness or Testator. (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 190)

Link to comment

1 John 4:9 seems to say that He was "only begotten" when He was sent into the world (before He had a physical body.)

You seem to be saying that we were all begotten as spirit children before we were sent into the world.

But then, how would the incarnation be the sending of God's "only begotten" into the world"?

We take the meaning of the word "begotten" to MEAN "born in the flesh"

This was the first quote that came up which was relevant:

Teachings of Heber J. Grant

Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God.

We believe absolutely that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten of God, the first-born in the spirit and the only begotten in the flesh; that He is the Son of God just as much as you and I are the sons of our fathers.

http://lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-heberj-grant/chapter-24-jesus-christ-the-son-of-the-living-god?lang=eng&query=only+begotten

The "sending" was being born into the world.

If you look at the first chapter of John you will see "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us".

If you look at a Strongs concordance for that word "dwelt" it means - the word in Greek literally means- "tented"- like living in a tent.

He came to earth and made an abode in a temporary home of flesh- his body- and then returned Home to his father after his death and resurrection.

That is our understanding of what "begotten" means- that he was the only one literally born in the flesh with God as the father of his body as well as spirit.

Link to comment

If we all had a pre-existence, and we're all the literal ofspring of heavenly parents, why does 1 John 4:9 say that "God sent His only begotten Son into the world"?

We all, Jesus included, are spiritual children of God. In this case, Jesus is the "First Born of the Father".

Our physical bodies are the product of our parents. I am the first born of my father (and of my mother, too). But I am not the only begotten of my father: he has six other children. In the case of Jesus Christ it is no less that His physical body was the product of His parents. He is the Only Begotten of the Father, though, because Father has only One Child on the Earth.

The distinction between "Only Begotten (of the Father)" and "First Born" is a critical one and bears greatly on the matter you raise, as well as the current one going on in "The Virginity of Mary" topic going on at a forum near you.

Lehi

Link to comment

So you're saying that you believe that what God actually did was send His "firstborn" spirit son into the world, to become His only physically begotten son at the moment of His conception..

Why does 1 John say that He sent His "only begotten son" into the world?

Doesn't that imply that He was the "only begotten" before He entered this world (or had a tent of flesh)?

Link to comment

Just to be clear:

I disagree with the interpretation of "only begotten" as meaning "only begotten in the flesh by the Father." I realize this is how it is used in Mormon lingo, but this doesn't fit the 1st century Jewish context as far as I understand it.

Jesus is identified by John as the Logos or Memra of God. This was His unique position. See Daniel Boyarin, "The Gospel of the Memra: Jewish Binitarianism and the Prologue of John," Harvard Theological Review 94:3 (2001).

Link to comment

So you're saying that you believe that what God actually did was send His "firstborn" spirit son into the world, to become His only physically begotten son at the moment of His conception..

Why does 1 John say that He sent His "only begotten son" into the world?

Doesn't that imply that He was the "only begotten" before He entered this world (or had a tent of flesh)?

All things are before God, i.e., He sees all things as if they were in the present. For Him, Jesus was the Only Begotten long before He was begotten because He would become the Only Begotten. It was His (Jesus') title in Heaven because "Only Begotten" is one of the titles of the Savior.

Lehi

Link to comment

Just to be clear:

I disagree with the interpretation of "only begotten" as meaning "only begotten in the flesh by the Father." I realize this is how it is used in Mormon lingo, but this doesn't fit the 1st century Jewish context as far as I understand it.

Jesus is identified by John as the Logos or Memra of God. This was His unique position. See Daniel Boyarin, "The Gospel of the Memra: Jewish Binitarianism and the Prologue of John," Harvard Theological Review 94:3 (2001).

I have to agree with WalkerW here. While the KJV uses the world "only begotten" it is more properly rendered "one and only". Onlh begotten suggests a metaphysical relationship while in Greek it references the relationship with an only child. It is more akin to the relationship Abraham had with Isaac in Hebrew 11:17 where Isaac, certainly not the only only child, is altogether a unique or "one of a kind" child.

Link to comment

Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

Acts 17:28 For we are also his offspring

Heb 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

Link to comment
Just to be clear:

I disagree with the interpretation of "only begotten" as meaning "only begotten in the flesh by the Father."

Do any other christians then accept the premortal existence of a man's spirit?

I realize this is how it is used in Mormon lingo, but this doesn't fit the 1st century Jewish context as far as I understand it.

The term translated as "begotten" is full of sexual connotations.

Link to comment
Do any other christians then accept the premortal existence of a man's spirit?

Have no idea.

The term translated as "begotten" is full of sexual connotations.

I'm very aware of the scholarship surrounding monogenes. The "only begotten in the flesh" is nothing more than an attempt to Mormonize the New Testament.

Link to comment

So you're saying that you believe that what God actually did was send His "firstborn" spirit son into the world, to become His only physically begotten son at the moment of His conception..

Why does 1 John say that He sent His "only begotten son" into the world?

Doesn't that imply that He was the "only begotten" before He entered this world (or had a tent of flesh)?

No.

Suppose you are the only child in your family who has blond hair. Suppose it is said of your parents that they "brought their only blond child into the world"

Does that say that you were blond in the pre-existence? No, it doesn't.

Christ was BOTH the firstborn spirit AND the only begotten- one doesn't necessarily imply the other. One could be the only begotten OR one could be the firstborn, OR one could be both.

You could be the only blond and the firstborn or not- the only boy or not etc. Independent variables!

Link to comment

Just to be clear:

I disagree with the interpretation of "only begotten" as meaning "only begotten in the flesh by the Father." I realize this is how it is used in Mormon lingo, but this doesn't fit the 1st century Jewish context as far as I understand it.

Jesus is identified by John as the Logos or Memra of God. This was His unique position. See Daniel Boyarin, "The Gospel of the Memra: Jewish Binitarianism and the Prologue of John," Harvard Theological Review 94:3 (2001).

Great stuff!

I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing, but lately I have been wondering about the value of looking at 1st century Jewish contexts from a doctrinal point of view. Unquestionably they can be illuminating- but there is a reason that Jesus felt a need to "restore" the truth.

I also lately am grateful to be able to read about the restored gospel in the "original English". It's a perspective I haven't always held or appreciated in the past.

I guess it's just an appreciation that ancient sources don't necessarily always illuminate the restored gospel.

Link to comment

Do any other christians then accept the premortal existence of a man's spirit?

I think that is pretty unique to us. But it is strange that it is, considering that so many non-Christians believe in things like re-incarnation - even astrology presupposes premortal existence- the reason a "Cancer" has certain characteristics for example, is because supposedly as the spirit comes to earth from heaven, it supposedly passes through the spheres of the stars and planets which affect the spirit in certain predictable ways causing all those who "come through" at the same point in the celestial cycle to have similar characteristics.

It's hard to understand why so many people in the world believe in some form of premortal existence, we are the only other Christians to formally teach it, but I think that is the case.

Link to comment

The "only begotten in the flesh" is nothing more than an attempt to Mormonize the New Testament.

Is that a bad thing?

Link to comment

Great stuff!

I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing, but lately I have been wondering about the value of looking at 1st century Jewish contexts from a doctrinal point of view. Unquestionably they can be illuminating- but there is a reason that Jesus felt a need to "restore" the truth.

I also lately am grateful to be able to read about the restored gospel in the "original English". It's a perspective I haven't always held or appreciated in the past.

I guess it's just an appreciation that ancient sources don't necessarily always illuminate the restored gospel.

Keep in mind that "Only Begotten in the Flesh" is a nonscriptural qualifier and term (like 'Trinity'!) that was post-scriptural addition based on philosophical theological development, mostly influenced by the Pratt Brothers.

I recently wrote two blog posts expressing what appears to be the earliest Restoration scriptural understanding (IE, Book of Mormon and JST) of the relationship between The Father and the Son, and what 'Only Begotten' was understood to mean to Joseph and the early saints. That which we have "In The Original English", as you put it. The posts are here,"Contextualizing The Book of Mormon's Holy Trinity", and : "Mine Only Begotten": The Divine Pattern of Love And Perfection (1830-1838)

While I agree with you that older scriptural records are superceded by modern doctrinal development, that doen't mean you can reveal the original meaning of an older text by retrojecting the current understanding into it.

To know what John meant by only begotten, we need to take into consideration his language, culture, and context. You may disagree with what John meant or understood by it, but that doesn't mean that you need to 'make it work'.

John, who makes no reference at all, in any way, to a Virgin Birth, or Divine Procreation, is very much interested in the pre-existent nature of Christ, and in fact, perhaps even argues for him being the only pre-existent individual - and an aspect of that being what makes him the Only Begotten. John's Gospel does not teach the premortality of all mankind, and we should not assume this doctrine in the context of his book.

We as Latter-day Saints do violence to understanding the Bible when we try to read 21st Century Correlated Mormon Doctrine into it. I love Joseph's approach - instead of just reading new doctrine into the old text, he was inspired to make a whole new version of the Bible, updating (not restoring) it to make it more doctrinally relevent. Historical accuracy wasn't nearly as important as current practical doctrinal accuracy.

Link to comment

If we all had a pre-existence, and we're all the literal ofspring of heavenly parents, why does 1 John 4:9 say that "God sent His only begotten Son into the world"?

That is is literally the son of God, Spiritually and Physically. Although the OT said the same about one of Abraham's sons, when he clearly already had a son, Ishmael.

Link to comment

Keep in mind that "Only Begotten in the Flesh" is a nonscriptural qualifier and term (like 'Trinity'!) that was post-scriptural addition based on philosophical theological development, mostly influenced by the Pratt Brothers.

I recently wrote two blog posts expressing what appears to be the earliest Restoration scriptural understanding (IE, Book of Mormon and JST) of the relationship between The Father and the Son, and what 'Only Begotten' was understood to mean to Joseph and the early saints. That which we have "In The Original English", as you put it. The posts are here,"Contextualizing The Book of Mormon's Holy Trinity", and : "Mine Only Begotten": The Divine Pattern of Love And Perfection (1830-1838)

While I agree with you that older scriptural records are superceded by modern doctrinal development, that doen't mean you can reveal the original meaning of an older text by retrojecting the current understanding into it.

To know what John meant by only begotten, we need to take into consideration his language, culture, and context. You may disagree with what John meant or understood by it, but that doesn't mean that you need to 'make it work'.

John, who makes no reference at all, in any way, to a Virgin Birth, or Divine Procreation, is very much interested in the pre-existent nature of Christ, and in fact, perhaps even argues for him being the only pre-existent individual - and an aspect of that being what makes him the Only Begotten. John's Gospel does not teach the premortality of all mankind, and we should not assume this doctrine in the context of his book.

We as Latter-day Saints do violence to understanding the Bible when we try to read 21st Century Correlated Mormon Doctrine into it. I love Joseph's approach - instead of just reading new doctrine into the old text, he was inspired to make a whole new version of the Bible, updating (not restoring) it to make it more doctrinally relevent. Historical accuracy wasn't nearly as important as current practical doctrinal accuracy.

Great post, great links- thanks!

That last paragraph needs to be put up in neon lights somewhere! What complicates the whole thing of course is that in addition to the "original English" we also have a modified understanding by subsequent interpretations of prophets seers and revelators.

Ostler's notion of "orthopraxis" looks better all the time!

Link to comment

John, who makes no reference at all, in any way, to a Virgin Birth, or Divine Procreation, is very much interested in the pre-existent nature of Christ, and in fact, perhaps even argues for him being the only pre-existent individual - and an aspect of that being what makes him the Only Begotten. John's Gospel does not teach the premortality of all mankind, and we should not assume this doctrine in the context of his book.

Do you mean we are to ignore the premortality implications of this verse?

John 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

Link to comment

Walker is right yet again. Monogenes (or yahid) did not exclude anyone or anything else. It pointed to a unique quality, or unique position of favour. Isaac was not the only son born to Abraham, nor was the Shulamite the only child of her mother. Monogenes most frequently turns up in the context of love and sacrifice, which is precisely what we see in the Gosepl of John. The binding of Isaac was an important messianic model, and it shaped the way the gospels were written. This is especially true of the word monogenes.

I don't have a problem with the LDS teaching of 'only begotten in the flesh' but it simply isn't what the author of John intended by Monogenes.

Link to comment

I have to agree with WalkerW here. While the KJV uses the world "only begotten" it is more properly rendered "one and only". Only begotten suggests a metaphysical relationship while in Greek it references the relationship with an only child. It is more akin to the relationship Abraham had with Isaac in Hebrew 11:17 where Isaac, certainly not the only only child, is altogether a unique or "one of a kind" child.

Excellent point about the relationship.

Rashi waxes midrashic and records the following dialogue.*

-Take thy son.

-Which one, I have two.

-Thine only begotten.

-Isaac is the only son of his mother and Ishmael is the only son of his mother.

-Whom thou hast loved.

-I love them both.

-Isaac.

*Couldn't resist the following from Shaike Ofir. "A monologue is one person talking to himself. A dialogue is two people talking to themselves."

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...