Q: #39. Someone told me Jesus was created because the Bible calls Him "begotten." What does "begotten" mean in these verses?
By: Steve Shirley
A: We clearly know from the Bible that Jesus "IS" God (see link). God cannot be created, and has always existed. In fact, Jesus created everything that has ever been created (Jn 1:3)(Col 1:6)(Heb 1:10).
The word "begotten" has many meanings, one of which IS "to be born." However, since we CLEARLY know from dozens of places in the Bible that Jesus is indeed God, we know with certainty that the meaning "to be born" (or created) does not apply to Jesus when used in the Bible.
So, what does it mean when it says Jesus was "begotten" or "only begotten?" Most Christian scholars seem to agree that "begotten," when used concerning Jesus, means "unique" or "one of a kind." The NASB Bible has unique in its margin notes.
For example, John uses this word in several places. In John 1:14 and 1:18, he says Jesus was "the only begotten of the Father" and "the only begotten Son." The Greek word for "begotten" in these is "monogenes." According to Strong's, this "indicates that as the Son of God He was the sole representative of the Being and character of the One who sent Him."
We also have several other proofs that "begotten" or "only begotten" doesn't mean Jesus was created.
(Rev 1:5) says Jesus was "the first begotten of the dead." Other translations say "firstborn of the dead." Clearly, this isn't referring to being literally born or created. It is referring to Jesus' resurrection, and how Jesus was the first to die and be raised back to life to never die again. In (Heb 11:17), it says Abraham offered up to God, Isaac, his only begotten son. However, we know that Abraham had another son, Ishmael. So, clearly Isaac wasn't Abraham's ONLY begotten (created) son. In this example, "only begotten" means that Isaac was the son through which God was going to fulfill His covenant promises (See: Gen 15:4-5, Gen 17:19-21). This is a parallel example of Jesus being begotten of the Father. Jesus was the one, sent by the Father, through which the promises of the New Covenant would be fulfilled.
Finally, we have (Heb 1:6), which says, "when he (the Father) bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world." Firstbegotten? How could Jesus be the "firstbegotten" AND "only begotten Son of the Father?" This certainly must not be speaking of being created.
I realize that there are a number of other places where "begotten," as well as other words, are used in the Bible that make it sound like Jesus could have been created, however, each CAN be explained. I give these examples to show how some can be refuted. If you take the time to study the other places, you will be able to refute those as well. Keep in mind, Jesus IS God, and the deity of Jesus is central to the Christian faith. This is an important issue to be prepared to defend.