So what should we make of the book of Hebrews using monogenes to describe
Isaac as the only begotten son of Abraham? A metaphor, mistranslation, or mistake? If a
metaphor, then literal interpretation of monogenes in relation to Jesus is indefensible. If a
mistranslation, then both the mistranslation and the doctrine deserve correction. And if a
mistake, then a greater challenge surfaces—reconciling a biblical error with the
infallibility of God.
This problem demands resolution, and the most respected modern translations of
the Bible (i.e., the Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, New
International Version, Good News Bible, New English Bible, Jerusalem Bible and many
others) have recognized “begotten” as an interpolation and have unceremoniously
expunged the word from the text. By so doing, they are narrowing the gap between
Christian and Islamic theology, for as stated in the Holy Qur’an, “It is not consonant with
the majesty of (Allah) Most Gracious that He should beget a son” (TMQ 19:92), and, “He
(Allah) begets not, nor is He begotten” (TMQ 112:3).
Jesus Christ – Son of God?
One of the most striking dif erences between a cat and a lie is that a cat
has only nine lives. —Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar
Son of God, son of David, or son of Man? Jesus is identified as “son of David”
fourteen times in the New Testament, starting with the very first verse (Matthew 1:1).
The Gospel of Luke documents fortyone generations between Jesus and David, while
Matthew lists twentysix. Jesus, a distant descendant, can only wear the “son of David”
title metaphorically. But how then should we understand the title, “Son of God?”
The “trilemma,” a common proposal of Christian missionaries, states that Jesus
was either a lunatic, a liar, or the Son of God—just as he claimed to be. For the sake of
argument, let’s agree that Jesus was neither a lunatic nor a liar. Let’s also agree he was
precisely what he claimed to be. But what, exactly, was that? Jesus called himself “Son of
Man” frequently, consistently, perhaps even emphatically, but where did he call himself
“Son of God?”