The objective researcher now needs to expand the list of notes as follows:
1. Jesus is assumed to be exactly what he called himself.
2. Jesus called himself “son of man.”
3. Nowhere in the Bible did Jesus ever lay claim to the literal title of “son of
4. And in any case, in Jewish idiom the term “son of God” was either
metaphorical or contrary to monotheism.
5. The primary translation of the phrase pais theou is “servant of God,” and not
“son of God.”
6. Huios, which is translated from New Testament Greek to the word “son,” is
used metaphorically with such frequency as to make literal translation
7. Hence, when others spoke of Jesus as “son of God,” the metaphorical sense
can be assumed in consideration of Jewish idiom, in combination with the
strictness of Jewish monotheism.
So, how does the church justify the claim of divine sonship?
Some say Jesus was the son of God because he called God “Father.” But what do
other people call God? For that matter, what is Jesus recorded as having taught in the
Bible, if not, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father …” (Matthew 6:9)? So not only did Jesus teach that any person can attain the title of “son of God,” he taught his
followers to identify God as “Father.”
Some suggest that Jesus was human during life but became partner in divinity
following crucifixion. But in Mark 14:62, when Jesus speaks of the Day of Judgment, he
says that people will see him as “the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power,
and coming with the clouds of heaven.” So if Jesus is the “Son of Man” come the Day of
Judgment, what is he between now and then?
The question repeats itself, “Where did the concept of divine sonship come
If we look to church scholars for an answer, we find “It was, however, at the
Council of Nicaea that the church was constrained by circumstances to introduce non
biblical categories into its authentic description of the Son’s relation to the Father. The
Arian controversy occasioned this determination.”
Hmm … “constrained by circumstances” … “constrained by circumstances”—
now, what exactly, does that mean? A person can’t help but draw upon familiar parallels,
such as, “I was constrained by circumstances—I didn’t have enough money, so I stole,”
or, “The truth wasn’t working, so I lied.”
What, exactly, were the circumstances that constrained the church? Was it that
Arius demonstrated that they couldn’t justify their doctrine through scripture, and they
responded in the only way they knew how in order to salvage their position? The Bible
was all fine and good right up until it failed to support their theology, and then they cast
the sacred “rulebook” aside and came up with their own? Is that what happened? Because that’s what they seem to say—that they couldn’t get the Bible to work for them, so they
turned to nonbiblical sources for support.
Hey! Is that allowed?
Let’s look at what happened.