Son of God = Human

I had a few choice words for the Wellspring Church community yesterday.  Thanks to all for the encouraging words both before and after the message.

Investigating “son of God” language in the Bible really is an interesting endeavor.  Too often, I think most Christians take “son of God” to mean “divine.”  So when we read, for example, Mark’s opening phrase (“The good news of Jesus Christ, the son of God,” 1:1), we immediately intuit that Mark believed Jesus to be God.  Mark, and other New Testament writers may have believed Jesus to effectually be God, but that’s not what “son of God” meant.

Rather, “son of God” was always meant to be the characteristic relationship between all of humanity and the Creator.  Such was the case with Adam, the first man, Israel as a nation, and the kings of Israel, specifically.  Each was to find an intimate connection with their Creator and so model that loving Father to the world.  Such is also the case with every believer today.

What is uniquely remarkable about Jesus, however, is that he actually fulfills this role perfectly.  Where Adam, Israel, and each regent in Jerusalem all failed in their connection with the Father, Jesus succeeded.  This is what he meant when saying in John 14:9 that in seeing Jesus, one has seen the Father.  Jesus so accurately reflected the God with whom he was so intimate, that Jesus’ words and actions were all performed on the Lord’s behalf, as if the Creator Himself were acting or speaking.

The whole point of “son of God” language in Scripture is that it is specifically in reference to humans.  Throughout the Old Testament, the idea is only ever applied to human figures.  The only way, then, that such a role could be fulfilled is through a real, flesh & blood human.

This is the glorious mystery of God’s work on the earth.  If the Lord was ever going to accomplish any of His purposes on the earth, it was going to come through people.  It was the Creator’s intention with the first humans.  It remains His intention among today’s sons and daughters of God.

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5 thoughts on “Son of God = Human

  1. Hello:

    Interesting post. What caught my eye was when you said, “Throughout the Old Testament, the idea is only ever applied to human figures.”

    Are you suggesting that angels or divine heavenly beings were never called God’s S/sons?

    1. Welcome, Ivan. I’m not aware that any non-human entities are called sons in the OT. Feel free to point them out though, if I’ve missed it.

  2. Texts that I would understand to be about angels being called God’s S/sons would include Genesis 6:1-2, Job 1:6, 2:1, and Psalm 29:1. In the intertestamental writings, they are much more numerous.

    1. All four of those OT references are debatable, I would think. I’ve seen good explanations for them not being “angelic” or whatever. I think the primary alternative is that they refer to ANE kings/pharaohs. I certainly wouldn’t bet my life savings on either interpretation. I’m currently brushing up on my Apocrypha reading, where I’m actually finding more support for human sons of God. I’ll admit, though, I haven’t touched the Pseudepigrapha in a long time.

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