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Featured Monogenēs: Unique, Not Only-Begotten

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by SavedByGrace, Jan 9, 2024.

  1. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

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    Monogenēs: Unique, Not Only-Begotten


    Does this word mean “begetting” in any way, as some would argue?

    Commentaries, like the Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges, say of “monogenēs”, “It refers to His eternal generation from the Father”, on John 1:14. The words used in this verse by John, “monogenous para patros”, literally means, “the only One from the side of the Father”. Or “with the Father”. In John 1:1, a similar Greek preposition, “prós”, is used, with the same meaning as in verse 14. If we are to understand “generation”, then we would expect the correct Greek preposition to have been used, which is “ex (ek)” to have been used (monogenous ex patros).

    If the Bible wanted to show that Jesus Christ is the “only begotten”, from God the Father, then we should see the correct Greek word used for this, which is, “monogennētos”. This is never used.

    The early Church Creeds use language that is not from what the 66 Books of the Holy Bible Teaches, but, rather based on the theology of the time.

    For example, when the Nicene Creed (AD 325), and others, use language like, “τὸν ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς γεννηθέντα πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων”, “the One begotten out of the Father before all ages”, and “Φῶς ἐκ Φωτός, Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ”, Light out of Light”, “True God out of True God”. This is clearly teaching a subordination in the Eternal Godhead, between the Father, Who is seen as “Fons Deitatis”, which is, “the source of Divinity”; and the use of the Greek preposition, “ἐκ”, is also for the purpose of showing that the Father alone is absolute God, and Jesus Christ is “God” in the sense that His Deity is “derived” from the Father. This is utter blasphemy! There is not a single hint in the entire Bible, to even suggest that the Father is in any way “primary” in the Godhead, and “greater” than Jesus Christ. Only during the Incarnation, Jesus Christ “humbled Himself”, as the God-Man, at which time He was “subordinate” to the Father; though completely coequal as Almighty God.

    It is important to know, that the Nicene Creed, is based on the “creed” the Caesarean Creed of Eusebius, the historian, who was very much sympatric to the arch heretic, Arius! For the sake of compromise, and a fake “unity”, the Orthodox Church allowed this heretical “creed’s” language to be included in the Nicene Creed.

    In 381 AD, we have the Creed of Constantinople, which focused on the Person of the Holy Spirit, especially to His Deity. In this Creed, there is a phrase on the Holy Spirit, “τὸ ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον”, “Who proceeds from the Father”. This is meant to be from Jesus’ own words in John 15:26. However, Jesus words are: “ὃ παρὰ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορεύεται”. Note the preposition that Jesus uses, “παρὰ”, which means, “from beside” the Father. This “Creed” has perverted the words of Jesus Christ, by changing this to, “ἐκ”, to show that the Holy Spirit is “derived” from the substance of the Father, and is therefore “subordinate” to Him in the Eternal Godhead!

    Biblically and theologically, if at any time, God the Father did “beget”, or “generate” the Son, in the Godhead, in eternity past, then there is no way that Jesus Christ can be GOD, and must be a created person. Nor can Jesus Christ ever be equal with the Father, as the teaching of “eternal generation”, is that the Father is the “source” of the Son, and therefore is alone God in the fullest sense of the word. This is totally against the very clear Teachings in the 66 Books of the Holy Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, where Jesus Christ is YHWH, and 100% COEQUAL with the Father and Holy Spirit in the Eternal Godhead.

    The Greek adjective, “monogenēs”, is used 9 times in the entire New Testament, Luke 7:12, 8:42, 9:38; John 1:14, 18, 3:16, 18; Hebrews 11:17, 1 John 4:9. Out of these, only in the Writings of the Apostle John, is it used for Jesus Christ.

    In the 3 passages in Luke, “monogenēs” is used for any “only” child. The verse in Hebrews is used for Isaac, a son of Abraham, where Versions like the King James, wrongly read, “only begotten”. Isaac is the second born son to Abraham, Ishmael was the Firstborn son.

    In the Greek Old Testament, known as the Septuagint Version (LXX), “monogenēs”, is only used 4 times to translate the Hebrew word, “yâchîyd”. In Judges 11:34, the King James has “only”. In Psalms 22:20 and 35:17, it reads, “my darling”. In Psalm 25:16, it reads, “desolate”. Not once does the King James read, “only Begotten”. “yâchîyd”, is used only 12 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, Genesis 22:2, 12, 16; Judges 11:34; Psalm 22:20, 25:16, 35:17, 68:6; Proverbs 4:3; Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10, and Zechariah 12:10. In these instances, the King James uses words like, “darling, desolate, only, solitary”, but never, “begotten”. In the passage in Genesis 22, when used for Isaac, the King James has, “only”, in each place. So, why did they translate the Greek “monogenēs, in Hebrews 11:17, which refers to this passage in Genesis, by, “only begotten”?

    For the sake of word usage, the Apocryphal Old Testament, from the Greek, which was included in the 1611, King James Version, between the Two Testaments, “monogenēs, is used at least 6 times. In this edition of the King James, it uses, “only, one only, only begotten, alone desolate”. The one place that it has, “only begotten”, Tobit 8:17, “only” would have sufficed, as in the NRSV, “Blessed are you because you had compassion on two only children”

    In the 3 places in Luke’s Gospel, the King James reads, “only”. In the other places, it reads, “only begotten”. The reference in Hebrews, is Isaac, who was the second son of Abraham, who has 12 sons. So, it is incorrect that “monogenēs” is translated as “only begotten” here, because Isaac was not the only child of Abraham.

    In the Old Latin New Testament, “monogenēs”, is translated by, “unicus”, from where we get the English, “inique”. In the 4th century, when the scholar Jerome produced his Latin Vulgate, he used the Latin, “unigenitus”, which answers to the Greek, “monogennētos”.
     
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  2. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

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    Cont...

    In Bible translations like the King James, and some of the older ones, translate “monogenēs”, only when used for Jesus Christ, as “only begotten”. In the other instances it is usually, “only”, with a few exceptions.

    On the meaning of “monogenēs”, we have:

    "the only member of am kin or kind: hence, generally, only, single, unique" (H G Liddell and R Scott; A Greek-English Lexicon, p.1144. Revised Edition)

    "Lit. it means 'of a single kind', and could even be used in this sense of the Phoenix (1 Clem.25.2). It is only distantly related to gennao, beget. The idea of 'only begotten' goes back to Jerome who used unigenitus in the Vulg. to counter the Arian claim that Jesus was not begotten but made" (Colin Brown, Ed., The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. II, p. 725)

    "Single of its kind, only; used of only sons or daughters...used of Christ, denotes the only son of God or one who in the sense in which he himself is the son of God has no brethren" (J H Thayer; Greek-English Lexicon, p.417)

    "only...Also unique (in kind) of someth. that it the only example of its category...'unique and alone'" (W F Ardnt and F W Gingrich; A Greek-English Lexicon, p.529)

    "The Usage outside the NT. In compounds with genēs, adverbs describe the nature rather than the source of derivation. Hence monogenēs is used for the only child. More generally it means “unique” or “incomparable.” The LXX has the first sense in Judg. 11:34 and the second in Ps. 22:20. agapētós occurs in Gen. 22:2, 12 where monogenḗs might have been used (cf. Mk. 1:11), but while the only child may be “beloved,” the terms are not synonymous." (G Kittel and G Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, p. 607. single vol ed)

    “Μονογενής means only, one of a kind, unique (derived from μόνος and γένος). This basic meaning is found in Plato Ti. 92c (of the heaven: εἷς οὐρανὸς ὅδε μονογενής); Wis 7:22 (of the Spirit of Wisdom); Cornutus Theologia Graeca 27 [49:13] (of this one and only world: εἷς καὶ μονογενὴς ὁ κόσμος; likewise Plutarch Moralia 423a); 1 Clem. 25:2 (of the phoenix).

    (Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament)

    For the Lord Jesus Christ, the definitions given by Kittel, “unique” or “incomparable”, are the best.

    In John’s Gospel, the very first verse clearly teaches the Eternity of Jesus Christ, “en archēi ēn ho logos”, “in the beginning was the Word”. This “beginning” is not Genesis 1:1, which is the Creation of the Universe, as this is in John 1:3. This is eternity past, as seen in the words of Jesus in John 17:5, “Now, Father, Glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You before the world existed”. For those who doubt the absolute Deity of Jesus Christ, and His coequality with the Father, this one verse should remove any doubts. Jesus says that He had the SAME Glory that the Father has, which they have JOINTLY, since Eternity past! No one who is not Himself YHWH, can ever utter these words.

    Back to John 1:1, we then read, “ho logos pros ton theon”, “the Word was in the presence of God the Father”, which shows their distinction as Persons. And then John goes on to say, “kai theos ēn ho logos”. There are some who totally misunderstand what John writes here. Had John written, “ho theos ēn ho logos”, then John would have meant by the repeated Greek article, “ho”, that “The Word” is “all of God”, and no one else, as the two terms would be interchangeable, each having the article. However, in the previous sentence, John as already show the distinction between “the Word” and “the God”. The use of “theos”, here without the article, is for the purpose of showing, WHO “the Word” is, that He is also GOD.

    In verse 14, John goes on to say, that this “Word”, Who is “Almighty God”, as the Father, “became flesh”, at the Incarnation, through the Virgin Mary.

    In verse 18, the original reading has, “theon oudeis heōraken pōpote ho monogenēs theos ho ōn eis ton kolpon tou patros ekinos exēgēsato”. Literally, “God no one has ever seen, the Unique God Who is forever in close relation with the Father, He has revealed”.

    In this verse, which has the oldest and best textual support for “ho monogenēs theos”, shows the UNIQUENESS of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is Eternally Almighty God, and Coequal with the Father, becomes Incarnate, as The God-Man, fully God and fully Man, except for sin, as before the Fall. As the Apostle Paul writes, "God was manifested in the flesh", as in the Original.

    This verse also shows, against the heresy of “Unitarianism”, that there are TWO distinct Persons, Who are both called GOD. Note, that neither case is the definite Greek article used (theon, theos), which focuses on the Essential Deity of the Father and Jesus Christ.
     
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  3. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Jesus is the uniquely divine "son of God" but not the only "son of God" as the first man "Adam" was also a "son of God" and every born anew believer is also a "son of God." When the word is used to describe others (not Jesus) "unique" works, and when used to describe Jesus, "uniquely divine" works.
     
  4. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    Which Etymology of Monogenes is Correct?

    μονογενης is a Greek adjective consisting of the two parts, μονο (mono) and γενης (genes). There is no argument regarding the derivation of the first part of the word; it is from the Greek word μονον (monon), an adverb meaning ‘only’. The difference of opinion only arises in regard to the second part of the word, γενης. The traditional view is that γενης is to be derived from the Greek verb γενναω (‘to beget’), so that μονογενης means ‘only begotten’. But the more recent view is that γενης is derived from γενος, meaning ‘class’, ‘sort’, ‘kind’, so that μονογενης must mean ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’. In support of this latter view, some point out that γενος has only a single ν (the Greek letter, pronounced ‘nu’), as does μονογενης, while γενναω has two νs.2 So which etymology is correct?

    Firstly, the difference between the two etymologies is not as great as may at first appear. The difference is accentuated by choosing, from the range of possible meanings for γενος, only those meanings which do not explicitly include the concept of ‘begetting’, such as ‘class’, ‘sort’, ‘kind’. But in fact γενος may also mean ‘offspring’, ‘posterity’, ‘race’, ‘stock’, ‘kin’, where the concept of ‘begetting’ or ‘derivation by birth’ is quite evidently included.3 If such meanings were taken for γενος, then even if μονογενης is derived from γενος the meaning will still be ‘only offspring’, ‘only posterity’, etc., which are equivalent to ‘only begotten’.

    Secondly, the claim that the γενης ending of μονογενης is to be derived from γενος, with the meaning ‘class’, ‘sort’, ‘kind’, may be tested by examining the meaning of the γενης ending in similar Greek adjectives which also have the same two-part structure. 4 The following is a list of such adjectives:5

    αγεvης: not of noble birth; low born
    αγεvvης: low born
    δuσYεvηç: low born
    δuσγεvης: well born, high born
    oµoγεvης: of the same race or family
    παλιγεvης: born again, generated anew
    πoλuγεvης: of many families
    πpoγεvης: born before
    πpωτoγεvης: first born
    σuγγεvης: related, akin

    It may be observed that in all these words the concept of ‘begetting’ or ‘derivation by birth’ is clearly present. So how may it be confidently asserted that μονογενης does not contain the concept of ‘begetting’? The assertion does not appear to be confirmed by objective evidence. On the contrary, the evidence indicates that the concept of ‘begetting’ or ‘derivation by birth’ certainly can be conveyed by the γενης ending. It is therefore entirely possible that μονογενης means ‘only begotten’.

    It may be also asked whether those who insist that the γενης ending in μονογενης is to be derived from γενος, with the meaning ‘class’, ‘sort’, ‘kind’, are as eager to insist on the same etymology for the words in the above list. Will it be insisted that εuγενης, for example, must mean ‘of a good sort’ rather than ‘well born’? In general, such will not be insisted upon. This is not only because it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to do so—the concept of ‘begotten’ being so clearly present in each of the words—but also because the words do not have the same theological significance that μονογενης has.6 So here is an evident inconsistency, and an inconsistency that indicates that the etymology is neither impartial nor scientific.

    It may be observed from this list of words ending in γενης that the similar meanings of αγενης and αγεννης indicates that no particular significance should be attached to the single ν as opposed to the doubled ν. There are numerous other Greek words from which the same inference may be drawn. For example, γενετης and γεννετης, both mean ‘begetter’, ‘parent’, though one has a single ν and in the other the ν is doubled. Also, it may be noted that γενε τη means ‘birth’, although it has only one ν. Hence, the argument that μονογενης is to be derived from γενος, meaning ‘class’, ‘sort’, ‘kind’, because both words have only a single ν, and could not be derived from γενναω meaning to ‘beget’ because it has two νs, is a facile argument, incapable of being substantiated by the linguistic evidence.

    From this examination of the two etymologies for μονογενης, it may be concluded that the meaning ‘only begotten’ is entirely possible. Certainly there are no grounds for summarily dismissing that meaning as is often done. On the other hand, the etymology of μονογενης which insists on deriving the γενης ending from γενος and then arbitrarily restricts the possible meanings of γενος within a narrow range, though those same meanings are not applied to other similar Greek words, cannot be considered an impartial or scientific etymology.

    One final point may be made on the etymological question. Some have argued that the correct Greek word for ‘only begotten’ should be μονογεννετος, and not μονογενης.7 But perhaps no argument in this debate over etymology more undermines the position it was advanced to defend. This is due to the simple fact that μονογεννετος never actually occurs either in the New Testament or anywhere else in ancient Greek literature. There are only two possible explanations for this non-occurrence. The first is that the Greeks never had a concept of ‘only begotten’. This seems unlikely since they certainly have a concept of ‘begetting’: so why would they not have a concept of ‘only begotten’?8 The second is that, assuming the Greeks did have a word for ‘only begotten’, the reason μονογεννετος never appears is simply because μονογενης was the Greek word used with that meaning. There are no other reasonable alternatives. Ironically, then, the insistence that the correct word for ‘only begotten’ must be μονογεννετος and not μονογενης actually lends support to μονογενης being the correct word.

    1. D. Moody, ‘God’s Only Son: The Translation of John 3:16 in the Revised Standard Version’, Journal of Biblical Literature, lxxii, Dec. 1953, pp. 213–19; R. Longenecker, ‘The One and Only Son’, Ch. 11 in E. H. Palmer, The NIV: The Making of a Contemporary Translation (Colorado Springs, CO, USA: International Bible Society, 1991), p. 122; Murray J. Harris, Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Baker Book House, 1992), pp. 84–87.

    2. J. R. White, The Forgotten Trinity (Minneapolis, MN, USA: Bethany House Publishers, 1998), pp. 210–202.

    3. H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1992). See also the following New Testament uses of γενος where the word means ‘offspring’: Acts 17.28–29, Revelation 22.16.

    4. All these compound adjectives also have an adverb in the first part of the word and γενης in the second part, so they are entirely comparable with μονογενης.

    5. This is not a complete list but a sample list. Not all of these adjectives appear in the New Testament.

    6. For more on this point, see below under the heading ‘The Theological Motive’.

    7. J. H. Moulton and G. Milligan, The Vocabulary of the New Testament (London, England: Hodder and Stroughton, 1929), pp. 416–17.

    8. In fact in Modern Greek μονογενης may still be used as an adjective qualifying ‘son’ or ‘daughter’ and the meaning is ‘only begotten son/daughter’. See Dictionary of Standard Modern Greek, Institute of Modern Greek Studies, Thessalonica, which may be searched online at www.greek-language.gr/greekLang/modern_greek/tools/lexica/triantafyllides/index.html.

    From: https://www.tbsbibles.org/page/Monogenes
     
  5. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    John 1.14: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten [μονογενης] of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    Who better that the ‘only begotten of the Father’ to reflect the glory of the Father? Who but the ‘only begotten of the Father’ would be so ‘full of grace and truth’? John speaks here of Christ in relation to the Father. What more natural than that the concept of ‘begotten’ should be present in such a context? But if the meaning is ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’ son, how does that give so clear a ground for His having the same glory as the Father? Precisely what is the relation of this ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’ Son to the Father? It is certainly clear how the ‘only begotten of the Father’ should have the same glory as the Father, but not quite so clear in the case of a ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’ Son.

    Again, the comparison of the two possible meanings shows that ‘only begotten’ suits the context better.

    better.

    John 1.18: No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten [μονογενης] Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

    Who but the ‘only begotten Son’ would be ‘in the bosom of the Father’; and who but the ‘only begotten Son’ would faithfully and authoritatively ‘declare’ the Father? What is spoken here of the Son is precisely what one would expect of an ‘only begotten Son’. But would the ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’ son suit the context as well? It is certainly vaguer and does not give so clear a ground as to why this son is ‘in the bosom of the Father’ or what authority he might have to ‘declare’ him. The comparison of the two possible meanings again shows that ‘only begotten’ gives the better sense in the context.
     
  6. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

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    μονογενης never means onlybegotten. The OP is very clear to disprove this error
     
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  7. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    Obviously, you must be driven more by a theological motive
    than by impartial consideration of the evidence,
    or you're just bluffing, which would look better on you if you were, actually.


    In more recent times some scholars have advanced the view that the Greek word μονογενης (monogenes) does not mean ‘only begotten’, as in the Authorised (King James) Version, but ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’ or something equivalent which omits the concept of ‘begotten’.1

    These articles considers whether the concept of ‘begetting’ or ‘derivation by birth’ properly belongs to μονογενης, or whether the word simply means ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’.

    Both the etymology and usage of μονογενης are examined.

    It is concluded that the concept of ‘begetting’ or ‘derivation by birth’ does properly belong to μονογενης, so that it is correctly translated ‘only begotten’,

    and that translations which omit the concept of ‘begotten’ are probably driven more by a theological motive than by impartial consideration of the evidence.

    I think you might have missed something along the way.

    μονογενης is a Greek adjective consisting of the two parts, μονο (mono) and γενης (genes).

    There is no argument regarding the derivation of the first part of the word; it is from the Greek word μονον (monon), an adverb meaning ‘only’.

    The difference of opinion only arises in regard to the second part of the word, γενης.

    The traditional view is that γενης is to be derived from the Greek verb γενναω (‘to beget’), so that μονογενης means ‘only begotten’.

    But the more recent view is that γενης is derived from γενος, meaning ‘class’, ‘sort’, ‘kind’, so that μονογενης must mean ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’.

    In support of this latter view, some point out that γενος has only a single ν
    (the Greek letter, pronounced ‘nu’), as does μονογενης, while γενναω has two νs.2

    See remainder at:
    Monogenēs: Unique, Not Only-Begotten

    If an impartial consideration of the etymology and usage indicates that the concept of ‘begotten’ is indeed present in inspector, how are we to account for some scholars confidently affirming the contrary?

    It can only be accounted for by the influence of a motive
    beyond the objective evidence.

    Such a motive would be an overriding theological one.


    If the Son is ‘begotten’ of the Father, then he is of the same substance or essence as the Father (homoousios).

    But the doctrine of the Son being of the same substance as the Father is the very doctrine which anti-Trinitarians (Arians, Socinians, Unitarians, etc.) are eager to deny.

    They hold the erroneous view that the Son is a creature created by God, and therefore not of the same substance as the Father.13

    But ‘creating’ and ‘begetting’ are two very different things.

    A man may ‘create’ something, such as a work of art, which will bear the stamp of his character upon it as his creation, but it does not partake of the same nature as the man.

    But if a man ‘begets’ a son, the son does partake of the same nature as the father.

    Thus the language of Scripture that Christ is begotten’ of the Father is very deliberate in communicating an important truth, that is, that the Son and the Father are of the same essence or substance.

    Some today who would not rank themselves amongst those that deny the Scriptural doctrine of the Trinity nevertheless support the meaning of μονογενης as ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’.

    They think that by denying the concept of ‘begotten’ to the word they avoid the heretical notion that Christ was begotten at some distinct point in time—an idea held by some anti-Trinitarians.14


    But we are not at liberty to adjust a doctrine plainly taught in Scripture
    because of the perceived adverse consequences of holding that doctrine.


    If the Scripture clearly teaches that the Son is the ‘only begotten’ of the Father, then that doctrine must be embraced.

    But the doctrine must not be pressed beyond its proper Scriptural bounds.

    For at the same time that the Scripture declares the Son to be the ‘only begotten’ of the Father, it nowhere indicates that such ‘begetting’ occurred in time or that there was a time when the Father was without the Son.



    1. D. Moody, ‘God’s Only Son: The Translation of John 3:16 in the Revised Standard Version’, Journal of Biblical Literature, lxxii, Dec. 1953, pp. 213–19;

    R. Longenecker, ‘The One and Only Son’, Ch. 11 in E. H. Palmer, The NIV: The Making of a Contemporary Translation (Colorado Springs, CO, USA: International Bible Society, 1991), p. 122;

    Murray J. Harris, Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Baker Book House, 1992), pp. 84–87.

    2. J. R. White, The Forgotten Trinity (Minneapolis, MN, USA: Bethany House Publishers, 1998), pp. 210–202.

    13. Arians use the term ‘begotten’ of the Son,
    but not with its correct meaning, for they use it as if it meant ‘created’.

    They also deny that the Son is ‘eternally begotten’ of the Father;
    that is, they believe there was a time when the Father was without the Son.

    14. But even if the concept of ‘begotten’ be denied to μονογενης
    that will not remove the difficulty, for Christ is elsewhere spoken of
    as ‘begotten’: Psalm 2.7, Hebrews 1.5–6.


     
  8. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    Hebrews 11.17:

    "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac:
    and he that had received the promises offered up
    his only begotten [μονογενης] son,"


    Those who deny μονογενης means ‘only begotten’ make much of this verse, claiming that μονογενης here clearly cannot have the meaning ‘only begotten’.

    They point out that Isaac was not Abraham’s ‘only begotten son’,
    because when God commanded him to offer up Isaac,
    Abraham had another son, Ishmael.

    Further, they claim that to insist on the translation ‘only begotten’ here
    would be to introduce a contradiction into the Scripture
    and that the correct translation of μονογενης must therefore be ‘unique’,
    since Isaac was the ‘unique’ son of Abraham,
    being the son through whom God had made His promises to Abraham.

    Having confidently established from this verse
    that the meaning of μονογενης must be ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’,
    they then apply that meaning to every other verse in Scripture
    where μονογενης occurs.

    But this is strange reasoning.

    If we do not immediately understand how ‘only begotten’
    can be the meaning at Hebrews 11.17, must we hence conclude
    that that cannot be the meaning of μονογενης here
    or anywhere else in Scripture, despite plain evidence to the contrary?

    How can it be reasonable to overturn the evidence that μονογενης
    means ‘only begotten’ from other parts of Scripture
    merely upon the evidence of this one verse?

    It would be more reasonable to try to understand how ‘only begotten’
    might in fact be the correct meaning of the word in Hebrews 11.17.

    After all, the problem is not just in Hebrews 11.17,
    but also in the Old Testament account of Abraham offering up Isaac
    to which Hebrews 11.17 refers.

    In Genesis 22.2,12,16, God calls Isaac Abraham’s ‘only son’,
    though Ishmael was born before him.

    Will the translation ‘only son’ at Genesis 22.2,12,16
    also be objected to on the ground that it introduces a contradiction
    into the Scriptures?

    Or should it not rather be enquired in what sense Isaac
    might be called Abraham’s ‘only son’ in Genesis 22.2,12,16,
    just as he might also be called his ‘only begotten son’ in Hebrews 11.17?

    Isaac was the son through whom God’s promises to Abraham
    would be fulfilled and by whom his descendants would be known.

    Abraham’s seed was to be reckoned through Isaac alone
    (Genesis 21.12, Hebrews 11.18).

    Thus, it was as if Abraham had no other offspring,
    at least none that were reckoned to him as sons.

    Probably for this reason, Isaac is called Abraham’s ‘only son
    in Genesis 22.2,12,16 and his ‘only begotten son’ in Hebrews 11.17.
    10


    Isaac was not Abraham’s ‘only begotten son’ in an absolute sense,
    but he was his ‘only begotten son’ in the very important sense

    of the one through whom God’s promises to Abraham would be fulfilled.
    11


    Since a principal focus of Scripture is the history of redemption
    from promise to fulfilment, and since the promises to Abraham
    are an important part of that history, it is quite natural
    that this sense should take precedence over any other
    .

    10. Calvin in his commentary on Hebrews
    gives another explanation for why Isaac is called the ‘only begotten’ of Abraham.

    He comments: ‘by God’s express command he (i.e. Ishmael)
    was driven from the family, so that he was accounted as one dead,
    at least he held no place among Abraham’s children.’

    (Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews
    (Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Baker Book House, 1979, p. 287.)

    11. This would not be the only occasion in Scripture
    where a word is not to be taken in an absolute sense,
    but some restriction of the meaning must be understood.

    (cf. ‘all’ in Matthew 3.5, John 12.32; ‘everywhere’ in Acts 21.28, 28.22).
     
  9. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

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    how much Greek do YOU actually know?

    I have shown in the OP, from the use μονογενής, in the LXX, Apocryphal OT and New Testament, that not ONCE does this adjective have the meaning of "onlybegotten". I have also shown, that there is a correct Greek word, "μονογέννητος", which does denote "begetting", but it is not used.

    If you are trying to justify the KJV's "onlybegotten", then you are doing so THEOLOGICALLY, and not because of the use in Greek language.

    You can quote 1000 different "authorities" who might argue for "onlybegotten", and I will say that ALL 1000 are 100% WRONG!
     
  10. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    What about that?

    What about that?

    What about that?

    One would like to think that translators who have a high view of scripture would not simply cut out an important word for fear that it would be misinterpreted,
    but it does seem likely that this motive is at work here.

    And the fears are certainly justified. I notice that in the Moody Handbook of Theology (Moody Bible Institute, 1989), Paul Enns in his explanation of the Trinity rightly explains that “the Son is eternally begotten from the Father (John 1:18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9).

    The term generation suggests the Trinitarian relationship in that the Son is eternally begotten of the Father” (p. 200).

    But two pages later when he begins to deal with “those who deny the Trinity” on account of “problematic terms” which “seem to imply that Christ is inferior to the Father,” he asserts that “It is with reference to the humanity of Christ that the term begotten is used; it could never be used with reference to his deity.

    Begotten does not relate to Jesus’ being the Son of God.” (p. 202)

    He then goes on to explain that monogenes in John 1:14, 18, 3:16
    and 1 John 4:9 means “unique” and not “only-begotten” (p. 203).

    Enns contradicts himself here, evidently because he is not really familiar with the doctrine of the eternal begetting and its Scriptural basis.

    If this is the case with writers of popular theological handbooks, how can untutored laymen be expected to interpret the “begetting” language of Scripture in an orthodox way?

    But this is where the teaching ministry of the church must come in.

    It must not be supposed that all translators who have preferred “only” over “only begotten” are deliberately undertranslating the word μονογενής for theological reasons.

    Many translators simply wish to keep their translations simple and idiomatic, and the word “begotten” does not commend itself to those who are trying to translate the text into a familiar and contemporary style of English.

    It may also be that some translators prefer to leave out the “begotten” because they fear that laymen will misinterpret this to mean that the Son had a beginning in time.

    Unfortunately, by failing to convey the “begotten” component of meaning in the word μονογενής they are in effect discarding centuries of careful theological exegesis, and it seems that we can hardly afford this loss in our generation.

    We need more theological literacy in the churches today, and it is not helpful when translators strip theologically important words from the text of the English Bible.

    The rendering “only begotten,” or some other equivalent expression, should at least be indicated in the footnotes of English versions, and it is the duty of pastors to explain what this means.

    I will argue that the rendering “one and only”, or "unique", etc.,
    are semantically reductionistic and theologically inadequate
    .

    con't
     
  11. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

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    What about that?

    simply put, no matter how many "authorities" you quote from, μονογενής can NEVER mean "only begotten, there is NO "begetting" in this Greek adjective!

    It is very obvious from your comments, that you don't know Greek for yourself, and very much WRONG!

    I won't be wasting any more time with you on this, as you are not interested in knowing the TRUTH on the actual meaning of μονογενής
     
  12. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

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    is RANK HERESY!
     
  13. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    The Greek word μονογενής is an adjective compounded of μονος “only” and γενος “species, race, family, offspring, kind.”

    In usage, with few exceptions it refers to an only son or daughter. When used in reference to a son, it cannot mean “one of a kind,” because the parent is also of the same kind. The meaning is, the son is the only offspring of the parent, not the only existing person of his kind.

    And so in the Greek translation of the book of Tobit, when Raguel praises God for having mercy on δυο μονογενεις (8:17), he does not mean that his daughter Sara and Tobias were two “unique” persons; he means that
    they were both only-begotten children of their fathers.

    In Luke’s Gospel, the word is used in reference to an only child
    in 7:12, 8:42, and 9:38.

    In the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is said that when Abraham
    was ready to sacrifice Isaac he was offering up
    τον μονογενή, “his only-begotten” (11:17), because although Abraham
    had another son, God had said that only in Isaac shall Abraham’s seed
    (σπερμα) be named.

    (Πίστει προσενήνοχεν Ἀβραὰμ τὸν Ἰσαὰκ πειραζόμενος, καὶ τὸν μονογενῆ προσέφερεν ὁ τὰς ἐπαγγελίας ἀναδεξάμενος, πρὸς ὃν ἐλαλήθη ὅτι Ἐν Ἰσαὰκ κληθήσεταί σοι σπέρμα).

    When the word μονογενής is used in reference to a son or daughter,
    it always means “only-begotten.”

    In four of the five places the word is used as an adjective modifying “Son,”
    and in one of these (1:18) the Son is said to be “in the bosom of the Father.”

    In the one place where it occurs as a substantive (1:14),
    it is followed by the prepositional phrase “from the Father,”
    which implies sonship.

    And so we see that in every occurrence John is using the word
    as a biological metaphor, in which Christ
    is the “Only Begotten Son” of the Father.

    Is there any doctrinal importance in this?

    Yes, there is.

    The biological metaphor, in which the Son (and only the Son)
    shares the genus of the Father, conveys the idea that Jesus Christ is a true genetic Son, having the same divine nature or essence as the Father.

    The meaning of the word μονογενὴς here is not just “only” or “one and only,”
    as in the RSV, NIV, and ESV translations.

    John is not saying that the Son is “one of a kind.”

    He is saying that Christ is the second of a kind, uniquely sharing the genus
    of the Father because he is the only begotten Son of the Father,
    as in the KJV, ERV, and NASB.

    In the early centuries of Christianity, this point of exegesis acquired great importance. During the fourth century a teaching known as the Arian heresy
    (which maintained that the Son was a created being) threatened the Church,
    and in response to it the orthodox Fathers emphasized that the Scripture
    speaks of a begetting of the Son, not a creation.

    On that Scriptural basis they maintained that the Son must be understood
    to be of the same essence as the Father (ὁμοούσιος τῷ πατρί).

    They further explained that when Scripture speaks of this “begetting” it refers to something taking place in eternity, not within time, and so there were never a time when the Father was without the Son.

    Athanasius in his Defence of the Nicene Definition (ca. 353), points to the word μονογενής in John 1:14 as one Scriptural proof for the teaching.

    It has been shown above, and must be believed as true, that the Word
    is from the Father, and the only Offspring proper to Him and natural.

    For whence may one conceive the Son to be, who is the Wisdom
    and the Word, in whom all things came to be, but from God Himself?

    However, the Scriptures also teach us this....
    John in saying, “The Only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father,
    He hath declared Him,” spoke of what He had learned from the Saviour.

    Besides, what else does “in the bosom” intimate,
    but the Son’s genuine generation from the Father?

    The Westminster Confession reflects the Nicene teaching of the eternal generation of the Son in one of its paragraphs concerning the Trinity:

    “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance,
    power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost:

    the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding;

    the Son is eternally begotten of the Father;

    the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.”
    (chapter 2, paragraph 3.)

    In this confession, a Scripture reference following the words
    “eternally begotten of the Father” points to John 1:14 and 1:18,
    as support for the doctrine.

    If the word “begotten” as applied to Christ has had such importance in the history of Christian doctrine, why have some modern versions of the Bible omitted the “begotten” in their renderings of the verses quoted above?

    Athanasius and the other Greek Fathers of the early fourth century did not need any Latin version to interpret this word for them, and in their disputes with the Arians they frequently explained it in the sense, “only-begotten,” with exegetical emphasis on the “begotten.”

    In one place Athanasius says very plainly that Christ is called “Only-begotten, because of his generation from the Father.”

    In other places his use of the word is so connected with other words for “begetting” that it is impossible to suppose that it did not carry
    the meaning “only begotten.”

    If this were not enough, modern scholarly support for this understanding
    of the word is certainly not lacking either.

    “Only-begotten” is given as a sense for μονογενής
    in Lust’s Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint
    (2nd ed., Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2003).

    In the 2nd ed. of the BAGD lexicon (1979) it is said that “the meanings only, unique may be quite adequate for all its occurrences” in the Johannine literature (p. 527), but the lexicon also presents the traditional view, in which the word is understood to mean “only-begotten.”

    See also the article on monogenes by Büchsel in Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 4, pp. 737-41. Büchsel concludes that in John’s Gospel the word denotes “more than the uniqueness or incomparability of Jesus,” because it also “denotes the origin of Jesus ... as the only-begotten.”

    For a full discussion of this matter see John V. Dahms, “The Johannine Use of Monogenes Reconsidered,” New Testament Studies 29 (1983), pp. 222-232.

    Dahms concludes, “the external evidence, especially from Philo, Justin,
    and Tertullian, and the internal evidence from the context of its occurrences, makes clear that ‘only begotten’ is the most accurate translation after all.”

    On the popular level, the recently published Reformation Study Bible
    (Ligonier Ministries, 2005), edited by a panel of respected conservative scholars, includes this note on the phrase “the only Son” in John 1:14

    “This phrase translates a single Greek word and explicitly
    points to the eternal generation of the Son in the Trinity.”

    The truth is, those who do not acknowledge this meaning
    of the word μονογενής in the Johannine writings
    are themselves dogmatically motivated.


    Their preferred translation—“only”—is an undertranslation
    which hides from view a Scriptural
    datum that supports
    the Christology of the ancient Creed
    but which happens to be unpopular with modern theologians.
     
  14. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    Wow. You don't know your Bible, either?

    What about that?

    ...you can't handle the truth...
     
  15. MrW

    MrW Well-Known Member

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    I call the Lord Jesus the only begotten Son of God, because He is the express image of God, and miraculously born of Mary.

    I don’t call Him God’s only son, because God has many sons by faith in Jesus Christ, including me.
     
  16. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

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    Jesus Christ in His Incarnation, is the UNIQUE Son of God, He has no equal.

    However, He has existed from all eternity and is 100% Coequal, coeternal and coessential with the Father and Holy Spirit.
    In the Eternal Godhead, the Father is not "greater" than Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit, they are Three distinct COEQUAL Persons
     
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  17. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    In being the same God.

    But in the incarnation the Son being 100% man, no, per John 13:16, ". . . Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. . . .

    John 17:3, ". . . And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. . . ."

    John 1:9-10, ". . . the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. . . ."

    John 10:29-30, ". . . My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. . . ."​
     
    #17 37818, Jan 16, 2024
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2024
  18. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

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    What point are you trying to make
     
  19. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    The Son of God and God are distinct persons. And they are the same God.
     
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  20. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

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    The Father Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct equal Persons and One Godhead or Divine Nature
     
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