Our Lord Jesus Christ: Eternal God Without Beginning or End
The Son of God was not and is not a created being. His divine nature has existed from all eternity. He is Eternal God manifested to us in the flesh as Jesus Christ. God has revealed Himself in His word as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. There never was a time when God the Son did not exist.
"Monogenes" (Greek: only begotten) as it refers to our Lord Jesus Christ is a term denoting authority and rank, not a term of origin or creation or coming into existence at some point in time . This term is used to describe the authority of Christ as the "Co-Equal One with the Father" as Christ said "I and my Father are ONE" All the power and glory and honor that God the Father has in terms of deity belongs to the God the Son equally.
Our Lord had no Creator. He was the Creator. He, as the "Logos", (the Word), is the visible unique, final, only, and ultimate revelation of God who came to dwell among us as Jesus Christ. No one has seen the Father, but the Son. The glory of the Father is the glory of the Son. By the Son all things were created that are created. As the "Arche" (Greek: ruler) of the creation of God, He is the "chief" or "supreme One" or "ruler" of the creation of God (Revelation 3:14)
As the "Prototokos" (Greek: first born), Jesus Christ is now the "first born son" of the redeemed human family, the one who has restored all that the original "first born son" Adam had lost due to his rebellion and sin. Christ is the head of the church, the elect body of Christ. Because of His humiliation in His incarnation and substitutionary death on the cross, Christ as the "second Adam", the new first born son, has purchased the legal right for the redeemed community to be restored to its Eden paradise.
God did not create the Son of God and then send Him into the world to die for our sins. God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ was clothed in human nature and came into the world as the man Jesus Christ to suffer and die for us to provide an atoning sacrifice and substitute for all who would trust in Him as Savior and Lord. When Christ's human nature died upon the cross divine justice was fully satisfied.
What Godly sacrifice would it have been if God had appointed a created being to pay our debt to the holy Law of God? No created being could have made an atonement for our sins!!! God did not confer Divinity upon Christ and then send Him into the world as the semi-Arians erroneously insinuate. No! No! God was and is and always will be Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ was and is and always will be eternal God. As Christ said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." The disciples worshipped Christ and He did not rebuke them. When Thomas beheld the wounds of our Lord he proclaimed "My Lord and My God". Thomas was not cursing. He was declaring that Christ was in fact his Lord and his God.
Paul the apostle declared to Timothy the eternal divinity of Christ, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.1 Timothy 3:16 16
We Christians would not be fulfilling our duty not to warn against the Arianism which is seeking to enter the Christian church through false teachers who would deceive those who lack a correct knowledge of the scriptures. Those who will not acknowledge the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are proclaiming a false christ, an "anti-christ", and there is no other way to look at this matter. Christ is either who He said He is or He is a deceiver. He is either Lord or a lunatic. Jesus Christ is Lord!!
2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."
Is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ actually eternal God manifested in the flesh? See how Isaiah described the glory of the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!
Isaiah 6:1 "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims.... 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory."
John in his gospel speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ and then says that Isaiah saw His glory and spoke of Him,
John 12:41 "These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him (Jesus)."
This glory is none other than the glory of Jesus Christ who is LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, Yahweh, the "I am" of the Old Testament revelation of God to Moses and the prophets. He is the Alpha and the Omega of the revelation of God.
This is why we who repent of our sins are baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. God the Father has revealed Himself to us through the Son and seals us in the Holy Spirit who is the down payment of our inheritance until the purchased possession to the praise of His glory on the last Day.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, though the Express Image of the Father's person did not consider His equality with the Father as something to be grasped. As the apostle Paul says
"Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; 8 and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore also God highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the name which is above every name; 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:5-11
John the apostle declared the eternal Godhood of the Son of God in his opening introduction to the Gospel of John 1:1
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended (extinguished or overcame) it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. 11 He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. 12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
We are not to be deceived by those who deny the Godhood of our Lord Jesus Christ from eternity.
1 John 2:22 "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life. 26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you."
2 John 1:7 "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." Titus 2:13 "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
Again Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews declared our Lord to be LORD:
"And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him. 7 And of the angels He saith, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire. 8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail." Hebrews 1:6-12
To believe that God can make a created being into a God is the very basis of pantheism which is why those who are Arian often fall from Christianity into the New Age Movement, humanism, agnosticism, deism, or even eventually may become Muslims.
We as Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit, but we never become God. Christ did not "become" divine due to an infilling of the Holy Spirit either at His baptism or at His conception in the virgin Mary. The Holy Spirit created Christ's human nature in Mary but not His divine nature. The Word "tabernacled" among us and we are told to behold His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
His divinity and person as the Son of God was from eternity. It is a question left unanswered in the word of God how Christ could be both human and God. We believe it by faith alone. Christ was and is that unique "Holy One" that became flesh and dwelt among us because He loved us and gave Himself for us that we might be justified by faith in His perfect sinless life and His atoning death upon the cross. Who is sufficient for these things?
1Cor 2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
Transcendent and Emanant Qualities of God
There are generally speaking, two categories into which we can place the "qualities of being" about our God whom we love and worship. These categories are called His "Transcendent" qualities and His "Emanant" qualities.
By "Transcendent" qualities is meant those attributes of God's nature which are unknowable, such as where God came from, what is He made of, why He is who He is, and many, many other qualities about His person which we will never fathom even in eternity.
Deuteronomy 29:29 "There are secret things that belong to the LORD our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our descendants forever, so that we may obey these words of the law.
By "Emanant" is meant His qualities which we may know about. These knowable qualities are searchable and learnable from God's "Two Books", the Book of Nature and the Book of His Word, the Bible. It is only in these two books that we can know those things about God which He has revealed to us. These qualities are His "emanant" or revealed qualities. In God's word we find that God has revealed Himself and made Himself ultimately "knowable" only in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the "only begotten of the Father". From the time of Creation, God has dealt with Man only in the person of Jesus Christ. God has revealed Himself as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus Christ is spoken of as the "Word" of God. This means that Jesus Christ is the "Revelation" of the very essence of the "knowable", yet "unknowable" God. As our Lord has said "No man has seen the Father but the Son." It is only through the "emanant" Son (the One who has "proceeded forth" from the Father) that we can know the "transcendent" Father who dwells in light unapproachable and of whom it is said "no man has seen His face".
It is in this sense that Christ spoke of making known the Father whom no created being has ever seen. The Father dwells in unapproachable light. But the Son has always been the visible revelation of the invisible God. He declared the name of the Father and proclaimed the glory that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share as God.
Satan coveted that glory which Christ alone had. Christ did not covet that glory and think that it was something to be grasped or hung unto and seek to exalt in His own glory. He humbled Himself and took upon Himself the form of a servant and finally hung upon a Cross to reconcile all things in heaven and on earth unto God, having made peace through His shed blood.
So the issue of the eternal nature of Christ's divinity is not just something for armchair debaters to rationalize about and attempt to unravel. We are to "behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us" in the gift of Jesus Christ to redeem the human family. Pilate pointed to Jesus and said "Behold the Man". As we behold Him who suffered and died for our sins, who can not bow down before Him and worship Him who loved us with a love greater than death.
"When I survey the wondrous Cross
on which the Prince of Glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss
and pour contempt on all my pride.