An Open Letter to my Muslim Friend Part 3

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

(John 3:16 NIV)

john 3 16 pic 1

Good Morning Dear Friend,

You have asked me to compare the NRSV with the KJV….I have researched on my computer and found a chart with 38 different translations among other various sites both Christian and Muslim and this is what I have concluded regarding the word begotten….which really has not changed from our earlier conversations….

KJV of John 3:16……His only begotten Son….

NRSV of John 3:16…..Gave his only Son….

Other English translations also state….Gave his one and only Son…….

The New Testament was originally written in Greek.  The Greek word was monogenes….In Greek, this means one of a kind or unique.  The English word for Beget … a verb meaning to procreate or generate…..

The problem and the long debated disputes are created when people confuse the different languages…..the translation from the Greek word monogenes and the English word begotten…..

To change begotten to one and only….or only Son…. is still using the same language…..if it is accurately translated from the original Greek word monogenes….

Begotten did not refer to the birth of Jesus because He is the Son from eternity past….

Also…God is Spirit…so begotten can have a different meaning when used for God….

I also thought the following explanation was very helpful to me…..I hope it is for you too!!

…The “Only Begotten Son” Language. The second piece of evidence we must examine is the expression “only-begotten.” It is the Greek word “monogeneis.” This is not simply “begotten,” for that expression can be applied to all believers, those who have been begotten or born again by the Spirit. This is a unique expression for a unique person, the only-begotten Son of God. The expression appears in John 1:14, 4:18, 3:16, and 3:18. It would literally mean the “only generated one.” This is the key expression for the doctrine of “the eternal generation of the Son,” meaning, he always was the only begotten Son. The expression does not refer to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, because he is the Son from eternity past…..

Perhaps the language can be better understood if contrasted with synonyms. Take the verbs “make,” “create,” and “beget.” The verb “make” is general; one can make dinner, clothes, a house, or any other product. The “create” can have the same objects, but usually elevates the act to an art: one creates a masterpiece, or a work of art, or a symphony. While these creations bear the imprint of the creator, they do not share his nature. But “beget” is different. You can only beget a child that has the same nature as you have–a son or a daughter. There is nothing else you can beget (unless you were speaking very figuratively). Your son or your daughter will inherit his or her nature from you–genes, personality–all of it. You can use “make” or “create” for producing a child; but when you use “beget” it only means you produce a child that has your nature.

john 3 16 pic 4

Now follow this carefully. If Jesus is said to be the begotten Son of God (using the figure from human language to make the point), then Jesus has the same nature as the Father. If Jesus has the same nature as God the Father, then Jesus is divine and eternal as well. If he is eternally God, then there was never a time he was literally begotten–which is why we know the language is figurative to describe his nature, and not his beginning. To call Jesus “the only begotten Son” means that he is fully divine and eternal. He is God the Son.

This is why the creed says that Jesus was “begotten, not made.” Why? Because He is of one substance with the Father.

One more point. The word “begotten” has “only” (mono-) prefixed to it. There is only one. This means that Jesus has a unique relationship with the Father–they two along with the Holy Spirit make up the Godhead. You and I, if we are believers, have been born into the family of God–we are said to be begotten of God. But we are not “only-begotten.” That refers to Jesus’ divine nature. We were adopted by grace and given the divine nature by the Spirit so that we may be called the children of God. But Jesus–he is very God of very God. He is the only-begotten Son of God (that is the part of the creed that reads “of very God”), which means that he is God (that is the part that reads “very God”)….

Peace,

Kathy

 

Pain and Suffering I

world suffering pic 1

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

–Jesus Christ

 (John 16: 33 ESV)

“Even if you were aware of children and felt compassion, when you have your own, it multiplies.  It breaks your heart to know that there are so many children in the world suffering so much.”

–Penelope Cruz

I have heard many people say they do not understand…they simply cannot even comprehend… why a loving God would allow so much suffering and pain in this world…so because of this seemingly perplexing inconsistency, many simply choose not to believe in God.   They conclude there can be no God existing in a world which experiences so much gut-wrenching pain and catastrophic suffering. Suffering is unavoidable.  Suffering does not discriminate…pain and suffering will eventually come to one and all.   Suffering seems to destroy everything in its path… it actually renders the sufferer unable to simply carry on with the very essential basics of life….it destroys….shatters…. overwhelms….it quickly takes life as we know it completely away……it can rob us of life itself….

world suffering pic 2

“Why Do people hate God?  One, they hate the moral standard.  Two, they hate the way He’s transforming the world even in the midst of suffering and tragedy.”

–Kirk Cameron

Different cultures and religions have attempted to define suffering.  In fact, one way a culture serves its members is to attempt to define ways in which to face horrific pain and suffering.  Some cultures and religions teach pain and suffering stem from the failure of people to live rightly.  The doctrine of karma is an example of this.  Buddhism teaches that suffering comes not from past deeds but from unfulfilled desires and those actual desires are the result of the illusion that we are individual selves.  Some societies address suffering and pain with a high view of fate and destiny.  Circumstances in life are predicted by supernatural forces…as in Islam…the will of Allah.   Other cultures teach suffering is a battle between darkness and light.  Our own contemporary secular Western culture is greatly lacking when it comes to explaining why pain and suffering occurs.  Many Western people of today find the ultimate goal of life is happiness…and suffering prevents happiness from occurring…During the Enlightenment Period, there was a shift from the belief that people were created to serve God to the belief that God made the world for our benefit.  Our ancestors once believed suffering was a part of life…but today we find a world where the belief is that God is obligated to arrange things the way we would like them to be…..When suffering and pain is seen as senseless…victims and cultures of its destruction develop deep anger…and deep hatred…and this growing anger and hatred is known as ressentiment…..

“As I lay so sick on my bed, from Christmas till March, I was always praying for poor ole master.  Pears like i didn’t do nothing but pray for poor ole master.  Oh, Lord, convert ole master, Oh, dear Lord, change dat man’s  heart, and make him a Christian.”

–Harriet Tubman

human suffering pic 3

“I find the greatest songs in the world come out of pain, and I don’t like it!  Here’s what it does: its strips away all of your facade.  It makes you so honest.  It’s cleansing.”

–Lionel Richie 

Thus…pain and suffering has now become the single and strongest objection to the existence of God…..Why would a loving God allow pain and suffering in this world?

 Christianity differs from all other worldviews…..

Why?

  Because we have a God who Himself suffered and didn’t deserve the pain and suffering inflicted upon Him…..and the most difficult aspect of this to understand….to even begin to comprehend…..

God actually allowed this pain and suffering to happen…..

And what if ( just what if ) our acute awareness of pain and suffering is actually a clue that God does exist?

“Jesus wept.”

(John 11: 35 ESV)

To be continued…