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)

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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.

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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

 

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