The Father's Begotten Son
If you were to ask most Christians, 'Is Jesus the Son of God?' they would answer in the affirmative. Yes, Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God.
But if you began to probe --'When did He become the Son of God?' you would receive a number of answers.
If you were asking Roman Catholics or Protestants who accept the Creeds of Nicaea and Constantinople, their answer would be YES. But they believe Jesus is eternally God's Son, and is in fact, being begotten throughout eternity to this day. He is the "eternally begotten Son", according to the creed.
Many Adventists have not considered the question, except those who have been approached by non-Trinitarians or church leaders. The answer will be YES and NO.
When did Jesus become God's Son?
A few will answer, 'At His resurrection', but the majority will say, 'When He was born of Mary'.
Is this true?
It could be -- if Jesus was born a new creation of Mary by the Holy Ghost, He would be a God-man, and then you could call Him God's Son, providing the Trinitarian view of the Holy Ghost is believed. The Bible says, Mary “was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:18. And “that which was conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:20.
But this raises some questions.
Everyone knows the Holy Spirit was not the Father of Jesus, and we assume there is an explanation of these texts in the minds of Trinitarians. Perhaps by some means the Holy Spirit assisted the second Person of the Godhead to become Mary’s child, however, this would not in reality make Him a Son. He would simply be playing the role of a Son.
Brothers and Sisters, whichever way it is believed by those who believe in the Trinity, the answer to the question -- Is Jesus the Son of God? – the answer must be NO. If this is your answer, there are Bible verses and Spirit of Prophecy statements you must deny.
“The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the Commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by Him as His right.” Lift Him Up p16.
It is possible you will see the above statement as meaning Christ is eternal like the Father without beginning, but this is not what the prophet means. She uses the term 'from eternity' to show that His Sonship did not begin at the incarnation.
Please read carefully the following three quotations, one from James White, one from E.J. Waggoner, and the other from the prophet.
James White stated, "The Father is greatest in that He is first." Review & Herald. James White. Jan 4. 1881.
Waggoner said: “While both (the Father and the Son) are the same nature, the Father is first in point of time. He is also greater in that He had no beginning, while Christ’s personality had a beginning.” E.J. Waggoner. Signs of the Times. April 8. 1889.
Our prophet said: “The Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father, is truly God in infinity, but not in personality.” E.G. White. MS 116. Dec 19. 1905.
The Webster's 1828 Dictionary explains 'personality' as follows: "That which constitutes an individual, a distinct person, or that which constitutes individuality."
So the above words are clear --- Christ had a beginning as an individual person in eternity, and being born of the eternal God made Him a divine person like His Father. “God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God.” 8 Testimonies 268.
The Spirit received by the Son at His birth is eternal without beginning, but Christ as a personality, as a person, began at a point of time in eternity.
J.N. Andrews said, “And as to the Son of God…He had God for His Father, and did, at some point in the eternity of the past, have beginning of days.” J N Andrews. The Review and Herald, Sept. 7, 1869.
C.W. Stone said in his book, “We may believe that Christ came into existence in a manner different from that in which other beings first appeared; that He sprang from the Father’s being in a way not necessary for us to understand.” 1886. The Captain of Our Salvation, p. 17. C.W. Stone.
John Matheson wrote, “Christ is the only literal son of God, ‘the only begotten of the Father’. (John 1:14) He is God because He is the Son of God.” The Review and Herald, Oct. 12, 1869, p 123. John Matheson.
Waggoner said, “The Scriptures declare that Christ is ‘the only begotten Son of God’. He is begotten, not created.” Christ and His Righteousness p9. 1890. And again, “The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7; Luke 3:38) by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Rom 8:14.15), but Christ is the Son of God by birth.” Ibid p12. 1890.
Five years later our prophet wrote, “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son – not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father’s person, and in all the brightness of His majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Signs of the Times. May 30. 1895.
How was Christ begotten?
We do not know, and it is useless to speculate, as there are some things God has not revealed.
When was Christ begotten?
Waggoner wrote, “As to when He was begotten, it is not for us to inquire, nor could our minds grasp it if we were told…There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father, but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension, it is practically without beginning.” And again, “We know that Christ ‘proceeded forth and came from God’ (John 8:42), but it was so far back in the ages of eternity as to be far beyond the grasp of the mind of man.” Christ and His Righteousness, 1890, p9.
Ellen White wrote of Christ. “His divine life could not be reckoned by human computation. The existence of Christ before His incarnation is not measured by figures.” ST. May 3. 1899. “…we may reason about them until we fall down faint and exhausted with the research when there is yet an infinity beyond.” 7 BC 919. 1888.
How important is it to believe God the Father had a Son in heaven prior to the Incarnation?
It is absolutely vital.
If we do not believe the testimony of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, we are calling God a liar.
On the day of Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit of God had descended upon Him, and He knelt in prayer. After speaking to His Father, God responded from heaven, Speaking in a loud voice, He said, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased." Matthew 3:17.
The Father believed He had a Son, do you?