Son of God
We are getting close to the Christmas season, so I thought we would look at items associated with the Christmas story. “Son of God” is one such term. I’m sure you’ve heard this term many times. What does it mean to you? Is that what it really means?
First, let’s look at some terms similar to this: sons of God, children of God, Son of Man.
Sons of God: this term refers to angels (Gn 6:2, 4).
Children of God: believe it or not, the Bible does not claim that we are all children of God. Even though we are all subject to God, he states that only those who accept him by faith are considered his children (Ro 8:14). This term is used 13 times in the NIV New Testament and not in the Old Testament. In each case, it refers to those who are Christians, or followers of Christ, whether Jew or Gentile.
Son of Man: this term is used in both the NIV Old Testament and NIV New Testament 178 times and can refer to men in general with 93 times referring to the prophet Ezekiel and 2 times to other men. Then, it refers to Christ 83 times in both the Old and New Testaments. Christ used this term many times to refer to himself. He likely did this because this term is referring to the miracle of his birth. He was both 100% God and 100% human. His humanity was the miracle. His body was pure human – no divine DNA. Otherwise, he would not be the sin of atonement needed. The other miracle was that while he was human, he was also sinless.
Some have suggested that Christ was like Adam since Adam was created with perfect human DNA without father or mother. It is likely the Holy Spirit did the same here, but as an embryo within Mary. This may also be why Paul compared Christ to the first Adam (1Co 15). While their human components were similar, their spirits were different. While Adam’s spirit gave him life, Christ’s spirit not only gave his human frame life, it has given eternal life to everyone who trusts in him (1Co 15:45). Christ is unique and has always been unique. He is equal with God since he is part of the Trinity, as the second part of the Godhead.
We know that the term Son of God means something different that the normal definition of son: a male descendant; a male offspring; a male heir. After all, Christ existed before his earthly birth (Jn 1:1; 8:58), and even before creation (Hb 1:2). He is therefore superior to all beings created (Hb 1:4).
We also know that before Christ was born as an infant, he existed as a spirit (Jn 4:24). However, all three parts of the Godhead can show themselves in visible forms. God the Father showed himself in smoke, fire, and lightning at Sinai (Ex 19:18), Christ revealed himself in human form to Adam and Eve (Gn 3:8), to Moses (Ex 24:9-10), Joshua (Js 5:13-14), Manoah (Jd 13:21-22), and others. The Holy Spirit revealed himself as a dove at Christ’s baptism (Mt 3:16).
Once born, Christ’s body was totally human in every way (Jn 1:14, Pp 2:7-8, Hb 2:17). Although human, he was also perfect: sinless and unblemished having perfect DNA. He was indeed the only human who could be the perfect sacrifice for all mankind to pay the justice which God required.
Christ’s body, though, was different after his resurrection. How do we know this? Christ is described as the firstfruit of the resurrection (1Co 15:20). How is he the firstfruit when others had been resurrected before he had been (Lk 7:11-15, Jn 11:43-44) and were resurrected when he was resurrected (Mt 27:51-53)? Of all of these, only Christ was the one resurrected in a glorified body. These others were resurrected human; Christ’s body was now different. It is likely his body and spirit were fused forever together. Every cell of his body was both physical and spiritual. Therefore, he was unique. One day we will also have glorified bodies similar to his (1Jn 3:2).
Our spirits are within us and is what makes us alive and eternal beings (Jn 6:63, 2Co 1:22). Without our spirit, our bodies would not be alive (Ja 2:26). Our physical bodies are the shells for our spirit.
It seems that our physical bodies and spiritual bodies are fused together as one. These scriptures seem to suggest that our physical bodies are necessary to achieve our glorified bodies (1Th 4:16, 1Co 15:50-51). Otherwise, why would our physical bodies be needed to rise from the dead? It seems our spirits need to fuse to our physical bodies to make them glorified.
Christ was still a man after his resurrection (1Tm 2:5). He did not go back to his original state to be spirit. While still a man, his body is now glorified and fused within his Spirit—something unique. Even scars given to his physical body are still present (Zc 12:10). Yet, this does not mean we will keep our scars and blemishes. When the curse is lifted, the Refreshing (Ac 3:19), all will be made perfect again—including us. Christ keeping his scars was his decision to forever remind us of his love for us and what he did for us.
In his glorified body, Christ could be seen, but act as a spirit (Lk 24:31, Jn 20:19, 26). He appeared and disappeared at will. While Christ was able to teleport himself and others before being glorified (Jn 6:21), it seems this was stressed more after receiving his glorified body to show us what we can expect once we become like him.
This likely also explains the ominous verse about Tartarus (2Pt 2:4). This is a very strange verse without much explanation. However, the verse implies these angels did something very heinous. They had already rebelled, so it is not referring to that. Not all demons are in Tartarus, but only a select group. Why?
Back in Genesis is a potential clue (Gn 6:1-4). These angels, devoted to Satan, intermarried with human women. Their children became men of renown, likely large in stature and similar to the Greek gods we read about in literature. People revered them and maybe even worshipped them. Sound like a myth? Yes, but myths have a start in truth even though they gets distorted over time.
Some theologians, like Renald Showers in his book, What on Earth is God Doing?, state this was an attempt by Satan to thwart God’s plan of redemption by introducing angel DNA into the human genome. But, did Satan go even further?
Could this have been Satan’s attempt to make humans glorified for his purpose? He was making mankind different by infusing angel DNA into every cell of their body. This is somewhat similar to what we were talking about with God having our spirit infused into every cell of our body. Again, Satan is trying to counterfeit being God.
Christ’s physical body was completely human. It was not divine. It has to be completely human for him to identify with us; yet, he had to be without sin in order to pay the penalty God’s justice demanded. Only he could fulfill this. His spirit was divine; his body was human, but perfect: 100% God, 100% human. His glorified body was a fusion of some sort with his physical body so he can continue to identify with us for eternity. We will have a physical body, but it will perform like a spiritual body—the best of both worlds.
Why is this important? This shows the uniqueness of God. No one else could have accomplish this. It shows the love of God. Christ was willing to change himself forever to identify with us forever. It shows the mercy of God. Only Christ offers us a chance to be like him and with him. It shows his jealousy for us and he being willing to do anything for us to one day dwell with him forever. He did it all for us at his own sacrifice and his own willingness to change his relationship within the Trinity forever. It demonstrates he was both Son of God and Son of man: totally God, totally man, totally awesome!