Posted by: Veroni Kruger | July 24, 2012

What Does “Son Of God” Mean?

A Matter of Mistaken Identity?

Some Bible translation organizations are debating on how the phrase “Son of God” should be translated. (Let me hasten to say that The Word for the World, the organization I am involved in, is not part of that debate.) The issue is, of course, the divinity of Jesus Christ. Some translators would like to translate the phrase in such way that the divinity is not emphasized. Their chief motivation, it seems, is that Muslims should not be offended, and should not have the opportunity of accusing Christians of having more than one God.

Since this debate has spilt over into the realm of believers in general, I feel I should comment on the issue.

The phrase “Son of God” really means “truly God Himself,” like “son of man” means “truly a human being.” There is therefore no doubt that the phrase emphasizes the fact that Jesus Christ is divine. Any translation that is intended to be an accurate representation of the intended message of the original should express that very clearly.

The issue is somewhat clouded by insisting that there is a “biological” relationship between God the Father and God the Son, as if Jesus is the next generation who is in a father-son relationship with God the Father. Picturing Jesus as the young son following Daddy God around detracts from the divinity of Jesus. Let me say it again: Jesus Christ is truly God.

Do we understand the Holy Trinity? Definitely not, and those who pretend they do have usually not really contemplated the truth of the triune God or are afraid to admit they do not understand Him.

The “biological” view of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son is what invites the criticism that Christians worship more than one God. From a purely logical point of view, I think that criticism is justified. If we have God the Father on the one hand, and another, separate being altogether who is also divine, but not the same as the Father on the other, we do in fact have more than one God.

More important than what translators argue about, or who may be offended, is what our attitude towards Jesus Christ is. The Bible is pretty clear that there are two possible attitudes towards Jesus: Acknowledging that He is the Son of God emanates from God. Not being willing to acknowledge that emanates from the opposite spirit. And I for one definitely do not want to associate with him!
(1 John 4.15; 2 John 7)

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Responses

  1. Food for thought…

  2. Thanks, Veroni – helpful and clear.

  3. Thanks for this. I’ve been following the issue in the news. One of the accusations against the Translation agencies was also the use of the word “Allah”, here is an article you may find interesting: http://www.kouya.net/?p=4555


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