|The Apostles' Creed, Part 6: "...His only Son"|
|Written by David Lawrence|
|Monday, November 21 2011 00:00|
In the Apostles’ Creed Christians affirm belief that Jesus Christ is God’s only Son. Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses deny this doctrine, deny that God could have a Son, and thus deny the Trinity. The issue was difficult for early Christians, as they had to answer charges from Jews that accepting more than one person as God would violate the clear statement of Scripture that the Lord God is one (Deut. 6:4, the great Shamah Israel: “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is One.” Christians had to present the concept of monotheism to the pagan world while at the same time defending themselves from the charge that they were also polytheists. Thus the early creeds continue to address and develop the concept, attempting to come to terms with Biblical revelation in a consistent manner.
Early Christians were merely accepting what Jesus taught about himself and what His apostles continued to affirm: that He is the only Son of God. Jesus continually referred to Himself as “the Son.” Not only that, but He claimed to be God. But how can He be God while God the Father is God? The answer is that the word God indicates quality and essence, as we saw in the affirmation of the Father. God is Almighty (sovereign), God is Creator. Other attributes of divinity have been identified, most of which are described in detail in Psalm 139: God is all-powerful (omnipotent, verse 16), all-knowing (omniscient, verse 3), all-present (omnipresent, verse 7), and eternal. Jesus and His apostles affirm all these qualities. Jesus was agent of creation, Jesus has all power and authority, Jesus knows all things as they have been made known to Him by the Father, in His resurrected life He is always with us, and in his existence He is without beginning. As John claimed: “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God (See John 17:1-5), and the Word (Jesus) was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1-2).
He is God’s Son, as the Nicene Creed later clarified, begotten not made, that is sustaining a relationship with the Father but never created. As no other person has this particular relationship to the Father and can sustain these claims, Jesus Christ is God’s only Son. (For the clearest Biblical clarification of Jesus as God’s only Son, I would suggest a thorough reading of the gospel of John.)