Son of God

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Son of God
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{{Distinguish|God the Son}}{{redirect|God's Son|the 2002 Nas album|God's Son (album)|the 2014 film|Son of God (film){{!}}Son of God (film)|other uses|Son of God (disambiguation)}}File:Folio 109v - The Baptism of Christ.jpg|thumb|right|Miniature in Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry depicting the Baptism of Jesus, where God the Father proclaimed JesusJesusHistorically, many rulers have assumed titles such as son of God, son of a god or son of heaven.The term "son of God" is sometimes used in the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible to refer to those with special relationships with God. In the Old Testament, angels, just and pious men, and the kings of Israel are all called "sons of God."WEB,weblink Catholic Encyclopedia: Son of God, 7 October 2014, In the New Testament, Adam,{{Bibleverse|Luke|3:38}} and, most notably, Jesus Christ are called "son of God," while followers of Jesus are called, "sons of God."WEB,weblink International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Sons of God (New Testament),, 7 October 2014, In the New Testament, "Son of God" is applied to Jesus on many occasions. Jesus is declared to be the Son of God on two separate occasions by a voice speaking from Heaven. Jesus is also explicitly and implicitly described as the Son of God by himself and by various individuals who appear in the New Testament.One teacher: Jesus' teaching role in Matthew's gospel by John Yueh-Han Yieh 2004 {{ISBN|3-11-018151-7}} pages 240–241Dwight Pentecost The words and works of Jesus Christ 2000 {{ISBN|0-310-30940-9}} page 234The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1988 {{ISBN|0-8028-3785-9}} pages 571–572 As applied to Jesus, the term is a reference to his role as the Messiah, the King chosen by God.Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (10th ed.). (2001). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster. The contexts and ways in which Jesus' title, Son of God, means something more than or other than Messiah remain the subject of ongoing scholarly study and discussion.The term "Son of God" should not be confused with the term "God the Son" (), the second Person of the Trinity in Christian theology. The doctrine of the Trinity identifies Jesus as God the Son, identical in essence but distinct in person with regard to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (the first and third Persons of the Trinity). Nontrinitarian Christians accept the application to Jesus of the term "Son of God", which is found in the New Testament, but not the term "God the Son", which is not found in any part of the Bible.

Rulers and Imperial titles

Throughout history, emperors and rulers ranging from the Western Zhou dynasty (c. 1000 BC) in China to Alexander the Great (c. 360 BC) to the Emperor of Japan (c. 600 AD) have assumed titles that reflect a filial relationship with deities.Introduction to the Science of Religion by Friedrich Muller 2004 {{ISBN|1-4179-7401-X}} page 136A History of Japan by Hisho Saito 2010 {{ISBN|0-415-58538-4}} pageThe title "Son of Heaven" i.e. 天子 (from 天 meaning sky/heaven/god and 子 meaning child) was first used in the Western Zhou dynasty (c. 1000 BC). It is mentioned in the Shijing book of songs, and reflected the Zhou belief that as Son of Heaven (and as its delegate) the Emperor of China was responsible for the well being of the whole world by the Mandate of Heaven.China : a cultural and historical dictionary by Michael Dillon 1998 {{ISBN|0-7007-0439-6}} page 293East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History by Patricia Ebrey, Anne Walthall, James Palais 2008 {{ISBN|0-547-00534-2}} page 16 This title may also be translated as "son of God" given that the word Ten or Tien in Chinese may either mean sky or god.The Problem of China by Bertrand Russell 2007 {{ISBN|1-60520-020-4}} page 23 The Emperor of Japan was also called the Son of Heaven (天子 tenshi) starting in the early 7th century.BOOK,weblink Rethinking Japan: Social Sciences, Ideology and Thought, Adriana, Boscaro, Franco, Gatti, Massimo, Raveri, Japan Library Limited, 2003, 0-904404-79-X, 300, II, Among the Steppe Peoples, there was also a widespread use of "Son of God/Son of Heaven" for instance, in the Third Century B.C., the ruler was called ChanyüWEB, Britannica, Encyclopaedia, Xiongnu,weblink Xiongnu (people) article, Britannica, 2014-04-25, and similar titles were used as late as the 13th Century by Genghis Khan.WEB, Humanities 360,weblink The Life and Conquests of Genghis Khan, Darian Peters, July 3, 2009, yes,weblink" title="">weblink April 26, 2014, Examples of kings being considered the son of god are found throughout the Ancient Near East. Egypt in particular developed a long lasting tradition. Egyptian pharaohs are known to have been referred to as the son of a particular god and their begetting in some cases is even given in sexually explicit detail. Egyptian pharaohs did not have full parity with their divine fathers but rather were subordinate.BOOK,weblink King and Messiah as Son of God: Divine, Human, and Angelic Messianic Figures in Biblical and Related Literature, Adela Yarbro Collins, John Joseph Collins, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008, 3 February 2014, {{rp|36}} Nevertheless, in the first four dynasties, the pharaoh was considered to be the embodiment of a god. Thus, Egypt was ruled by direct theocracy,BOOK, The Mind of Egypt: History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs,weblink Jan Assmann, Harvard University Press, 300–301, 2003, 16 March 2014, wherein "God himself is recognized as the head" of the state.WEB,weblink Catholic Encyclopedia, 7 October 2014, During the later Amarna Period, Akhenaten reduced the Pharaoh's role to one of coregent, where the Pharaoh and God ruled as father and son. Akhenaten also took on the role of the priest of god, eliminating representation on his behalf by others. Later still, the closest Egypt came to the Jewish variant of theocracy was during the reign of Herihor. He took on the role of ruler not as a god but rather as a high-priest and king.
Jewish kings are also known to have been referred to as "son of the (wikt:LORD|{{Lord}})".BOOK,weblink Jesus, Gnosis and Dogma, Riemer Roukema, T&T Clark International, 2010, 30 January 2014, {{rp|150}} The Jewish variant of theocracy can be thought of as a representative theocracy where the king is viewed as God’s surrogate on earth. Jewish kings thus, had less of a direct connection to god than pharaohs. Unlike pharaohs, Jewish kings rarely acted as priests, nor were prayers addressed directly to them. Rather, prayers concerning the king are addressed directly to god.{{rp|36–38}} The Jewish philosopher Philo is known to have likened God to a supreme king, rather than likening Jewish kings to gods.Based on the Bible, several kings of Damascus took the title son of Hadad. From the archaeological record a stela erected by Bar-Rakib for his father Panammuwa II contains similar language. The son of Panammuwa II a king of Sam'al referred to himself as a son of Rakib.{{rp|26–27}} Rakib-El is a god who appears in Phoenician and Aramaic inscriptions.BOOK, Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible DDD,weblink K. van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter Willem van der Horst, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 686, 1999, 16 March 2014, Panammuwa II died unexpectedly while in Damascus.WEB, Panammuwa and Bar-Rakib: two structural analyses,weblink K. Lawson Younger, Jr., University of Sheffield, 16 March 2014, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 4 March 2016, However, his son the king Bar-Rakib was not a native of Damascus but rather the ruler of Sam'al it is unknown if other rules of Sam'al used similar language.In Greek mythology, Heracles (son of Zeus) and many other figures were considered to be sons of gods through union with mortal women. From around 360 BC onwards Alexander the Great may have implied he was a demigod by using the title "Son of Ammon–Zeus".JOURNAL, Cartledge, Paul, 2004, Alexander the Great, History Today, 54, 1, File:S0484.4.jpg|thumb|left|A (denarius]] minted circa 18 BC. Obverse: CAESAR AVGVSTVS; reverse: DIVVS IVLIV(S))In 42 BC, Julius Caesar was formally deified as "the divine Julius" (divus Iulius) after his assassination. His adopted son, Octavian (better known as Augustus, a title given to him 15 years later, in 27 BC) thus became known as divi Iuli filius (son of the divine Julius) or simply divi filius (son of the god).Early Christian literature by Helen Rhee 2005 {{ISBN|0-415-35488-9}} pages 159–161 As a daring and unprecedented move, Augustus used this title to advance his political position in the Second Triumvirate, finally overcoming all rivals for power within the Roman state.Augustus by Pat Southern 1998 {{ISBN|0-415-16631-4}} page 60The word applied to Julius Caesar as deified was divus, not the distinct word deus. Thus Augustus called himself Divi filius, and not Dei filius. The line between been god and god-like was at times less than clear to the population at large, and Augustus seems to have been aware of the necessity of keeping the ambiguity.The world that shaped the New Testament by Calvin J. Roetzel 2002 {{ISBN|0-664-22415-6}} page 73 As a purely semantic mechanism, and to maintain ambiguity, the court of Augustus sustained the concept that any worship given to an emperor was paid to the "position of emperor" rather than the person of the emperor.Experiencing Rome: culture, identity and power in the Roman Empire by Janet Huskinson 1999 {{ISBN|978-0-415-21284-7}} page 81 However, the subtle semantic distinction was lost outside Rome, where Augustus began to be worshiped as a deity.A companion to Roman religion edited by Jörg Rüpke 2007 {{ISBN|1-4051-2943-3}} page 80 The inscription DF thus came to be used for Augustus, at times unclear which meaning was intended. The assumption of the title Divi filius by Augustus meshed with a larger campaign by him to exercise the power of his image. Official portraits of Augustus made even towards the end of his life continued to portray him as a handsome youth, implying that miraculously, he never aged. Given that few people had ever seen the emperor, these images sent a distinct message.Gardner's art through the ages: the western perspective by Fred S. Kleiner 2008 {{ISBN|0-495-57355-8}} page 175Later, Tiberius (emperor from 14–37 AD) came to be accepted as the son of divus Augustus and Hadrian as the son of divus Trajan. By the end of the 1st century, the emperor Domitian was being called dominus et deus (i.e. master and god).The Emperor Domitian by Brian W. Jones 1992 {{ISBN|0-415-04229-1}} page 108Outside the Roman Empire, the 2nd century Kushan King Kanishka I used the title devaputra meaning "son of God".Encyclopedia of ancient Asian civilizations by Charles Higham 2004 {{ISBN|978-0-8160-4640-9}} page 352


File:David SM Maggiore.jpg|thumb|right|Statue of King David by Nicolas Cordier in the Borghese Chapel of the Basilica di Santa Maria MaggioreBasilica di Santa Maria Maggiore{{Further information|Son of God (Christianity)#Old Testament usage}}Although references to "sons of God", "son of God" and "son of the {{Lord}}" are occasionally found in Jewish literature, they never refer to physical descent from God.The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion by Maxine Grossman and Adele Berlin (Mar 14, 2011) {{ISBN|0199730040}} page 698The Jewish Annotated New Testament by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler (Nov 15, 2011) {{ISBN|0195297709}} page 544 There are two instances where Jewish kings are figuratively referred to as a god.{{rp|150}} The king is likened to the supreme king God.BOOK,weblink Constantine, Divine Emperor of the Christian Golden Age, Jonathan Bardill, Cambridge University Press, 2011, 342, 4 February 2014, These terms are often used in the general sense in which the Jewish people were referred to as "children of the {{Lord}} your God".When used by the rabbis, the term referred to Israel or to human beings in general, and not as a reference to the Jewish mashiach. In Judaism the term mashiach has a broader meaning and usage and can refer to a wide range of people and objects, not necessarily related to the Jewish eschaton.

Gabriel's Revelation

Gabriel's Revelation, also called the Vision of Gabriel"By Three Days, Live": Messiahs, Resurrection, and Ascent to Heavon in Hazon Gabriel{{dead link|date=March 2018 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}, Israel Knohl, Hebrew University of Jerusalem or the Jeselsohn Stone, is a three-foot-tall (one metre) stone tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew text written in ink, containing a collection of short prophecies written in the first person and dated to the late 1st century BC. It is a tablet described as a "Dead Sea scroll in stone".NEWS,weblink The tablet, probably found near the Dead Sea in Jordan according to some scholars who have studied it, is a rare example of a stone with ink writings from that era — in essence, a Dead Sea Scroll on stone., Tablet ignites debate on messiah and resurrection, Ethan Bronner, 2008-07-05, New York Times, 2008-07-07, The text seems to talk about a messianic figure from Ephraim who broke evil before righteousness by three days.BOOK,weblink Hazon Gabriel, Society of Biblical Lit, 2011, Matthias Henze, 2 April 2014, {{rp|43–44}} Later the text talks about a “prince of princes" a leader of Israel who was killed by the evil king and not properly buried.{{rp|44}} The evil king was then miraculously defeated.{{rp|45}} The text seems to refer to Jeremiah Chapter 31.{{rp|43}} The choice of Ephraim as the lineage of the messianic figure described in the text seems to draw on passages in Jeremiah, Zechariah and Hosea. This leader was referred to as a son of God.{{rp|43–44, 48–49}}The text seems to be based on a Jewish revolt recorded by Josephus dating from 4 BC.{{rp|45–46}} Based on its dating the text seems to refer to Simon of Peraea, one of the three leaders of this revolt.{{rp|47}}

Dead Sea Scrolls

In some versions of Deuteronomy the Dead Sea Scrolls refer to the sons of God rather than the sons of Israel, probably in reference to angels. The Septuagint reads similarly.{{rp|147}}WEB,weblink DEUTERONOMY 32:8 AND THE SONS OF GOD, 2001, Michael S. Heiser, 30 January 2014, 4Q174 is a midrashic text in which God refers to the Davidic messiah as his son.BOOK,weblink Redemption and Resistance: The Messianic Hopes of Jews and Christians in Antiquity, A&C Black, 2007, 27–28, Markus Bockmuehl, James Carleton Paget, 8 December 2014, 4Q246 refers to a figure who will be called the son of God and son of the Most High. It is debated if this figure represents the royal messiah, a future evil gentile king or something else.WEB,weblink 4Q246, Bulletin for Biblical Research 5 (1995) 43-66 [© 1995 Institute for Biblical Research], EDWARD M. COOK, 8 December 2014, In 11Q13 Melchizedek is referred to as god the divine judge. Melchizedek in the bible was the king of Salem. At least some in the Qumran community seemed to think that at the end of days Melchizedek would reign as their king.BOOK,weblink Judaism of the Second Temple Period: Qumran and Apocalypticism, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2007, 249, David Flusser, 8 February 2014, The passage is based on Psalm 82.BOOK, Jerome H. Neyrey, The Gospel of John in Cultural and Rhetorical Perspective,weblink 2009, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 313–316,


In both Joseph and Aseneth and the related text The Story of Asenath, Joseph is referred to as the son of God.{{rp|158–159}}WEB,weblink translated by Eugene Mason and Text from Joseph and Aseneth H. F. D. Sparks, "The Story of Asenath" and "Joseph and Aseneth", 30 January 2014, In the Prayer of Joseph both Jacob and the angel are referred to as angels and the sons of God.{{rp|157}}


This style of naming is also used for some rabbis in the Talmud.{{rp|158}}


{{See also|God the Son|Jesus in Christianity|Divine filiation|Adoptionism}}In Christianity, the title "Son of God" refers to the status of Jesus as the divine son of God the Father. It derives from several uses in the New Testament and early Christian theology.


{{See also|Jesus in Islam|Tawhid|Shirk (Islam)}}In Islam, Jesus is known as Īsā ibn Maryam (), and is understood to be a prophet and messenger of God (Allah) and al-Masih, the Arabic term for Messiah (Christ), sent to guide the Children of Israel (banī isrā'īl in Arabic) with a new revelation, the al-Injīl (Arabic for "the gospel").BOOK, Glassé, Cyril, The new encyclopedia of Islam, with introduction by Huston Smith, 2001, AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, CA, 9780759101906, 239,weblink Édition révisée., BOOK, McDowell, Jim, Josh, Walker, Jim, 2002, Understanding Islam and Christianity: Beliefs That Separate Us and How to Talk About Them,weblink Euguen, Oregon, Harvest House Publishers, 12, 9780736949910, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, p.158 Islam rejects any kinship between God and any other being, including a son.WEB,weblink Surah An-Nisa [4:171], Surah An-Nisa [4:171], en-US, 2018-04-18, WEB,weblink Surah Al-Ma'idah [5:116], Surah Al-Ma'idah [5:116], en-US, 2018-04-18, Thus, rejecting that Jesus was the begotten son of God (Allah) or "part of"WEB,weblink Surah Al-Ma'idah [5:72], Surah Al-Ma'idah [5:72], en-US, 2018-04-18, WEB,weblink Surah Al-Ma'idah [5:72], Surah Al-Ma'idah [5:72], en-US, 2018-04-18, WEB,weblink Surah Al-Ma'idah [5:75], Surah Al-Ma'idah [5:75], en-US, 2018-04-18, God (Allah). As in Christianity, Islam believes Jesus had no earthly father. In Islam Jesus is believed to be born due to the command of God (Allah) "be".WEB,weblink Surah Ali 'Imran [3:59], Surah Ali 'Imran [3:59], en-US, 2018-04-18, God (Allah) orderedWEB,weblink Surah An-Nisa [4:171], Surah An-Nisa [4:171], en-US, 2018-04-18, the angel Jibrīl (Gabriel) to "blow"WEB,weblink Surah Al-Anbya [21:91], Surah Al-Anbya [21:91], en-US, 2018-04-18, the soul of Jesus into MaryJesus: A Brief History by W. Barnes Tatum 2009 {{ISBN|1-4051-7019-0}} page 217The new encyclopedia of Islam by Cyril Glassé, Huston Smith 2003 {{ISBN|0-7591-0190-6}} page 86 and so she gave birth to Jesus. Islamic scholars debate whether or not, the title Son of God might apply to Jesus in a adoptive rather than generative sense, just like Abraham was taken as a friend of God.David Richard Thomas Christian Doctrines in Islamic Theology BRILL, 2008 {{ISBN|9789004169357}} p. 84

Bahá'í Faith

In the writings of the Bahá'í Faith, the term "Son of God" is applied to Jesus,BOOK, In The Glory of the Father: The Baha'i Faith and Christianity, Brian D, Lepard, Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 2008, 1-931847-34-7, 74–75, but does not indicate a literal physical relationship between Jesus and God,BOOK, Taherzadeh, Adib, 1977, The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 2: Adrianople 1863–68, George Ronald, Oxford, UK, 0-85398-071-3, 182, but is symbolic and is used to indicate the very strong spiritual relationship between Jesus and God and the source of his authority. Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Bahá'í Faith in the first half of the 20th century, also noted that the term does not indicate that the station of Jesus is superior to other prophets and messengers that Bahá'ís name Manifestations of God, including Buddha, Muhammad and Baha'u'llah among others.BOOK, Hornby, Helen, 1983, Lights of Guidance: A Bahá'í Reference File, Bahá'í Publishing Trust, New Delhi, India, 81-85091-46-3,weblink 491, Shoghi Effendi notes that, since all Manifestations of God share the same intimate relationship with God and reflect the same light, the term Sonship can in a sense be attributable to all the Manifestations.

See also


{{Reflist |2}}


  • Borgen, Peder. Early Christianity and Hellenistic Judaism. Edinburgh: T & T Clark Publishing. 1996.
  • Brown, Raymond. An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Doubleday. 1997.
  • Essays in Greco-Roman and Related Talmudic Literature. ed. by Henry A. Fischel. New York: KTAV Publishing House. 1977.
  • Dunn, J. D. G., Christology in the Making, London: SCM Press. 1989.
  • Ferguson, Everett. Backgrounds in Early Christianity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing. 1993.
  • Greene, Colin J. D. Christology in Cultural Perspective: Marking Out the Horizons. Grand Rapids: InterVarsity Press. Eerdmans Publishing. 2003.
  • Holt, Bradley P. Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. 2005.
  • Josephus, Flavius. Complete Works. trans. and ed. by William Whiston. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publishing. 1960.
  • Letham, Robert. The Work of Christ. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. 1993.
  • Macleod, Donald. The Person of Christ. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. 1998.
  • McGrath, Alister. Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. 1998.
  • Neusner, Jacob. From Politics to Piety: The Emergence of Pharisaic Judaism. Providence, R. I.: Brown University. 1973.
  • Norris, Richard A. Jr. The Christological Controversy. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 1980.
  • O'Collins, Gerald. (Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus). Oxford:Oxford University Press. 2009.
  • Pelikan, Jaroslav. Development of Christian Doctrine: Some Historical Prolegomena. London: Yale University Press. 1969.
  • _______ The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100–600). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1971.
  • Schweitzer, Albert. Quest of the Historical Jesus: A Critical Study of the Progress from Reimarus to Wrede. trans. by W. Montgomery. London: A & C Black. 1931.
  • Tyson, John R. Invitation to Christian Spirituality: An Ecumenical Anthology. New York: Oxford University Press. 1999.
  • Wilson, R. Mcl. Gnosis and the New Testament. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 1968.
  • Witherington, Ben III. The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. 1995.
  • _______ “The Gospel of John." in The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. ed. by Joel Greene, Scot McKnight and I. Howard
{{Titles of Jesus|default=show}}

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