"The only begotten Son"

Devout people have often been at a loss to interpret the phrase, "the only begotten Son of God," except by assuming that Jesus is that Son, even though St. John, the only Biblical writer who employs the phrase, first uses it as a simile, just as Nebuchadnezzar used the similar phrase, "the Son of God," when speaking of the "fourth" man walking with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in "the midst of the fire." St. John writes, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." A little farther on in the same chapter he writes, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." In the third chapter he again uses the phrase in declaring, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." In neither of the other two passages where this phrase is used are the words employed with a different shade of meaning.

A careful examination of the phrase, especially in connection with the use of its correlative employed by Nebuchadnezzar (by the way, the only person mentioned in the Old Testament who employs it in the singular number), will show that it does not apply exclusively to Jesus, but that it is a generic term often used in the plural, and by the substitution of the word "child" or "children," to imply the Christ. In our day Christ has been interpreted as "the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" (Science and Health, p. 332).

Are We Building?
July 4, 1914

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