Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I was driving home today when I happen to tail a car with 2 bumper stickers that read:

God does not beget.
And he is not begotten.

They killed him not.
Nor crucified him.

The first having to do with the monogenes controversy and the second the very case for Christ.

Monogenes needs to be explained. For many years it was thought to have been derived from two Greek terms: mono (only) and gennao (beget or bear). Linguistic study in the twentieth century however, has shown that the second half of the word is not closely related to the verb gennao but rather to the term genos (class or kind). Thus the word means rather the "one-of-a-kind" Son or the unique Son, as opposed to adopted sons as we are. The word is also used in Heb 11:17, where Isaac is called Abraham's monogenes. Isaac is definitely not Abraham's only son but certainly his "unique" son, as there is none other like him.

Thus the NIV translates John 3:16, "he gave his one and only Son".

Therefore, there is no denying that God does not beget, nor is he begotten, in the very sense of the word. He is however, the only one and unique Son of God.

The second bumper sticker on the other hand, refutes the atoning death of Christ. Christ was killed and he was crucified. But, he also resurrected. Forty days after, he ascended into the heavenlies, witnessed by over 500 witnesses. He now sits at the right hand of the Father; with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. (Heb 12:1-3, 1 Pet 3:21-23).

So, to the owner of the car I'll have to say: alright, I will agree on the first, though not on the spirit of it; but on the second, it is the very tenet of the Christian faith. You'll have to do better than just a statement to refute it. God is not mocked (Gal 6:7).


Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Leicester: IVP, 1994.

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