Mitchell Andrews (
Sat, 04 Jan 1997 00:28:15 EST

Is a different thought supported by a minority of the scholarly community
welcome even though it may be a minority opinion? Those of us who believe
that Jesus was the first in time also agree with so much of what has
already been stated in this thread. In answer to the poster's question of
the theological ramifications of MONOGENHS is whether or not it deals
with Jesus having a beginning.
We agree with the thoughts already posted that one aspect of meaning is
'unique kind.' We further agree that Jesus is called THEOS. We differ in
that we also think there is scriptural support to define MONOGENHS as
including first in time (as in being born) in this context. We also
respectfully differ in the belief that Jesus is a lesser THEOS than HO
THEOS. Please recall that in the debates in the second and third
centuries leading up to Niceae, both sides were comfortable calling the
LOGOS THEOS. However, one side held that the LOGOS was inferior to the
Father and had a beginning.

Rather than my posting many words, here is a brief article on the subject
submitted respectfully in the interests of examining both sides of an
issue. My wish is that it please be received in the same spirit it was
submitted, even though from a minority opinion from what has already been
posted on the list.
The Greek word MONOGENHS is defined by lexicographers as single of its
kind, only, or the only member of a kin or kind. (Thayers
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 1889, p. 417; Liddell and
Scotts Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford, 1968, p. 1144) The term is used in
describing the relation of both sons and daughters to their parents.

The Scriptures speak of the only-begotten son of a widow who lived in
the city of Nain, of Jairus only-begotten daughter, and of a mans
only-begotten son whom Jesus cured of a demon. (Lu 7:11, 12; 8:41, 42;
9:38) The Greek Septuagint uses MONOGENHS when speaking of Jephthahs
daughter, concerning whom it is written: Now she was absolutely the only
child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter.Jg 11:34.

The apostle John repeatedly describes the Lord Jesus Christ as the
only-begotten Son of God. (Joh 1:14; 3:16, 18; 1Jo 4:9) This is not in
reference to his human birth or to him as just the _man_ Jesus. As the
LOGOS, or Word, this one was in the beginning with God, even before
the world was. (Joh 1:1, 2; 17:5, 24) At that time while in his prehuman
state of existence, he is described as the only-begotten Son whom his
Father sent into the world.1Jo 4:9.
The angels of heaven are sons of God even as Adam was a son of God. (Ge
6:2; Job 1:6; 38:7; Lu 3:38) But the LOGOS, later called Jesus, is the
_only-begotten_ Son of God. (Joh 3:18) He is the only one of his kind,
the only one whom God himself created directly without the agency or
cooperation of any creature. He is the only one whom God his Father used
in bringing into existence all other creatures. He is the firstborn and
chief one among all other angels (Col 1:15, 16; Heb 1:5, 6), which angels
the Scriptures call godlike ones or gods. (Ps 8:4, 5) Therefore,
according to some of the oldest and best manuscripts, the Lord Jesus
Christ is properly described as the only-begotten god [Gr., MONOGENHS
THEOS].Joh 1:18, NW, Ro, Sp.

A few translations, in support of the Trinitarian God the Son concept,
would invert the phrase MONOGENHS THEOS and render it as God only
begotten. But W. J. Hickie in his Greek-English Lexicon to the New
Testament (1956, p. 123) says it is hard to see why these translators
render MONOGENHS HUIOS as the only begotten Son, but at the same time
translate MONOGENHS THEOS as God only begotten, instead of the only
begotten God.

Paul referred to Isaac as Abrahams only-begotten son (Heb 11:17), even
though Abraham also fathered Ishmael by Hagar as well as several sons by
Keturah. (Ge 16:15; 25:1, 2; 1Ch 1:28, 32) Gods covenant, however, was
established only through Isaac, Abrahams only son by Gods promise, as
well as the only son of Sarah. (Ge 17:16-19) Furthermore, at the time
Abraham offered up Isaac, he was the only son in his fathers household.
No sons had yet been born to Keturah, and Ishmael had been gone for some
20 yearsno doubt was married and head of his own household.Ge 22:2.
So from several viewpoints in regard to the promise and the covenant, the
things about which Paul was writing to the Hebrews, Isaac was Abrahams
only-begotten son. Hence, Paul parallels the promises and the
only-begotten son with your seed . . . through Isaac. (Heb 11:17,
18) Whether Josephus had a similar viewpoint or not, he too spoke of
Isaac as Abrahams only son.Jewish Antiquities, I, 222 (xiii, 1).

>From Insight on the Scriptures (Vol 2, p. 556, Watchtower Bible and
Tract Society of New York).

Mitchell Andrews