Orthodox Heretical view
of "only Begotten Son" ?
Heretical view of Begotten?
note - The Eastern Orthodox are so inexplicit about doctrine if they are defeated on almost any issue they will claim it was only ever theologoumena not dogma and that thus nothing is proven against their church.
see the subject of 83) The Filioque on this site, that is closely related to this topic.
What does "Begotten" mean?
Of all the subjects on this website the Orthodox who oppose me will want to quote I think it is this one. Why? Because they will want to tell the lie I do not believe Jesus is eternally God. Anyone who does not believe Jesus is the great "I am", the one true God, and always has been, to me simply cannot be a Christian, as only God is Saviour, only God can save souls, the bible says so. Christ is eternally the Son of God, and God himself. It is just that I do not wish to submit to using phrases like "born of the Father before all time" as they are not in the bible.
I do not consider it to be a heresy if someone says Jesus is God to believe
1) He was eternally begotten of the Father before time (as the people who says this do not believe it is some event in time, and that Jesus has always co-existed with the Father.)
2) That the phrase "only begotten Son" refers to Jesus who was God, becoming fully man and fully God in what is called "they hypostatic union".
3) That the word begotten means "bring forth" in Greek, thus Jesus who is the Eternal God, is the only Son of God who is a Son revealed to mankind as God, and who never became the Son of God.
If I declared any of those beliefs an actual heresy, that is a "work of the flesh" from Galatians 5:19-21, I think I would be guilty of the same sin as the Catholics and the Orthodox who exalt the "Filioque" issue into some mega important doctrine, when it is relatively minor to the fact that at least both the Catholics and the Orthodox believe Jesus has always been God.
The fact is though that the Eastern Orthodox priests would probably not even baptize you unless you adopt their belief on the Filioque, and their precise language on the meaning of Begotten. To me this is one of the great proofs that Orthodoxy is the Nicolaitan heresy, higher than or lording it over the laity, power over the laity, they are saying you can only be born again through triple baptism and chrismation by an Orthodox priest (witch) and if you don't submit to their precise phraseology they will withhold regeneration from you. (the rebirth really happens after you believe on Jesus by Faith).
If this quote is true (I have yet to fully verify it) I regard it as heresy. or at very least with flaws in their Trinity doctrines. Here is why:
Acceptable and non-acceptable views on "Begotten".
The key word, Monogenēs, is often quoted for study.
The Orthodox Heretical / doctrine view ?
"And the Word became 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." John 1:14.
Where some Protestants might argue this verse is a clear reference to the incarnate Jesus, the Eastern Orthodox would insist "the only begotten of the Father" is a clear reference to the Son of God's pre-incarnate self, perhaps because a reference to the incarnation like the word "Jesus" is absent in the verse.
The strongest scripture perhaps to say Jesus is "eternally begotten" pf the Father is
"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him." 1 John 5: 1, but this is interpreted many ways in bible versions.
Apparently the Orthodox are trying to heretically interpret the word "begotten" in the sense that if God the Son was "born" in time (before the Holy Trinity created the Universe), that would be heresy, but if The Son of God was "born outside of time", the concept is rendered no longer heretical.
When discussing this I realise it is best not to say "Jesus" or "Christ" or "Jesus Christ" discussing the Son of God being "born" as that will confuse some unattentive readers as if we are discussing the incarnation. The subject under discussion is The Son of God supposedly being born or "begotten" not created before God created time.
Frankly if this really is the teaching of Eastern Orthodoxy it is like a strange admixture of Sabellianism and Trinity combined together, a view of Trinity that is distinctly and definitely Trinity, yet the origin of the Trinity is like a Sabellianist style "happening" outside of Time where God the Father as it were creates out of "his substance" God the Son (and I presume God the Holy Spirit). If so it is all a massive doctrinal misunderstanding of what the only Begotten Son means.
As usual with Orthodox doctrine their theology is based on doublethink. The statement that the Son of God was "born of the Father before time existed" is a contradiction of the simple statement many Protestants believe is true "The Father and Son have always co-existed co-equally" but the Orthodox try to oxymoronically make the two beliefs synonymous. Let me make it plain, I categorically deny Jesus was ever born of the Father, to me such a doctrine has a Sabellianist type content.
I cannot yet totally prove this but I have quoted some evidence that it may be a doctrine developed in The First Council of Constantinople (381 AD).
A Protestant view .
My own belief or view on the meaning of the word "Begotten" in relation to Jesus, and about what is called "The Trinity" is that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have have always existed, were not formed, brought out of each other, neither was any ever born before or at the beginning of time. The names / words Father and Son are expressions of their eternal relationship. This is proven by the fact that the Everlasting Father (Is 9:6) must logically have an Everlasting Son, who has always existed, co-eternally and co-equally, and is One with The Father.
The most likely interpretation to me that Jesus is "The only Begotten Son" is that the word begotten means "to show forth" "or to bring forth/forward" that is that Jesus unlike us is the only "revealed Son", be was never at any time born, he did not come out of the Father before all time "into existence" (that is heresy) he simply has always existed and God revealed him to humanity as his eternal Son that has always co-existed with him. Jesus is The only revealed or Begotten Son therefore, but when we are born again we become sons, "a son" but Jesus is "The" Son and never at any point became a Son, or came into existence, We all become sons, and were created, he alone is THE Son as he never at any point became a son, and was not created, he is therefore the only "revealed" Son, The Only Begotten Son.
Another Protestant view .
Some Protestant views on the word "Begotten" center on the incarnation. In such theology you will see statements like "God of God, Light of light,
Lo! he abhors not the Virgin's womb; Very God, Begotten not created,". But is it really true that the incarnation event is the only time God the Son has the word "Begotten" attributed to him? Or is the word begotten used of the Son of God before the incarnation? I believe it is, and that "only begotten Son" is not referring to the hypostatic union event when Christ becomes fully man and fully God, though it is extremely tempting to think so. Of course I also believe that Jesus was fully man and fully God in the incarnation (but I think the Greek mythology word "hypostatic" is best avoided as a description of the incarnation event) but was the incarnation really when the Son of God was begotten? Or is the true belief that begotten is simply a metaphor for being brought forth and revealed as the only uncreated Son. I believe such Protestants are entirely correct that the incarnation is when the Son of God also became fully man, as the hymn says "fullness of God in helpless babe" but was that really when he "became" begotten? I say no, I believe the Son of God is the "eternally begotten Son of God" because he is the only being "shown forth" or "revealed" to be THE Son of God.
The really likeable and interesting part of this Protestant theology is that God's phrase for "the hypostatic union" is that Christ was "begotten" not created, and that God is giving a lesson to avoid pompous and pretentious theology expressions. I mean "the hypostatic union" is causelessly borrowed from Greek mythology, why do that? Nevertheless I still think the simple meaning of "the only begotten Son" is that God the Son is the only Son revealed not created, the only Son who did not become a son, he is eternally the Son.
The bottom line here is I do not consider the Protestant view that Jesus was begotten in the incarnation to be heresy, I just think it is an understandable error, or secondary meaning of the name or phrase "only begotten Son", and if they dogmatically stick to their belief I dare say they would also consider from their perspective my belief about what "the only begotten Son" means as an understandable error, however I do consider it a heresy to say Jesus was taken out of God the Father and in that sense "born" and "made of the substance of the Father" before he created Time and Space. It as good as says that at one point (I will not say time as its all supposedly outside of time) the only conscious being in existence was God the Father, and then outside of time he took the Son of God and the Holy Spirit out of himself, making them of his substance. That to me is heresy if they believe that.
(Not that I expect the Orthodox to be clear about anything - go to Roman Catholics for that, but the Catholics can be over convoluted to the point of losing contact with the public, like in the unnecessarily proud convoluted complexities surrounding "Augustine's de Trinitate 5" as if they have lost the plot that the idea of understanding God is for everyman.)
If Catholic doctrine was reformed in "Augustine's de Trinitate 5" and they changed their theology established in a supposedly infallible ecumenical council (The First Council of Constantinople (381) ), does that not prove their "church infallibility" doctrine is false?
This is all related to another possible heresy of the Orthodox, a heresy that forms from another heresy.
1) Heresy 1 = God is ousia and energia.
2) The visible universe was created out of energia.
That at least is how the Orthodox phrase things sometimes. In other words their heretical perception the Son of God was "made of the same substance of the Father" before time. may have its origin in the fact that their tiny human minds cannot grasp the incredible fact "God commanded time, space, the Universe, and all matter and energy in it, top exist from nothing!" To their tiny mortal minds the Universe must be made from God, but only the energia, not ousia, and that shallow perception then led them to think "Well the Son of God and the Holy Spirit must have been made before time out of the ousia of the Father". Ridiculous as God is the Everlasting Father and thus the Son must be Everlasting as well.
The Catholics will usually have a definite doctrine and explicit teaching. The Orthodox like to make their ways movable. This has the disadvantage for Orthodoxy that their continual avoidance of a precise answer loses them credibility and respect, as it sounds as if their teachings are half baked and not properly thought out. However it has the so called advantage that, if someone begins to refute them, they can simply reinvent their beliefs as they go along. One way to do that is for them to say something like "have you not read the parchment of Vlad the pillarist" or "are you unaware of the statement of saint herman the hermit" or one of their other myriad of pseudo saints. If they want to suddenly become Universalist for instance all they have to say right now is "have you not read the words of Orthodox Bishop Kallistos Ware? The Orthodox are shape shifters lacking the integrity to make definite teachings and defend them.
There is a diversity of views on many topics in the Orthodox Church, yet they claim they are one church. Please do not be deceived by Orthodox lies - huge numbers of Protestants believe there is ONE church, all the born again believers.