Answering The Atheist
June 8, 2003 / Volume 3, Issue 23
THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
How many sons did God have? Some texts clearly tell us that He only had one son (John 3:18; 1 John 4:9), while other texts clearly tell us that God had many sons (Genesis 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1). Is there a contradiction?
If the questioner had read more carefully, it would have been noticed that John 3:18 and 1 John 4:9 both speak of God’s “...only begotten Son...” Jesus is the only begotten of the Father. Others are spoken of as sons, but are not “begotten” sons.
There are several other verses which speak of “sons of God” which the questioner did not mention. Let me do so quickly. There are texts which call Christians, “sons of God” (John 1:12; Romans 8:14, 19; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1-2). The Christian is a child of God by adoption (Romans 8:15, 23; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5).
The texts which were given by the questioner, found in Genesis 6 and Job 1 & 2 do not refer to Jesus, nor do they refer to Christians, but some other group to whom the phrase “sons of God” is applied. That these are not humans should be evident by the assembling of themselves together before God which is spoken of in Job. Satan also came in their midst and conversed with the Lord. These things are no doubt spiritual happenings, perhaps the angels of God presenting themselves to God? Likewise, the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 are likely angelic beings (see Jude 1:6) also.
It is not contradictory for the term “son” to be used in more than one sense. Some sons are begotten, some are adopted. If indeed the Genesis and Job texts are speaking of angelic beings, those who are spirit beings who serve God are likewise called sons of God. No contradiction is present. John 8:44 calls those who follow after the ways of the devil “...sons of the devil...” Shall we not also permit those who follow after the ways of God to be called “sons of God”?
This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible