Q. The Nicene Creed said “Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father”. Doesn’t that say the Father begats the Son and is therefore superior? Wouldn’t that mean the Son had a beginning and was created?
A. No. The Nicene Creed’s declaration on the person of Christ states:
• We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.
The Creed specifically asserts that Christ is:
• The only Son of God i.e. there is none other;
• Eternally begotten i.e. without beginning or end;
• True God, just as the Father;
• Not made i.e. not created;
• Of one Being with the Father i.e. same essence.
Skeptics and cults misconstrue the word “begotten”. To understand what the Creed means we need to go back to the NT.
“Begotten” translates the Greek adjective monogenes, which means “single of its kind, only“. It was used of only sons or daughters, and of Christ denoting Him as the only begotten Son of God. The word monogenes appears 9 times in 9 verses, 5 of which referred to Christ:
• Jn 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
• Jn 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
• Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
• Jn 3:18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
• 1 Jn 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
You can see immediately that John wanted to point out not only is Jesus Christ the only begotten Son, single of its kind, He is also the only begotten God. As the Word He was God who co-existed with the Father from the beginning and created all things:
• Jn 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Skeptics and cults are therefore totally misinformed and sadly mistaken.