Reference: Son Of God
The plural, "sons of God," is used (Ge 6:2,4) to denote the pious descendants of Seth. In Job 1:6; 38:7 this name is applied to the angels. Hosea uses the phrase (Job 1:10) to designate the gracious relation in which men stand to God.
In the New Testament this phrase frequently denotes the relation into which we are brought to God by adoption (Ro 8:14,19; 2Co 6:18; Ga 4:5-6; Php 2:15; 1Jo 3:1-2). It occurs thirty-seven times in the New Testament as the distinctive title of our Saviour. He does not bear this title in consequence of his miraculous birth, nor of his incarnation, his resurrection, and exaltation to the Father's right hand. This is a title of nature and not of office. The sonship of Christ denotes his equality with the Father. To call Christ the Son of God is to assert his true and proper divinity. The second Person of the Trinity, because of his eternal relation to the first Person, is the Son of God. He is the Son of God as to his divine nature, while as to his human nature he is the Son of David (Ro 1:3-4. Comp. Ga 4:4; Joh 1:1-14; 5:18-25; 10:30-38, which prove that Christ was the Son of God before his incarnation, and that his claim to this title is a claim of equality with God).
When used with reference to creatures, whether men or angels, this word is always in the plural. In the singular it is always used of the second Person of the Trinity, with the single exception of Lu 3:38, where it is used of Adam.
Applied in the plural to the godly Seth's descendants (not angels, who "neither marry nor are given in marriage," Lu 20:35-36), "the salt of the earth" heretofore, amidst its growing corruption by the Cainites.(See SETH.) When it lost its savour ("for that he also (even the godly seed) is become flesh" or fleshly) by contracting marriages with the beautiful but ungodly, God's Spirit ceased to strive with man, and judgment fell (Ge 6:2-4). In Job 1:6; 2:4, angels. In Ps 82:6 "gods ... sons of the Highest," i.e. His representatives, exercising, as judges and rulers, His delegated authority. A fortiori, the term applies in a higher sense to "Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world" (Joh 10:36). Israel the type was Son of God (Ex 4:22-23; Ho 11:1). Faith obeying from the motive of love constitutes men "sons of God" (Jer 3:4; Ho 1:10). Unbelief and disobedience exclude from sonship those who are sons only as to spiritual privileges (De 32:5; Hebrew).
It (the perverse and crooked generation) hath corrupted itself before Him (Isa 1:4), they are not His children but their blemish, i.e. "they cannot be called God's children but the disgrace of God's children" (Ro 9:8; Ga 3:26). The doctrine of regeneration or newborn sonship to God by the Spirit is fully developed in the New Testament (Joh 1:12-13; 3:3,5; 1Jo 3:1-3; Ro 8:15; Ga 4:5-6). The Son of God, Antitype to Israel, is co-equal, co-eternal, co-essential (consubstantial) with the Father; by eternal generation (Col 1:15), "begotten far before every creature" (Greek), therefore not a creature. So Pr 8:22 (Hebrew), "Jehovah begat (qananiy related to Greek gennaoo) Me in the beginning of His way (rather omit "in"; the Son Himself was "the Beginning of His way", "the Beginning of the creation of God", Re 3:14) from everlasting ... or ever the earth was ... I was by Him as One brought up with Him. I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him" (Pr 8:22-31; Joh 1:1-3).
The Son was the Archetype from everlasting of that creation which was in due time to be created by Him. His distinct Personality appears in His being "by God ... brought up with God," not a mere attribute; "nursed at His side"; "the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father"; to be "honoured as the Father" (Joh 1:18; 5:20). Raised infinitely above angels; "for to which of them saith God, Thou art My Son, this day (there is no yesterday or tomorrow with God, His "today" is eternity from and to everlasting) have I begotten Thee?" and "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever" (Hebrew 1; Ps 2:7; 45:6-7). His divine Sonship from everlasting was openly manifested by the Father's raising Him from the dead (Ac 13:33; Ro 1:4; Re 1:5). Nebuchadnezzar called Him "the Son of God," unconsciously expressing a truth the significance of which he imperfectly comprehended (Da 3:25).
The Jews might have known Messiah's Godhead from Ps 45:6-7, and Isa 9:6, "a Son ... the mighty God, the Everlasting Father"; (Isa 7:4) Immanuel "God with us"; (Mic 5:2) "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." The Scripture-asserted unity of God was their difficulty (De 6:4), and also the palpable woman-sprung humanity of Jesus. Their supposing John the Baptist to be Messiah (Lu 3:15) shows they did not expect Messiah or Christ to be more than man (Mt 22:42-45). To Jesus' question, "what think ye of Christ, whose Son is He?" the Pharisees answered not the Son of God, but "the Son of David," and could not solve the difficulty," how then doth David in the Spirit call Him Lord?" in Psalm 110, "Jehovah said unto my Lord" ('Adonay), etc., i.e. the Lord of David, not in his merely personal capacity, but as Israel's Representative, literal and spiritual. Jesus quotes it "Lord," not "my Lord," because Jehovah addresses Him as Israel's and the church's Lord, not merely David's.
Had the Pharisees believed in Messiah's Godhead they could have answered: As man Messiah was David's son, as God He was David's and the church's Lord. The Sanhedrin unanimously (Mr 14:64) condemned Him to death, not for His claim to Messiahship but to Godhead (Joh 19:7; Lu 22:70-71, "art Thou the Son of God?" etc., Lu 23:1; Mt 26:63-66). So contrary to man's thoughts was this truth that, Jesus says, not flesh and blood, but the Father revealed it to Peter (Mt 16:17). The Jews thrice took up stones to kill Him for blasphemy
(1) in unequivocally claiming God to be peculiarly "His own Father" (idion patera): Joh 5:18. Again,
(2) in claiming divine pre-existence, "before Abraham was created ("began to be", genesthai), I am" (eimi): Joh 8:58-59. And
(3) in saying, "I and the Father are one" (hen, one "essence", not person): Joh 10:30-31,33.
The apostles preached His divine Lordship as well as Messiahship (Ac 2:36). His acknowledged purity of character forbids the possibility of His claiming this, as He certainly did and as the Jews understood Him, if the claim were untrue; He never would have left them under the delusion that He claimed it if delusion it were. But the Jews from De 13:1-11 (some thought Jesus specially meant, "if the son of thy mother entice thee," for He had a human mother, He said, but not a human father) inferred that His miracles, which they could not deny, did not substantiate His claim, and that their duty was to kill with holy zeal One who sought to draw them to worship as divine another beside God. They knew not that He claimed not to be distinct God, but One with the Father, One God; they shut their eyes to De 18:15, etc., and so incurred the there foretold penalty of rejecting Him. His miracles they attributed to Satan's help (Mt 12:24,27; Mr 3:22; Lu 11:15; Joh 7:20; 8:48; Mt 10:25).
Men may commit awful sins in fanatical zeal for God, with the Scriptures in their hands, while following unenlightened conscience; conscience needs to be illuminated by the Spirit, and guided by prayerful search of Scripture. The Jews ought to have searched the Scriptures and then they would have known. Ignorance does not excuse, however it may palliate, blind zeal; they might have known if they would. Yet Jesus interceded for their ignorance (Lu 23:34; Ac 3:17; 13:27). Deniers of Jesus' Godhead on the plea of God's unity copy the Jews, who crucified Him because of His claim to be God. The Ebionites, Cerinthians, and other heretics who denied His Godhead, arose from the ranks of Judaism.
The arguments of the ancient Christian apologists, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, etc., against the Jews, afford admirable arguments against modern Socinians; the Jews sinned against the dimmer light of the Old Testament, Socinians against the broad light of both Old and New Testament The combination in One, the Son of God and the Son of man, was such as no human mind could have devised. The Jews could not ascend to the idea of Christ's divine Sonship, nor descend to the depth of Christ's sufferings as the Son of man; so they invented the figment of two Messiahs to reconcile the seemingly opposite prophecies, those of His transcendent glory and those of His exceeding sufferings. The gospel at once opposes the Jews' false monotheism by declaring Christ to be the coequal Son of God, and the pagan polytheism by declaring the unity of God.