Debate with Blake– “Son of God”

Transcript of Debate 

 I recently had the pleasant opportunity to engage Blake, an Evangelical friend of mine, in a debate over the meaning of “Son of God” in reference to Jesus Christ. We agreed that the title can be interpreted in both figurative and literal ways. 

 Laying aside any discussion over the figurative meaning, I pressed him for details regarding how he can ‘literally’ understand the phrase “son of God” in the context of the Trinity. The debate centered around one passage of scripture, Luke 1:35, in which Christ is called the “Son of God” in connection with the unique nature of his conception.

As a faithful LDS I recognize that the infant Jesus was conceived by the union of chromosomes coming from a biological mother and a biological father. Mary provided the DNA from the maternal side, while God the Father provided the DNA from the paternal side. In this way Jesus is “fully man” as Evangelicals tend to put it.

 After sorting out our views I discovered that my friend Blake does not believe that the DNA provided by God in any way reflects any biological characteristics of God, for according to the Trinity God the Father has no DNA or biological characteristics. The DNA provided by God was especially created for the event. This certainly allows for Jesus to be “fully man”, but not to the extent that LDS interpretations allow for.

I believe that Blake’s interpretation of the event is alright, if not the best interpretation. The bible authors do not go to any lengths to describe the metaphysical/physical mechanics of the conception of Jesus. It is mentioned quite clearly that the Holy Spirit participated in the event, but his role is not specified.

It seems obvious to me that Luke was addressing an audience who had no preconceived notions about the Trinity, and who would have understood “Son of God” at face value. It was expected that his uneducated readers would interpret his words very literally. What reason would they have to suspect that Luke’s use of “Son of God” was anything but literal?

And so I once again see my Trinitarian friends having to interpret the text of the Bible in figurative ways in order for their theology to make sense. For them, Jesus is as much the “Son of God” as Adam is the “son of God” in terms of literal relationships. There is no real and special father/son relationship in the Trinity.

I of course do not object to interpreting the bible figuratively when necessary, but I feel that Evangelicals need to do it far too often.

James

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5 comments on “Debate with Blake– “Son of God”

  1. non-mormon-observer says:

    First, as someone who was raised in an Evangelical home, and whose father was an Evangelical minister for over 40 years I find it ironic that this debate over figurative versus literal interpretation of the Sonship of Jesus even came up.

    More often than not EV’s (as I lovingly refer to them) take a literal approach to interpreting scripture. In fact whenever they hae the option of taking a passage in a literal way, they usually accept it as such. Hence the reason they term themselves “Bible believeing” or “Full gospel” so as to make a disticntion between themselves and mainline Protestants who tend to view scripture in figurative or metaphorical ways.

    Second, as someone who has been very interested in LDS thought, history and practice, and having spent much of the last year reading the various texts and websites etc…I am left wondering exactly what LDS mean when they understand the Sonship of Jesus in the flesh as being such a literal subject. In other word’s we do not know what role the H.S. played in the process but there is the “knowledge” that God the Father is felsh and bones ~ so does that imply that among LDS the basic thought is that GTF had sexual intercourse with Mary in order to produce Jesus in the Flesh?

  2. James says:

    Hi, thanks for your comments.

    In my experience, Evangelicals and Mormons both
    tend to interpret the various miracles and almost unbelievable stories of the OT and NT quite literally, as opposed to the more liberal protestants as you have pointed out.

    But in regards to interpreting subjects involving the nature of God, man, and their relationship to each other, Mormons definantly interpret the scriptures much more literally, even if it is incorrect to do so (not that I believe it is).

    LDS belief certainly does demand (in my opinion) that God the Father shared real biological DNA with Mary when Jesus was concieved. There has been speculation in past times about how this was done, but in today’s advanced world it is not at all hard to see that impregnating a woman without sexual intercourse is completely possible. You may be interested in this link:
    http://en.fairmormon.org/Jesus_Christ%27s_conception

    I frankly am surprised that you would ask that question being that it is one of more common anti-mormon criticisms, and that you have “spent the much of the last year reading the various texts and websites”.

    Thanks for hanging out around here!

  3. Interest post and comments. Thanks.

  4. Hey, when are you going to post something new? :)

  5. James says:

    You mean someone actually reads this thing?? Sorry, it’s been a busy month. I’ll get something up tomorrow.

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