“Perhaps the most stunning christological sonship passages are those that assign transparently divine status to the Son, or speak, with varying degrees of clarity, of His preexistence. Some of the texts we have already canvassed have leaned in this direction, of course– as when the Father determines that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father (John 5:23).
Yet we should reflect on a handful of other passages. In the past, the writer of the Hebrews avers, God spoke to the Fathers through the prophets, but now in these last days He has given us the Son-revelation– the Son ‘whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word’ (Heb. 1:2-3).
The Word that was with God in the beginning (and thus God’s own fellow) and was God (and thus God’s own self) ‘became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:1, 14)).
It is not that this eternal Word became the Son by means of the incarnation, so that it is appropriate to speak of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit only after the incarnation, whereas before the incarnation it would be more appropriate to speak of the Father, the Word, and the Spirit.
No, for as we have seen in Hebrews, the Son is the one by whom God made the universe. In John 3:17, we are told, ‘God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.’ It is fanciful to suppose this means that God sent into the world someone who became the Son after He arrived.
‘The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation… He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together… For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him’; indeed, ‘all things have been created through Him and for Him’ (Col. 1:15-19), making Him not only God’s agent in creation but creation’s master and goal.
In these and numerous other passages (e.g., Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 14:9; 17:1-8; 1 John 5:20), Jesus is not the Son of God by virtue of being the ultimate Israel, nor is He the Son of God by virtue of being the Messiah, the ultimate Davidic king, nor is He the Son of God by virtue of being a perfect human being.
Rather, He is the Son of God from eternity, simultaneously distinguishable from His heavenly Father yet one with Him, the perfect Revealer of the living God.”
–D.A. Carson, Jesus The Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 40-41.
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