Question:

It appears Christ was only begotten by God at his baptism. Please respond.


Answer:

The Greek word being translated as "only begotten" is monogenes. It is a compound word meaning “the only one of a race” or “the only born.” In literature it is used to refer an only child and it can be seen translated as such in Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38; and Hebrews 11:17. In the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament it is used in describing Isaac (Genesis 22:2, 12, 16) and Jephthah’s daughter (Judges 11:34). Isaac was technically not an only child, but he was the unique child of promise to Abraham. Just as an only child is treasured by his parents, the Greek word monogenes also carries the connotation of someone beloved.

When applied to Jesus, the word means that Jesus is the only one of his kind, which he was since he alone has God as his father -- not in an indirect sense, but literally. It also indicates his heritage; he is the Son of God and thus is himself deity. In this way he is completely unique. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Notice that John calls Jesus the only begotten of the Father because the Word (God - John 1:1) became flesh. Thus it is by his birth, not his baptism that made him the only begotten of the Father. "Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God" (John 5:18).