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Is "Son" of God Too Vague?

BradK
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6/19/2014 1:32:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I was thinking about the Holy Trinity, and trying to understand it just for my own sake. It occurred to me that calling God, and God's son, God, is confusing. That's a confusing sentence.

So when we say "son" of god, should we distinguish that this doesn't mean "son" in the most common meaning? We all know the word "son" can mean "biological human male offspring". And many words can have synonyms. Often the context gives the meaning of the word, so if I say something like "catch", it works equally well in the phrases "catch a cold" or "catch of the day". So I figured, "son" is one of those words. It should be able to work equally as well in "John Doe's son", or "son of God".

But here's the catch: Jesus was a biological person. It seems redundant to say, but he would have had DNA, and he would have had sperm through which to pass on that DNA. And since he had an XY pair of chromosomes, he had to get them from somewhere. In Christian theology, Mary is sometimes referred to as the mother of God. So it's starting to look like the word "son" is being used in it's biological context here, not it's spiritual context.

---

So synonyms are perfectly OK it seems, as long as their domains don't ambiguously overlap. Above, you know that I was referring to either fishing or sickness. There was no thought in your mind, until now of course, that it could have meant "out fishing with a cold". The two were distinct.

Yet with "son of God", the word is partly in the biological domain because the pregnant virgin Mary nursed the baby Jesus in her womb, the same as any baby develops in any womb. And the word is partly in the spiritual domain because it is referring to God. However, "son of God" is not meant to refer to biology, it's supposed to refer to spirituality.

---

So my suggestion: should we stop using the phrase "son of God" and start using the phrase "spiritual son of God" to make it clear we are referring to the spiritual aspects of Jesus, not the biological aspects?
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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6/19/2014 2:19:37 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/19/2014 1:32:10 PM, BradK wrote:
I was thinking about the Holy Trinity, and trying to understand it just for my own sake. It occurred to me that calling God, and God's son, God, is confusing. That's a confusing sentence.

So when we say "son" of god, should we distinguish that this doesn't mean "son" in the most common meaning? We all know the word "son" can mean "biological human male offspring". And many words can have synonyms. Often the context gives the meaning of the word, so if I say something like "catch", it works equally well in the phrases "catch a cold" or "catch of the day". So I figured, "son" is one of those words. It should be able to work equally as well in "John Doe's son", or "son of God".

But here's the catch: Jesus was a biological person. It seems redundant to say, but he would have had DNA, and he would have had sperm through which to pass on that DNA. And since he had an XY pair of chromosomes, he had to get them from somewhere. In Christian theology, Mary is sometimes referred to as the mother of God. So it's starting to look like the word "son" is being used in it's biological context here, not it's spiritual context.

---

So synonyms are perfectly OK it seems, as long as their domains don't ambiguously overlap. Above, you know that I was referring to either fishing or sickness. There was no thought in your mind, until now of course, that it could have meant "out fishing with a cold". The two were distinct.

Yet with "son of God", the word is partly in the biological domain because the pregnant virgin Mary nursed the baby Jesus in her womb, the same as any baby develops in any womb. And the word is partly in the spiritual domain because it is referring to God. However, "son of God" is not meant to refer to biology, it's supposed to refer to spirituality.

---

So my suggestion: should we stop using the phrase "son of God" and start using the phrase "spiritual son of God" to make it clear we are referring to the spiritual aspects of Jesus, not the biological aspects?

Well you could take the biological view and think... If the Virgin Mary gave birth to a boy, then that boy's Y chromosome had to some from somewhere (since the mother will only have two X's). Therefore Jesus's Y chromosome would literally have been the God gene :-p

On a separate note, I am running this argument in my Jesus is the son of god vs being an alien debate:

P1) All male sentient beings are the sons of God
P2) Jesus was a male sentient being
C) Jesus was a son of God

And my justification for P1 is assuming dualism. With a causal gap argument, consciousness needs to be manifest somewhere, and it can be argued to be immaterial. One explanation for it is God.

Something like:

P1) Concious beings only come from concious beings
P2) An infinite regress of concious beings is impossible
C) There is a first, uncaused concious being

Which gives something like.

P1) God is the father of our conciousness
P2) All sentient beings are their conciousness
C) All sentient beings are sons of God

... Okay I am making this up as I go along.. But it is fun non the less....
BradK
Posts: 475
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6/19/2014 2:41:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/19/2014 2:19:37 PM, Envisage wrote:
P1) All male sentient beings are the sons of God

I'm seeing this kind of stuff to often on the site. Spirituality is not logical. It can't be treated like logic. Because spirituality is basically metaphors and equivocation. Logic is grounded, sensible, objective, and can either withstand criticism or crumble under it. But with spirituality you can just redefine words whenever you want because there is no concrete meaning to the words. How many meanings are there for the word "god"?

Hint: In Islam there's 99 names for god, as muslims will often proudly tell you. In Christianity there's 3 parts to god. It's not a concrete word. You can't use it in a logical premise because it's not logic. I don't know how to say that any other way.
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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6/19/2014 2:43:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/19/2014 2:41:06 PM, BradK wrote:
At 6/19/2014 2:19:37 PM, Envisage wrote:
P1) All male sentient beings are the sons of God

I'm seeing this kind of stuff to often on the site. Spirituality is not logical. It can't be treated like logic. Because spirituality is basically metaphors and equivocation. Logic is grounded, sensible, objective, and can either withstand criticism or crumble under it. But with spirituality you can just redefine words whenever you want because there is no concrete meaning to the words. How many meanings are there for the word "god"?

Hint: In Islam there's 99 names for god, as muslims will often proudly tell you. In Christianity there's 3 parts to god. It's not a concrete word. You can't use it in a logical premise because it's not logic. I don't know how to say that any other way.

Well a Son depicts a parent. And a parent gives you your intrinsic properties, your DNA for one. God could be said to give another intrinsic property, conciousness.

Seems to be a fair enough take if the interpretation of what a father is is loosened a little.
BradK
Posts: 475
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6/19/2014 2:51:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/19/2014 2:43:27 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 6/19/2014 2:41:06 PM, BradK wrote:
At 6/19/2014 2:19:37 PM, Envisage wrote:
P1) All male sentient beings are the sons of God

I'm seeing this kind of stuff to often on the site. Spirituality is not logical. It can't be treated like logic. Because spirituality is basically metaphors and equivocation. Logic is grounded, sensible, objective, and can either withstand criticism or crumble under it. But with spirituality you can just redefine words whenever you want because there is no concrete meaning to the words. How many meanings are there for the word "god"?

Hint: In Islam there's 99 names for god, as muslims will often proudly tell you. In Christianity there's 3 parts to god. It's not a concrete word. You can't use it in a logical premise because it's not logic. I don't know how to say that any other way.

Well a Son depicts a parent. And a parent gives you your intrinsic properties, your DNA for one. God could be said to give another intrinsic property, conciousness.


And low and behold ladies and gentleman, just like I said, here is the equivocation when discussing spirituality:

Seems to be a fair enough take if the interpretation of what a father is is loosened a little.

I'm not trying to pick on you, I'm using what you are saying as an example of how spirituality can't be debated. It's whatever people want it to be, that's just what it is. You can't debate that. To some people, their spirituality involves a literal interpretation of the Bible. To some people, spirituality means what the Bible literally says is wrong but they pick out the parts they like.

If you want to be critical, you should clearly distinguish between "father" of Jesus who happens to be invisible, undetected and undefined; and "father" of every other human that's been observed, which happens to be another human. Because they don't mean the same thing. What is it that "father" means when talking about god and Jesus? I don't know. Do you?
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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6/19/2014 2:57:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/19/2014 2:51:38 PM, BradK wrote:
At 6/19/2014 2:43:27 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 6/19/2014 2:41:06 PM, BradK wrote:
At 6/19/2014 2:19:37 PM, Envisage wrote:
P1) All male sentient beings are the sons of God

I'm seeing this kind of stuff to often on the site. Spirituality is not logical. It can't be treated like logic. Because spirituality is basically metaphors and equivocation. Logic is grounded, sensible, objective, and can either withstand criticism or crumble under it. But with spirituality you can just redefine words whenever you want because there is no concrete meaning to the words. How many meanings are there for the word "god"?

Hint: In Islam there's 99 names for god, as muslims will often proudly tell you. In Christianity there's 3 parts to god. It's not a concrete word. You can't use it in a logical premise because it's not logic. I don't know how to say that any other way.

Well a Son depicts a parent. And a parent gives you your intrinsic properties, your DNA for one. God could be said to give another intrinsic property, conciousness.



And low and behold ladies and gentleman, just like I said, here is the equivocation when discussing spirituality:

Seems to be a fair enough take if the interpretation of what a father is is loosened a little.

I'm not trying to pick on you, I'm using what you are saying as an example of how spirituality can't be debated. It's whatever people want it to be, that's just what it is. You can't debate that. To some people, their spirituality involves a literal interpretation of the Bible. To some people, spirituality means what the Bible literally says is wrong but they pick out the parts they like.

Well I disagree that it can't be debated, so long as things are defined beforehand and hence no moving of the goalposts can occur.

I defined what I needed to. There is no equivocation occurring here, since the words mean the same thing in both context.

If you want to be critical, you should clearly distinguish between "father" of Jesus who happens to be invisible, undetected and undefined; and "father" of every other human that's been observed, which happens to be another human. Because they don't mean the same thing. What is it that "father" means when talking about god and Jesus? I don't know. Do you?

Well when I was a Christian then then the father to Jesus was a different concept to a father to us. But then I never tried to put my beliefs regarding Christianity into a rational framework...

It seems reasonable that the giver of our consciousness would fit the definition of a father. Also remember God is supposed to be supervising us 24/7, so in effect he spends more time with us than our biological fathers... So you could make the argument that he's a father in a parental sense, since he is supposed to play an intervening role (answers prayers, etc).
12_13
Posts: 1,361
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6/19/2014 3:06:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/19/2014 1:32:10 PM, BradK wrote:
So my suggestion: should we stop using the phrase "son of God" and start using the phrase "spiritual son of God" to make it clear we are referring to the spiritual aspects of Jesus, not the biological aspects?

But according to the Bible, Jesus was born because of the influence of God. Therefore I think he is also biological son of God.

The angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore also the holy one who is born from you will be called the Son of God.
Luke 1:35

However I think son of God is mainly in spiritual sense. As it is with children of God.

Little children, let no one lead you astray. He who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. To this end the Son of God was revealed, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever is born of God doesn't commit sin, because his seed remains in him; and he can't sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the devil. Whoever doesn't do righteousness is not of God, neither is he who doesn't love his brother.
1 John 3:7-10

Also disciples of Jesus become children of God.

Jesus answered him, "Most assuredly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can't see the Kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can't enter into the Kingdom of God! That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don't marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born anew.'
John 3:3-7

But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God's children, to those who believe in his name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:12-13
BradK
Posts: 475
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6/19/2014 3:12:46 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/19/2014 2:57:14 PM, Envisage wrote:

Well when I was a Christian then then the father to Jesus was a different concept to a father to us. But then I never tried to put my beliefs regarding Christianity into a rational framework...

It seems reasonable that the giver of our consciousness would fit the definition of a father. Also remember God is supposed to be supervising us 24/7, so in effect he spends more time with us than our biological fathers... So you could make the argument that he's a father in a parental sense, since he is supposed to play an intervening role (answers prayers, etc).

The sorts of things that can't be put into a rational framework: wouldn't you agree that those are the sorts of things that can't be debated? There are obviously things in religion that are both irrational and true, for example Muslims believe Jesus was not the son of God and that the resurrection didn't happen, but they do believe the Adam and Eve story to be literally true. Some Christians don't believe the Adam and Eve story is literally true but they believe the resurrection did happen. And these statements are true. They could be debated. And they do involve spiritual matters. But things that can't be put into a rational framework at all (those things can because you at least have statements that followers of different faiths either need to agree or disagree with for there to be a winner in the debate), but irrational things like God being real can't be debated. It can't be proved or disproved. So it can't be debated.

---

My whole point here though, is that Jesus was not the son of god, in the only sensible denotation of the word "son". We need to either

A) show that Jesus' Y chromosome came from god's sperm

B) say it in a different way, like "spiritual son"
BradK
Posts: 475
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6/19/2014 3:13:37 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/19/2014 3:06:52 PM, 12_13 wrote:
At 6/19/2014 1:32:10 PM, BradK wrote:
So my suggestion: should we stop using the phrase "son of God" and start using the phrase "spiritual son of God" to make it clear we are referring to the spiritual aspects of Jesus, not the biological aspects?

But according to the Bible, Jesus was born because of the influence of God. Therefore I think he is also biological son of God.


Influence != sperm
matt.mcguire88
Posts: 1,137
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6/19/2014 3:25:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/19/2014 1:32:10 PM, BradK wrote:
I was thinking about the Holy Trinity, and trying to understand it just for my own sake. It occurred to me that calling God, and God's son, God, is confusing. That's a confusing sentence.

So when we say "son" of god, should we distinguish that this doesn't mean "son" in the most common meaning? We all know the word "son" can mean "biological human male offspring". And many words can have synonyms. Often the context gives the meaning of the word, so if I say something like "catch", it works equally well in the phrases "catch a cold" or "catch of the day". So I figured, "son" is one of those words. It should be able to work equally as well in "John Doe's son", or "son of God".

But here's the catch: Jesus was a biological person. It seems redundant to say, but he would have had DNA, and he would have had sperm through which to pass on that DNA. And since he had an XY pair of chromosomes, he had to get them from somewhere. In Christian theology, Mary is sometimes referred to as the mother of God. So it's starting to look like the word "son" is being used in it's biological context here, not it's spiritual context.

---

So synonyms are perfectly OK it seems, as long as their domains don't ambiguously overlap. Above, you know that I was referring to either fishing or sickness. There was no thought in your mind, until now of course, that it could have meant "out fishing with a cold". The two were distinct.

Yet with "son of God", the word is partly in the biological domain because the pregnant virgin Mary nursed the baby Jesus in her womb, the same as any baby develops in any womb. And the word is partly in the spiritual domain because it is referring to God. However, "son of God" is not meant to refer to biology, it's supposed to refer to spirituality.

---

So my suggestion: should we stop using the phrase "son of God" and start using the phrase "spiritual son of God" to make it clear we are referring to the spiritual aspects of Jesus, not the biological aspects?

What I'd like to know is why do you care? Why do you spend your time dwelling on aspects of Christianity when it's a stupid scam? If you think nothing more of it than meaningless metaphors and a sales pitch, why would you possibly waste your time? What's the motivation? Genuinely curious....
BradK
Posts: 475
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6/19/2014 3:32:48 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/19/2014 3:25:42 PM, matt.mcguire88 wrote:

What I'd like to know is why do you care? Why do you spend your time dwelling on aspects of Christianity when it's a stupid scam? If you think nothing more of it than meaningless metaphors and a sales pitch, why would you possibly waste your time? What's the motivation? Genuinely curious....

Well I don't think it is actually merely a scam. I just say that to see what other people say. This is the internet obviously. I'm just trying to understand the faith. I was raised in it. I still have family and friends who follow it. I can't confidently voice my opinions for fear of being called a "strident atheist" or offending or disconcerting other people I know. So it still has a foothold in my life. I'm just trying to understand it, that's all.
merbear2536
Posts: 35
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6/19/2014 8:45:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
One thing you have to realize is that Jesus was 100% human and 100% God. I dont know if this is relevant but I think it is worth noting. I do not think this arguement is a make or break deal regarding Christianity. Yes it would be interesting to know but I think this is one of those questions that doesnt really matter in the big picture. It is sort of like asking what was going on with the water molecules when Jesus was walking on them. It doesnt matter how he did it just that he did it.
civilbuthonest
Posts: 110
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6/19/2014 9:05:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/19/2014 3:12:46 PM, BradK wrote:
At 6/19/2014 2:57:14 PM, Envisage wrote:

Well when I was a Christian then then the father to Jesus was a different concept to a father to us. But then I never tried to put my beliefs regarding Christianity into a rational framework...

It seems reasonable that the giver of our consciousness would fit the definition of a father. Also remember God is supposed to be supervising us 24/7, so in effect he spends more time with us than our biological fathers... So you could make the argument that he's a father in a parental sense, since he is supposed to play an intervening role (answers prayers, etc).

The sorts of things that can't be put into a rational framework: wouldn't you agree that those are the sorts of things that can't be debated? There are obviously things in religion that are both irrational and true, for example Muslims believe Jesus was not the son of God and that the resurrection didn't happen, but they do believe the Adam and Eve story to be literally true. Some Christians don't believe the Adam and Eve story is literally true but they believe the resurrection did happen. And these statements are true. They could be debated. And they do involve spiritual matters. But things that can't be put into a rational framework at all (those things can because you at least have statements that followers of different faiths either need to agree or disagree with for there to be a winner in the debate), but irrational things like God being real can't be debated. It can't be proved or disproved. So it can't be debated.

---

My whole point here though, is that Jesus was not the son of god, in the only sensible denotation of the word "son". We need to either

A) show that Jesus' Y chromosome came from god's sperm

B) say it in a different way, like "spiritual son"

G'day Brad,

Everything you say is true and logical, unless we choose to shut our eyes and ignore the reality of how conception takes place. The 'facts of life' cannot be seriously disputed.

However, and I'm not knocking you, but maybe you are naive re what the real issues are here, or then again you maybe wiser than me and deliberately treading very softly so as not to offend the theists, because no one ever changed someone else's point of view by offending them. In that sense, Dawkins, with his abrasive, militant style, is naive.

The real issue here is that many Christians believe this 'Son of God' thing to be at the very heart of their Christian faith, and may be reluctant to discuss it because a literal interpretation of 'Son of God' is difficult to defend. And, by my own words, I may be naive to say that, because the practical effect can be that some Christians will retreat further into their defensive bunkers, and/or be even more reluctant to talk about it. Point in case MCG88 who notably sidestepped the points that you raised. My own approach is to be civil, respectful, yet still forthright and honest, and trust that this will engender a similar response from others.

Most Christians already accept that many things in the Bible are not literally true, such as the creation of Earth, and many (actually probably most) would also accept that Jesus was not literally conceived from God's sperm, so I agree with you that it makes sense to refer to Jesus as the spiritual son of God. Religion has to move with the times and adapt to modern knowledge if it is to stay believable and relevant to future generations, so ultimately I think that your suggestions would benefit Christianity, rather than threaten it. I have some close and wonderful Christian friends who gave the gift of a children's book to my (at that time) young children, with the title 'The Story of the Creation'. None of the beauty of the Biblical account of the creation was lost, and everyone was a winner. Referring to Jesus as the Spiritual son of God is the same deal. Way to go.