What does the Bible tell us about the nature of God? Does Scripture present to us a “oneness” about God whose existence is defined in the context of two or three distinct beings who constitute “one” God?
Moses wrote that in the beginning God created the heaven and earth, and Moses described how the heavens and the earth were ordained and fashioned for the habitation of humanity and the “genesis” of the first man Adam.
Notably, then, because of what Moses wrote regarding the “beginning” of the heavens and the earth and the “beginning” of the first man Adam, we find that this book of the Pentateuch’s canon was distinguished by the phrase “in the beginning,” and the meaning of this phrase led to the adoption of the commonly used title, “Genesis.” And, interestingly, if we were to apply this descriptive method to the written works of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John we could reasonably entitle each of them “Genesis” as well, because each writer included a genesis narrative in their epistles, with each conveying an understanding of who Jesus was and is, and also who and what is God.
Leading us then to review these particular “genesis” accounts in what has traditionally become known as the “gospels” of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Now when we consider the ministry of John the Baptist we see that he called upon people to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins, and these doctrines and teachings became foundational to the prophet John’s message of the coming kingdom of God.
Being the same message proclaimed by Jesus when he returned to Galilee after being tempted in the wilderness by Satan.
Marking the beginning—the “genesis”—of the proclamation brought by Jesus to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt. 15:24).
For we find in Mark’s account that he wrote about the “beginning [ἀρχή, archē, origin] of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God,” and Mark associated this origin of Jesus’ gospel with the mission and work accomplished by John the Baptist (Mk. 1:1). Noting that because of John the Baptist’s work we have, in part, the knowledge of when and where and how the good news of the kingdom of God began to be proclaimed by Jesus. [Author’s emphasis throughout.]
Bringing us then to consider another “genesis” account that was recorded in the written work of Jesus’ disciple, Matthew.
For Matthew wrote “of the generation [γένεσις, ghen’-es-is, genesis] of Jesus Christ” in the context of a genealogical pedigree associated with King David and the patriarch Abraham. While confirming that Jesus was indeed “born in Bethlehem of Judaea,” and destined by his lineage and by the will of God to become a governor who shall rule God’s people Israel (Mt. 1:1-6; 2:1-6; Lk. 3:23-38).
Which is a rather astounding claim made by Matthew in regard to the lineage that is associated with Joseph the husband of Mary.
Nonetheless, it is evident from Matthew’s testimonial work that Jesus had a genealogical context associated with his human beginning—his “genesis”—and that beginning was to be found in the lineage of the patriarch Abraham. And so Matthew was able to affirm by this pedigree that the establishment of the promises given to Abraham would be fulfilled through his descendant Jesus, who was the firstborn son of Mary.
Something that was also affirmed by the biographer of Jesus’ life—the physician Luke.
Now Luke wrote about the things that were “surely believed” by himself and by others who “from the beginning [ἀρχή, archē, origin] were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word [logos],” and these eyewitness accounts assure us that Jesus was indeed the firstborn human son of Mary. And so we find in Luke’s account that Mary—the mother of Jesus—was told by the angel Gabriel that she would “conceive” in her womb, and “bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus” (Lk. 1:1-2; 31). (The same message was given in a dream to Mary’s husband, Joseph.)
Being a statement that undoubtedly cannot be interpreted to mean that Jesus had a previous spirit form as God—who became a “god-man”—because Mary would have obviously understood that the conception of Jesus would be brought about by the “power of the Highest,” which would mean that Jesus would be called the “son of God” (Lk. 1:35). (It is inconceivable to believe that Mary—given the context of Gabriel’s message—would have referred to her son Jesus as “God the son.”)
But more than this we can be certain that Mary would have known by Gabriel’s words that Jesus would have been her “firstborn” son, and therefore she certainly would not have accepted the idea that she would give birth to a transformed being and considered herself to be the mother of God. And we know this because Mary responded to the message of the angel Gabriel by stating “be it unto me according to thy word,” which would give us confidence in saying that Mary, as an eyewitness to the origin of her son Jesus, had accepted the validity of Gabriel’s message that she would conceive by the holy spirit of God (Lk. 1:38).
Thus, it can be reasonably concluded that the written works attributed to Matthew, Mark and Luke contain important narratives that explain the origin of Jesus, and the relationship of his genesis to the pedigree of Abraham, and also the origin of the gospel that Jesus proclaimed beginning in Galilee of Judea. Noting also that Matthew, Mark and Luke never testified that Jesus was previously a god-being who transformed himself into a man and was then birthed by Mary. (Jesus was not a created being, but rather Jesus was a human being conceived in Mary by the power of the holy spirit of God.)
Bringing us then to review a statement made by the Apostle Paul who concluded from the historical accounts and from the testimonies of eyewitnesses that Jesus was not only the son of God, but Jesus was also another “Adam.”
For Paul wrote that: “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven” (I Cor. 15:45-47).
So, how then was the Apostle Paul able to conclude that Jesus was another Adam?
Obviously, Paul was knowledgeable of the writings of Moses and the testimonies of the prophets of ancient Israel and the teachings of Jesus and the eyewitness accounts attributed to the disciples and followers of Jesus.
Therefore, the Apostle Paul surely knew that Jesus was the firstborn son of Mary and also the “firstborn” by the resurrection of the dead, and this was affirmed by the Apostle John who was told that Jesus himself was “the faithful and true witness,” and the “beginning [ἀρχή, archē, origin] of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14). Which allowed the Apostle Paul to further explain—in the context of the resurrection from the dead—that Jesus was the first to be born into the kingdom of God (Mt. 1:25; Lk. 2:7; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15-18).
Allowing us to say that Jesus was not the creator of a new creation, but rather because he was the firstborn from the dead, and was made a “quickening spirit,” he was the actual “beginning” of a new creation of God, and because the holy spirit would be given to us through Jesus, it became possible for us to become a “new creation” in Christ. For Paul wrote that: “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17). (We shall see Jesus as he is because we, as a new creation in Jesus, shall be like Jesus (Jn. 5:21; I Jn. 3:1-2).)
Implying, of course, that Jesus also had a genesis like the first man Adam.
Bringing us then to determine when and where and how the “word was made flesh” in the person of Jesus, and when and where and how Jesus became the “last Adam.”
Now Moses wrote that in the beginning there was the physical creation of the heavens and the earth, and at some later time this creation was ordained and fashioned for the genesis of the first man Adam, and Moses explained that by God’s word (utterance) and by God’s spirit the creation was established for the origin of Adam.
Something that we may observe in the “Genesis” account because Moses spoke of God, and what God said, and how the spirit of God had “moved” or “fluttered” down, and fashioned the heavens and the earth and also brought life into the first man Adam. Giving us then the origin or “genesis” of the first man Adam who received the breath of life and “became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7; I Cor. 15:45).
Thus, according to Moses’ account we can know—relatively speaking—when and where and how the first man Adam was created by God—becoming the origin of humankind in the family of Adam.
Which brings us to the “genesis” account of the Apostle John.
Now the Apostle John drew upon the framework of Moses’ explanation of Adam’s beginning—Adam’s genesis—and like Moses we see that John begins his account by stating that “in the beginning [ἀρχή, archē, origin]” was the “word [logos]” of God, and this logos was with God, and God was this logos (Jn. 1:1).
Notably, then, when we examine the context established by the Apostle John, we see that John is not talking about the origin of the first man Adam, and he is not discussing the beginning of the gospel message of the kingdom of God, and he is certainly not addressing the genesis of Jesus as the firstborn son of Mary who was in the lineage of the patriarch Abraham.
Consequently, we are brought to ask a question about the “genesis” account written by the Apostle John.
So we ask: What “beginning” or origin was the Apostle John talking about in the context of John the Baptist’s testimony and the baptism of Jesus?
The Apostle Paul tells us that: “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). And Paul also tells us that by the holy spirit we become a “new creature [creation]” in Christ (II Cor. 5:17). Which would mean that if Jesus was the beginning of this new creation—and we are a new creation in Christ by the holy spirit—then there would have to be a time when Jesus himself received the holy spirit of God.
And there was a time when the holy spirit came upon Jesus.
And there were witnesses to this event.
For the Apostle John wrote about a type of “genesis” that occurred after Jesus’ baptism, and this beginning was witnessed by Jesus and by John the Baptist who saw the holy spirit move or flutter down from heaven like a dove and come upon Jesus. And the prophet John testified that he saw: “the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost [spirit]” (Jn. 1:32-33). (See also, Lk. 3:22).
Thus, by receiving the holy spirit, Jesus was begotten of the holy spirit, and by the spirit of God we know that God was in Christ, and so the Apostle John wrote that: “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his [God’s] glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me” (Jn. 1:14-15). Which explains how the “word” that was and is God was made flesh in Jesus, and by the spirit of God and the word of God we see that Jesus was able to become the firstborn from the dead and the first to be born into the kingdom of God. (The Apostle John’s statement is in the context of Jesus’s baptism and the witness of the prophet John who saw a manifestation of the spirit of God (I Cor. 12:8).) (See also, Heb. 1:5; 4:14.)
And so the “beginning” that the Apostle John was talking about was the origin of those begotten of the spirit of God, and in this context we know that the “word was made flesh,” and therefore the authors of Hebrews tell us that God spoke through his son Jesus. For we see that: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by [on account of] whom also he made the worlds (ages); Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Heb. 1:1-4).
Understandably, then, by John’s “genesis” account we can know—relatively speaking—when and where and how the “word was made flesh,” because the Apostle John tells us that: “In the beginning [ἀρχή, archē, origin] was the Word [utterance], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him [God] was life; and the life was the light of men” (Jn. 1:1-4). (The “word” of God has no comprehensible origin because the utterance of God is eternal with God and always with God.)
Which is telling.
Because John tells us that the “word” was “with God” and the “word” was God and “in him [God] was life,” and this life was the “light of men” that was manifested to John the Baptist and to Jesus, and this life that was in God (the logos) was observed to descend upon Jesus, and Jesus was filled with the holy spirit of God (Lk. 4:1). Making it evident by the testimony of the Apostle John and the testimony of John the Baptist that the “life” that was in the “word [logos],” who was God, was seen coming from heaven to flutter down like a dove upon Jesus, who was on the earth standing by the Jordan River with John the Baptist. (Pentecost was not the beginning of the church but the beginning of those who would become a new creation in Christ, or as we see in John’s “genesis” account, those able to be born of God in Christ (Mt. 20:23).)
Leading us to conclude by these testimonies that “in the beginning (origin)” the logos was with God while Jesus was with John the Baptist, and therefore the life—the eternal life that was with the Father—was the life that came to dwell in Jesus.
Therefore, Jesus was not God, but God was in Christ.
Explaining then how the “word was made flesh” in the son of God, Jesus.
Affirmed, of course, by the testimony of the Apostle Paul who wrote to the church at Corinth and said: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:19). Which is in harmony with the “genesis” account written by the Apostle John who said: “He [God] was in the world, and the world was made by him [God], and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:10-13). (Compare to I Jn. 5:1-5.)
So, we can conclude that Christ was not God, but God was in Christ, because the logos of God and the spirit of God are manifestations of the one being who is God, and this God was in his son Jesus, and by being begotten of the spirit of God, Jesus was able to be born of God (I Cor. 8:6). Which brings us to reflect on a statement found in the book of Hebrews that cannot be explained by the paradigms of the Binity and Trinity, for the authors of Hebrews wrote: “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him” (Heb. 1:5-6).
Giving us then the context and premise to determine when Jesus became the “last Adam” in comparison to the first man Adam.
Because the Apostle Paul tells us that the first man became a “living soul” when he by the spirit of God received the breath of life, which tells us that this was the genesis of the first man Adam, and Paul also tells us that the “second man”—Jesus—was begotten by the spirit of God, and was made a “quickening spirit” and the beginning of a new creation, making Jesus another Adam—the first to be born of God—and the “beginning” of the spiritual family of God (Rev 1:5-6). (andrewburdettewrites.com) (Final in a three-part series.)
Also see: Was Jesus Born Again?