THE FAMILY OF GOD
BY: JOHN GAVAZZONI
DECEMBER 18, 2003
Here I am again – wanting to tap into your knowledge. I have always had a problem understanding the significance of the phrase, “only begotten son” as referring to Jesus in various places in the New Testament. Adam is referred to as the son of God, and it is evident that all humanity, in a sense, are sons of God. The word in the phrase that gives problems is the word, “begotten.” John seems to put great emphasis on this. When you have time, you might relate to me your thoughts on this.
Your question, I must confess, provides me with a welcome opportunity to share what I believe has been a God-given insight into the very nature of God, who, I believe, is better described as Family, rather than trinity. If the Family of God, in essence, is the Family that God is, or the God Family, then that necessarily implies that there is marriage relationship within Deity, including divine intercourse – God, knowing God, “knowing,” as in a man knowing a woman in the biblical sense.
This is at the heart of the love of God… the love which is God. The love of God is not Platonic. Divine Romance pervades the scriptural revelation of God’s relationship with mankind, and that relationship has it’s source in God’s relationship to Him/Her self. God as a Husband and Christ as a Bridegroom colors all that the Bible has to say to us, beginning with a man and woman in innocence and ending with The Man and Woman in glory. All that is in-between is what is necessary for that transition.
That primal, sacred name of God, “I AM,” speaks not merely of God’s self-existence, but also of self-identification, proceeding from self-knowledge. God’s self-knowledge is deeper than God being aware of facts concerning Himself.
God knows the Her that completes Him… knows Her with a love that includes the love-act, the divine intercourse which begat the eternal Son (please, dear reader, do not allow mental pictures of the mere earthly, physical act to intrude upon your understanding and appreciation of the reality in the Spirit that I’m writing about). The Son of His love was eternally begotten by the impregnation and conception which is intrinsic to the Relational Being that is God.
This is the Truth underlying the scriptures that speak of God’s only begotten Son. As it is translated in most versions, John 3:16, seems redundant in saying, “…His only begotten Son.” Why not simply say, “…His only Son,” since to be a son requires that one be begotten? The NIV, if I recall correctly, in fact, translates it that way, leaving out “begotten.”
But when I checked the other translations I have, I noticed that the Emphatic Diaglott, translates it: “…he gave his son, the ONLY-BEGOTTEN…” In the literal rendering of that translation, it goes, “…the son of himself the only-begotten he gave…”
Likewise, the Concordant Greek Text reads, “…the son of-Him the only-generated He-gives…” This removes, it seems to me, the redundancy and, more accurately makes it a matter of emphasis – He is God’s Son, the only begotten, or only generated.
Now this is consistent with Paul’s teaching regarding the singularity of God’s Seed. In Galatians 3:16, he writes, “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is, Christ.” Christ is the anti-type of Isaac through whom God’s promises to Abraham would be fulfilled.
The seed in scripture is the word according to Jesus’ explanation of His parable of the sower. That plant-seed is a type of the sperm of God. The Greek for seed is “sperma.” The Sperm of God uniting with God’s Ovum gives birth to the Son and gives Him the life of God, that life with the very DNA which constitutes the fullness of Deity. That Seed generates the Son of God. This is an eternal generation, not one on a timeline, that is, there was never a “time” when God did not have a Son. An eternal Father, generates an eternal Son.
Now, the question is: How can it be said that Jesus was the only begotten when scripture speaks of God having many sons? The answer lies in the truth that all the generating of God comes from that One Seed, and it is not a matter of God repeatedly impregnating by that Seed, but that the original, unique, One Seed, of course, contained within it, the generations of sons to follow, the many sons, in the image of the only begotten Son. We sons of God have our origin as seeds within the Seed.
The Son of God, the Son of God’s love, is the exact reproduction of Father/Mother God, so the Son is gender-complete like the Father. Within the Body of Christ, is the Bride of Christ, as Eve was within Adam before she was taken out of his side and brought to him as his complement. From this union comes the many sons who are, nevertheless, truly the children of God… truly born of God.
This can be seen when we view Abraham as a type of the Father. He continued to have children through Isaac and Isaac’s progeny, all issuing forth from the one seed that produced Isaac. It is rightly said that all those that followed were children of Abraham. The Book of Hebrews, for instance, speaks of Levi being in the loins of Abraham though Levi was generations removed from Abraham. To put it another way, there is only one generic divine sonship which all the children of God share, that of God’s Son, the only begotten.
When, in the space-time continuum, we become the children of God, this is a matter of the eternal Reality unfolding, or we might say, being existentially duplicated in the ages, so that the life of the eternal God, unfolds as aionian life in the persons of children of God. When John wrote, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God,” he was writing of the aionian confirmation of our eternal sonship within the eternal Son.
The word translated “power” in that verse, should be translated, “authority” or “right,” and my heart leaped when I learned of E. Stanley Jones’ definition of authority as “according to the nature of.” We become sons of God in time according to our God-generated nature given to us in Christ before the world began. Please, though, I want to make one thing very clear (I sound like Richard Nixon). I haven’t been talking about a male god and a female god. I’m talking about the one true God, who is gender-complete.
Though I think that the doctrine of the trinity is an inadequate way of expressing the plurality of God within Their unity/union, the presentation of God in scripture in plural terms is undeniable, and, though not being satisfied with the doctrine of the trinity as such, I am in full agreement regarding the Deity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I just insist that He/She/They be understood as scripture really portrays Them, as One Family of Divine Relational Being, THE Family whose Primal Origin springs from God’s Father/Mother nature.
The eternal Being of Deity unfolds as that Personhood found within THE Family. I AM becomes Family, because I AM is Family by nature. Remember the scripture where Paul speaks of God as the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth is named. In the Bible, to be named has the deeper meaning of being natured.
All families are natured after God, for God is a Family God by nature. From our evangelical background, we are inclined to emphasize our being “born again” as our spiritual experience, but we need to be reminded that our experience proceeded from God’s procreative experience. God experienced Themselves, so to speak, and we are the fruit of that experience.
One last point: The Holy Spirit is not given a family name such as Father and Son, yet He is not to be understood simply as a divine force or influence. The Holy Spirit is the very communion within the Family of God, and since God is Pure Personhood issuing forth from Pure Being… that which flows among or within God is God, not just some quality that is divine in some nebulous sense. God communicates within His Deity by the conveyance and impartation of Himself, as Spirit.
In attempting to provide some answers to your question, I may have created more questions than answers, and if this is the case, I’d be glad to respond more specifically where I haven’t made myself clear.
Good to hear from you again, Dale.
FAMILY of GOD, THE [John R. Gavazzoni] 12-18-03 1