I was reading the Bible story of Jesus's birth again and noticed the genealogy in Luke 3. It starts with Jesus and goes through Joseph on through David on to Abraham and all the way down to the beginning where Luke says He was "the son of Adam, the son of God" (Luke 3:38). That is, according to Luke, Adam was the son of God. Does that strike you as odd?
Here, look at it this way. What phrase is perhaps the best known phrase describing Jesus? "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). That's it. He is described as God's "only begotten Son". John uses the phrase 4 times in his gospel (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18). He uses it again in his first epistle (1 John 4:9). In other words, it isn't a fluke phrase; it is an established description. Jesus is God's only begotten Son.
Then we read that Adam was "the son of God". Now, hold on! If Jesus was God's only begotten and God also begat Adam, then where are we? We're standing on the cusp of a contradiction.
One might be tempted to dance on by. Unfortunately, it's not a small issue. You see, it is this "only begotten Son" phrase that is used by the Arians -- those who argue that Jesus was not God incarnate. Clearly He was begotten. So how can you say that He was the eternal God? I mean, how clear does it have to be? And now we throw in this "son of God" who is not Jesus. Perhaps we ought to try to clear this up.
The term, "only begotten", is two words in English, but in the Greek it is only one: monogenēs. Clearly two parts to that word. Monos means "sole, only" (you know, like we use the prefix "mono" in English). We can go into the second word, ginomai, but perhaps you can see what we use it for. It means "to cause to be" or "to bring into existence", but don't you recognize the genēs in that word? Yes, "genus". So while the term can be used to refer to "the only born" (see, for instance, Luke 7:12 referring to the widow's "only son"), this would cause a contradiction if we concluded that this use -- "God's only begotten Son" -- was such a translation. We know that Adam is "the son of God" as well. Thus, it may mean the only born son or it may be in the sense of "the only one of its genus". As God's "only begotten Son" in this sense it would mean "God's one-of-a-kind Son" rather than "God's only offspring".
Of course, you're free to conclude what you wish. We know that we are given "the power to become sons of God" (John 1:12) and that "all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God" (Rom 8:14). We know that Adam was "the son of God". We know that God's purpose is to make us into His image so that "He might be the first-born among many brethren" (Rom 8:29). Must we conclude, then, that the Bible is contradicting itself when it lists all these "sons of God" and then describes Jesus as the only begotten Son? Or is it possible that this phrase used in reference to Jesus is designed to describe Him as a totally unique entity, the one of a kind Son who is the image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15), the One who "existed in the form of God" (Phil 2:6)?
You see, if you see the contradiction and allow the language in reference to Christ to define itself naturally as God's "one of a kind" Son, it has several effects. It removes the contradiction. It points to Christ as unique. It retains His deity in conformity with so many other Scriptures. And that's all good.
So, for those of you convinced that the Bible is true and Christ was God Incarnate, perhaps it would be helpful for you to stop thinking of Jesus as "the only born Son of God" and start thinking of Him as "the one-of-a-kind Son of God". And for those of you not convinced that Christ was God Incarnate, you have two choices. You can either change that position or you can throw it all out because if Jesus was simply a begotten being from God, you've just managed to produce an unanswerable contradiction in Scripture, and now you have nothing on which to stand. Your call.