"You are my Son; today I have begotten you"
One of the more perplexing statements in the Bible is found in Psalm 2:7 where the King of Israel says this of God’s declaration concerning him: “I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you.’” Continue reading . . .
One of the more perplexing statements in the Bible is found in Psalm 2:7 where the King of Israel says this of God’s declaration concerning him: “I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you.’”
The problem emerges when we discover this passage cited on several occasions in the NT and applied to the true and eternal King, Jesus Christ. But does this mean that the Son of God is not eternal, that he actually had a beginning? Was the fourth-century heretic Arius not a heretic after all for insisting that “there was a time when the Son was not”? Must we conclude that Jesus Christ is as much a creature who came into existence at a point in time in much the same way as everyone else? No.
First, of all, this statement is not a reference to what theologians have often referred to as “the eternal generation of the Son.” Although the second person of the Trinity has always been the Son of the Father, that truth is not in view in this passage.
The experience of being “begotten” has nothing to do with biological reproduction or physical birth. Contrary to what others have thought, this doesn’t refer to the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb. Neither does it apply to his birth in a Bethlehem stable.
This is simply a metaphorical way of describing the appointment of the king and his accession to the throne. When applied to the true Davidic king, Jesus Christ, it points to the glorious and visible vindication of Jesus as Son. Thus the “day” of this “begetting” was the day of his resurrection and exaltation. It was only then that his absolute supremacy above even the angels was for all to see and know. It was only then that he entered into the full exercise of all the authority and prerogatives that being Son entailed.
We know this to be true not only from a close examination of those texts in Hebrews where it appears (see Heb. 1:5; 5:5), but especially from Paul’s appeal to this passage and his explanation of it in Acts 13:32-33. There we read:
“And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’” (Acts 13:32-33; emphasis mine).
In sum, this OT text serves to remind us yet again of the glory and power of the Son that was most vividly manifest when the Father, through the Spirit, raised him from the dead. Indeed, as Paul himself said in Romans 1:3-4 concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God, he
“was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.”