As followers of Jesus, when we hear the phrase “the son of God” Jesus will likely be the first name that pops into our heads. After all, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son…” as John 3:16 goes (ESV). Yet when we read the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3, we come across this phrase: “…the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:38).
What we find in the Bible is that Jesus is God’s unique son, just as Isaac was called Abraham’s only son (Genesis 22:2) though Ishmael had been born prior. Isaac was the son of promise, the son through whom God would fulfill his word to Abraham. Ishmael would become a mighty nation as well, just not in the same way. So it is in Jesus that God fulfills his promise to mankind for hope of life, salvation, redemption, and belonging. This, plus Jesus being God himself, a person of the Trinity. No other Son would be a son like Jesus.
Yet, Luke called Adam “the son of God.” So he was. The first man created, shaped by God from the dust of the ground and brought to life by God breathing air into his nostrils. Adam was the first of a vast race of creatures known as humans who were unique from all other creatures, earthly or heavenly. He was the first to bear the image of God.
In this way, every person who has lived bears the same image and can be properly spoken of as a son or daughter of God. But since Genesis 3, we have decided to run from that image. Instead of embracing the fullness of sonship, we have decided to live like the prodigal in Luke 15. We demand our rights, we demand what we think is due, and we wish to leave the Father behind and go live as we please. We are children who rebel and who walk away, following also in the footsteps of Adam.
So, God sent the unique Son to undo the curse brought about by Adam, the son of God. Whereas Adam and the rest of us rebelled, Jesus obeyed. Yet in his obedience he did not begrudge us but freely gave himself for us. Through Jesus we bear the title once more… son, daughter, child… but in a new way.
Though we squandered everything, we are freely given more than we could imagine. We become an heir, a fellow heir with Christ (Romans 8:14-17), beneficiaries of everything that properly belong to him. And again, he freely gives and freely shares so that like him we may be known as the son or daughter of God.
This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.