The Godhead – Jesus Christ



Jesus is the Son of God by adoption (adoptionism)




Jesus Christ, as a man, is the adopted Son of God the Father. In other words, as “the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29), Christ is adopted with the adopted sons. Only thus can we be certain of our adoption. Therefore, ‘the Man Christ’ had two births: a natural birth of the Virgin, a spiritual birth by adoption and grace, begun in baptism (the baptism was the beginning of His Divine Sonship), completed in the resurrection. This doctrine, which is called adoptionism, arose in Spain in the 8th century, and it is still held by some.




The Holy Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ, as far as His manhood is concerned, was the Son of God by nature and not by adoption. In other words, Jesus Christ was the Son of God not only before He was conceived in the womb of his mother by the Holy Spirit but also after He was conceived. There was never a time during both His prehuman state and His earthly life when He was not the Son of God.

Let me say something about the sonship of Jesus Christ in the days of His flesh. Jesus Christ was the Son of God even before His baptism (which took place when He was about thirty years old), for when He was about twelve years old He called God ‘His Father.’ That happened when His mother said to Him: “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously,” for Jesus said to Mary and Joseph: “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49 – NKJV). As you can see, the Boy Jesus knew that He was the Son of God. He did not need to be adopted as son by God the Father because He was already the Son of God.

The adoption of Jesus as Son is a concept foreign to the teaching of the Holy Scripture because He did not need any spiritual birth to become the Son of God since He was the Son of God from all eternity. On the contrary, we as human creatures needed to experience a new birth (a spiritual birth) in order to become sons of God; without the new birth we could not become sons of God. Therefore we are sons of God by adoption and not by nature, for Paul says to the Ephesians that God “predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:5 – NIV), but Jesus, as far as His manhood is concerned, was never predestined to be adopted as the Son of God because He was the Son of God since His conception. Therefore when Paul says to the Romans that Jesus is the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29), he does not mean that Jesus also was adopted as son of God, but he means a different thing, that is, Jesus has supremacy over all the sons of God.