What does the word "Begotten" mean?

The Guide to the Scriptures defines “begotten” as:

To be born. To beget is to give birth, to procreate, or to call into being. In the scriptures, these words are often used to mean being born of God. Although Jesus Christ is the only child begotten of the Father in mortality, all people may be spiritually begotten of Christ by accepting him, obeying his commandments, and becoming new persons through the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Guide to the Scriptures.)

The scriptures teach that Jesus Christ was the only begotten son of God in the flesh. This means He was the only one of God’s children to have God as His earthly Father, and not just the father of his spirit. His spirit was created first, making Jesus Christ very literally our elder brother, since his spirit was born before any others.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Each of us is a child of God because He created our spirits. Our physical bodies result from our earthly parents. Jesus, however, had only one earthly parent.

Scriptures that testify of Jesus' parentage.The Bible clearly explains the parentage of Jesus Christ. Mary, a mortal woman, is his mother, and God is His father. His Spirit, like everyone’s spirit, was created by God, but his physical, mortal body contained the DNA of both God and Mary. There is ample evidence of Jesus’ heritage as God’s own Son.

One early evidence came when Mary first learned of His impending birth. When the angel Gabriel told her she was to have a child, she said she was not yet married. The angel explained, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

This does not mean the Holy Ghost was Jesus’ Father. The Highest would be the highest of the Godhead (composed of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.) This highest being was, of course, God.

When Jesus Christ was baptized, God spoke from Heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This was God’s personal and public testimony that Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be-God’s Son. Later in history, Jesus and God appeared together to Joseph Smith, the first Mormon prophet in modern times. Again, God introduced Jesus to Joseph as His Son.

This duel heritage made possible many of the things Jesus did during his mortal ministry, most notably the atonement. He, like everyone else, inherited qualities from both His parents, and this gave Him both the ability to experience, and therefore understand, mortal challenges, as well as to be tested, but also to overcome death and live again.

Jeffrey R. Holland, a Mormon apostle, said, “This infinite Atonement of Christ was possible because (1) He was the only sinless man ever to live on this earth and therefore was not subject to the spiritual death resulting from sin, (2) He was the Only Begotten of the Father and therefore possessed the attributes of godhood that gave Him power over physical death, and (3) He was apparently the only one sufficiently humble and willing in the premortal council to be foreordained to that service.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Grandeur of God,” Liahona, Nov 2003, 70-73)

Jesus, like other people who lived on earth, had His memories of His life before His birth, taken from Him. He had to regain it. Because He then had greater knowledge and ability in the gospel, he was tested and tried at a higher level than most. He passed each test, resisted every temptation, and endured every mortal trial placed before Him, dying as perfect as He was when He was born. As a result, He was worthy to take on our sins and atone for them.

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3 Responses to “What does the word "Begotten" mean?”

  1. John Says:

    You cannot mix Christianity with Mormonism. Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and Mormon.

  2. karenrose Says:

    John, thanks for visiting our site. Your comment pre-supposes something significant, John—that you have somehow made a distinction through media, some prelim reading or something, that The Church of Jesus Christ (Christ’s teachings) and Christianity (Christ’s teachings) are two different camps. Your understanding of the pure doctrines of Jesus Christ as restored in our day and taught within His Church–called in His name as He directed–must, then, be limited. That’s understandable given what’s out there in the media and what comes from some pundits and others who don’t understand or know the theology and teachings of the Church and its members. I am a lay member of The Church of Jesus Christ (“Mormon”), and speak in those terms.

    I know that I’ve been saved by grace through the atonement of Jesus Christ–that nothing I did merited His sacrifice. I also know that as the result of that amazing gift and my desire to follow Him, I will do as He directs and stay on the prescribed path to an exalted life. Such a life with Christ and Heavenly Father, and with our redeemed loved ones, is promised as we comply, ever-assisted by the Savior, with His directives and will. Out of my love for him comes my desire and responsibility to serve Him, to serve others, to enter the temple and make covenants and receive increased blessings in exchange. Every page of The Book of Mormon and the Old and New Testaments of The Holy Bible, point to the same Christ. Since some portions of The Bible are missing, some essential truths about Jesus Christ and His gospel have also been missing and partially reconstructed by well-intended Reformers. But, in spite of their best and noble efforts, the Reformation was not a full recovery of truth. That required more– and, once again, the Savior provided the way: Rather than having man continue to try to piece together the lost truths, reconstruct the gospel teachings lost through apostasy after His and the apostles’ deaths, He prophesied of and enacted a “Restoration” of those same gospel truths and organization that He authored during His mortal ministry. He did so by ushering in the last dispensation–of the fullness of times–with a restitution of all things. He appeared in our day. He revealed anew His same love and gospel. He called a prophet to lead the way, and Twelve Apostles. He gave us a second scriptural witness of His love for all of His children–the Book of Mormon. That is the Savior we know and worship. He is a separate Being from the Father, part of the Godhead, along with the Holy Ghost, a personage of Spirit. He is real. He lives. He is resurrected. Is this not Christian?

    Sometimes others import into our set of beliefs what they have learned, heard, or assumed we believe. Or they may wish to believe that the teachings of their own local congregation constitute Christianity while someone else’s teaching professing Christ do not. This isn’t where the discussion ought to go. We respect you and those of all faiths and hope we can build on the light and knowledge that the world has and the truths contained in each denomination, in a positive way, until each receives the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We don’t coerce that belief. We simply share it, as the Savior has called us to do. His Church is on the earth today. His authority to act in His name, is once again here. I love Jesus Christ and ask that you may consider re-thinking your question and your frame. In humility, may I suggest that It is not the right question. The Church of Jesus Christ is the only one not founded by man–its head is Jesus Christ. So the question really is–where did all of the other churches emerge from in the Reformation and in church history; why and how did they come to be? ….. Could it be that while each respectfully has a portion of truth, the dispensation of the fulness of times is really here and the full truth has been ushered in and restored? I testify, in the name of the Savior, that the latter is so.

    If you’ve not read the Book of Mormon, but have this question about “Mormonism”–teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ, we’d love to send you a free copy. You can only investigate and research the truth by reading the sources of truth and asking God if they are not true. Anything else is second hand and will be inducing you to a process of ‘ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth.’

    Our sincere thanks for visiting and we wish you the best in your spiritual journey. I am not sure if you are the same person who has written to us before on many sites. If so, please so indicate. God bless you.

  3. dich vu seo Says:

    This site definitely has all of the information I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

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