Matthew 1:18 & the created god

In Doctrinal Differences in Scripture by Chris ThomasLeave a Comment

Was Christ a Created God?

It depends upon which Greek text you use.

Matthew 1:18 του δε ιησου χριστου η γεννησις ουτως ην μνηστευθεισης γαρ της μητρος αυτου μαριας τω ιωσηφ πριν η συνελθειν αυτους ευρεθη εν γαστρι εχουσα εκ πνευματος αγιου (TR)

Matthew 1:18 Τοῦ δὲ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἡ γένεσις οὕτως ἦν. μνηστευθείσης τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ Μαρίας τῷ Ἰωσήφ, πρὶν ἢ συνελθεῖν αὐτοὺς εὑρέθη ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου. (NA28)

From Metzger’s A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament

1.18 γένεσις {B} Both γένεσις and γέννησις mean “birth,” but the former also means “creation,” “generation,” and “genealogy” (compare 1.1), whereas the latter means more strictly “engendering” and therefore became the customary word used in patristic literature to refer to the Nativity. At the same time it is understandable that scribes very often confused these two words, which orthographically and phonetically are so similar. In the present passage not only do the earlier representatives of several text–types support γένεσις, but the tendency of copyists would have been to substitute a word of more specialized meaning for one that had been used in a different sense in ver. 1, particularly since γέννησις corresponds more nearly with the verb γεννᾶν used so frequently in the previous genealogy.

The difference between the TR and the critical texts, here represented by NA28, is a significant doctrinal difference.  How so? “γένεσις” containing the meaning of “creation” is the teaching of the Arians.  

Arianism is a nontrinitarian Christological doctrine which asserts the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was begotten by God the Father at a point in time, a creature distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to him, but the Son is also God (i.e. God the Son). – wikipedia

That is what is taught at this verse in the critical text.  However, in the TR because it uses the word γέννησις which as Dr. Metzger points out “means more strictly ‘engendering’ and therefore became the customary word used in patristic literature to refer to the Nativity, we do not have the heresy of Arianism being taught, but the historic doctrine found expounded throughout the patristic literature about Christ, as God eternal in the flesh.

The reason for Dr. Metzger and other heretics choosing the reading more consistent with the heresy of Arianism?  Because they believe they know the tendency of copysists.  How do they know their tendency?  Because it agrees with their biases against the deity of Christ.  This is a common theme you will have noticed in the other posts on doctrinally significant verses:  that when it comes to choice between textual variants, the textual critics like Dr. Metzger will choose the one that is contrary to orthodox theology.  This fact alone is enough to condemn the entire practice of Restorationist Textual Criticism as heresy and all its advocates as heretics.  It also shows that Scripture is not their epistemic authority for Scripture requires us to evaluate textual variants from within the framework of faith.  Which variant is most consistent with the rest of the teachings of Scripture?  That is how we know γένεσις is the wrong reading and γέννησις is the correct reading.

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