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1 Jhn. 5:18 and eternal generation

Does 1 Jhn. 5:18 teach the eternal generation of the Son? Some have argued that the clause "We know that the one born of God does not sin, but the one born of God keeps him" implies that Christ was generated eternally from the Father. The reason for this is that Christ, spoken of apparently as "the one born of God", is spoken of as "keeping" His saints from apostasy. There are two problems with this reading. First, it involves a great deal of reading into the text. Assuming this is indeed the correct reading of the text, Christ is indeed the one spoken of as being "born of God", but there are other senses in Scripture in which He is spoken of as such. Lk. 1:35 explicitly says that the impregnation of Mary by the Holy Spirit is the ground for Him being referred to as the "Son of God." Indeed, Jhn. 8:41 has the Jews accusing Christ of having been born [ἐγεννήθημεν] of sexual immorality. This usage is of a different conjugation of the exact same verb used in our present text, γεννάω. It may be precisely with this accusation that John intends to contrast Christ's birth, and as children of God, there is an implicit encouragement to imitate God, and to persevere in our walk as Christ Himself did. The ground of our knowledge of our eschatological identity as children of God is given to us by means of our behavior, in contrast to being of the devil (cf. Jhn. 8:44).

"the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil"(1 Jhn. 3:8).

"Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is"(1 Jhn. 3:2).

1 John 2:29
If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

1 John 3:9
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him"(1 Jhn. 5:1).

Indeed, in the context of John 8, the question of true paternity is precisely what is at stake. Christ is accused of having as his biological paternity a human other than Mary's husband (Jhn. 8:41). Christ counters throughout the Gospel of John that He is sinless, that none can convict Him of sin, and that His perfect life is evidence of His divine paternity, in contrast to those who claim to have Abraham as their biological paternity, but are contradicted by Christ, who argues that it is spiritual paternity and resemblance which is what counts, which the Jews lack relative to Abraham, and therefore have as their spiritual father, the devil. Jesus, on the other hand, has the Father as His spiritual and biological paternity.

The Greek text of the relevant clause reads: "Οἴδαμεν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει, ἀλλ᾽ ὁ γεννηθεὶς ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ τηρεῖ αὐτόν." The difference this one letter makes is the difference between a reflexive pronoun (himself) and a personal pronoun (him). The TR reads αὐτόν[him], and other manuscripts read εαὐτόν[himself]. Those who accept the Textus Receptus are unable to make this argument. Suffice it to say that we would do well not to use highly disputed texts in order to support a major doctrine, especially where that particular sense of the text on which the doctrine depends is precisely that part of the text in dispute.

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