“The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten” (The Athanasian Creed, verse 22). According to the Bible, and to the ancient creeds of Christianity, the Son of God is eternal. There was never a time when He did not exist. God did not create Jesus.
John 1:1–3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” This passage echoes the phrasing of Genesis 1:1, but it reveals more about the God who created everything. The Word in this verse refers to the Son of God before He took on human flesh and came to earth. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” So the Son, later to be called Jesus, already existed in the form of God, a member of the triune Godhead. He was not created because God was not created.
Philippians 2:6–8 describes what took place when Jesus came to earth:
“Being in very nature God,
[he] did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!”
When the Son came to earth, He took on human nature and a human body. His body was “prepared” for Him, in order for the perfect sacrifice to be offered for sin (Hebrews 10:5). The Holy Spirit overshadowed a virgin, and she conceived (Luke 1:26–38). Jesus was then born into the world. As a part of humbling Himself, Jesus set aside His rights and privileges as God and took on the limitations and weaknesses of a baby. The pre-existent Christ was not created at the Incarnation, and His divine nature remained intact; the change, at that particular point in human history, was that the eternal Son of God took on human flesh. He had already existed as God, but He humbled Himself in order to become a man. From that point on, the uncreated Son is both truly God and truly man.
Jesus had to be fully human in order to bear the penalty for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). He lived the life we live, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He lived in complete harmony with His heavenly Father (John 8:29) and in complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14; John 14:10). No created being could have borne the weight of the world’s sins. All sacrificial animals used before Christ were merely symbols of the coming Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Only God Himself could meet the requirements for an acceptable substitute, and Jesus is God. Those who have faith in Him are guaranteed eternal life (John 3:16–18; 6:37; 10:28).