Children of God

[Reading time: 3 minutes] We sometimes read Bible verses that refer to sons of God or children of God without realizing the extent of their meaning. Let’s examine a few of these verses to gain more insight.

Luke 3:38 states that Adam was a son of God. The Greek word translated “son” primarily means an immediate male offspring, with emphasis on his character or status as a family member. By extension, the word can apply to either gender. Adam and Eve were direct creations of God, because God personally brought them into existence, though God technically used part of Adam to form Eve (Gen. 2:21-23). All other humans were born to human parents through reproduction, not individually created by God.

Elsewhere, the New Testament states, “Yet to all who did receive [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13, NIV). Though we originally were born of human parents, by receiving Jesus and believing in his name, we have the right to become children of God. The Greek word translated “children” primarily means an immediate offspring, a child of either gender. In becoming children of God, we are born as his direct, spiritual offspring; that is, we are “born again” (see John 3:3, 7; 1 Pet. 1:23). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17). By being born again, we are new creations, exclusively God’s work and different from what we were before.

It’s been said that God has no grandchildren. That’s because each of us becomes his immediate offspring, the first generation, personally created by him. Again, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith” (Gal. 3:26; see also Rom. 8:14).

We discover another application of the phrase, “sons of God,” in a puzzling passage in Genesis Chapter 6. “When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose…. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” (Gen. 6:1-2, 4).

Who were the sons of God in this passage? The Hebrew word translated “sons” is the typical word for an immediate offspring of either gender, so this describes a group of beings created personally by God. Besides Adam and Eve, God also personally created angels and other spiritual beings. So we might conclude the sons of God in this passage in Genesis were angels; ones we now identify as fallen angels (see Jude 6).

Sons or children of God are direct creations of God. Adam and Eve, the first humans, were children of God. The angels are sons of God because he created each of them. And now you and I, as believers in Christ, are new creations – sons and daughters, children of God.

Find other articles you’ll want to read