Seventy. And so, when John 1:18 declares that `no man hath seen God
at any time', and the Old Testament declares that certain men did see
God, there is no contradiction. John refers to God Who is Spirit,
whereas the Old Testament speaks of the One Who, for the purposes of
creation and mediation, became the Image of the invisible God, and in
the fulness of time, for the putting away of sin, became flesh, and the
Only Begotten of the Father.
The second clause of John 1:18 reads in the Authorized Version as
follows: `The only begotten Son, Which is in the bosom of the Father'.
The Revised Version margin reads: `Many very ancient authorities
read God only begotten'. This reading is found in the Codex
Sinaiticus, the Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Ephraemi, and the Codex
Regius. It is also found in 33 of the cursive manuscripts, the Peshito
versions, the Memphitic and Ethiopian, and a host of the Fathers.
Arius, though opposed to the doctrine of the deity of Christ, upheld
this reading, and it was incorporated in the creed of Antioch.
Lachmann, Tregelles, and Westcott and Hort also accept it as the true
version. The words `only begotten Son' are the words we should
expect, and it hardly seems possible that so strange a reading as `God
only begotten' should have been inserted in place of the more usual
`the only begotten Son'.
In this marvellous prologue we have some wonderful revelations of
movements in the Godhead, all directed towards manifestation and
realization - `the Word', `the Light', `the Glory', `the Fulness', `the
Word was God', `the Word was made flesh', and now `God only
begotten'. He `was' in the beginning; He `tabernacled' among us; He
`is' in the bosom of the Father. This last statement uses the words ho
on: `the One Who is'. These words speak of the Lord's ascension, as
in John 3:13 :
`... no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down
from heaven, even the Son of man Which is (ho on) in heaven'.
The Saviour, as the Son of man, has gone back `where He was
before' (6:62), and it is as the `Only Begotten' Who is in the bosom of
`the Father' that John 1:18 now speaks of Him. Before the incarnation,
before the Word was made flesh, the Lord is not spoken of as `the
Only Begotten', neither is He called `the Son of man'. He has gone
back now to the glory, but He has gone back with the evidences of