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ETpro's avatar

If Jesus was the son of God, why did he call himself the "Son of Man"?

Asked by ETpro (34216 points ) October 16th, 2011

I mean no disrespect to anyone’s cherished religious beliefs by asking this. I am just wondering how Christians reconcile it in their own minds.

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36 Answers

mazingerz88's avatar

Because He is suppose to be both?

Hibernate's avatar

Because it’s the way it can be tied to humanity. If he weren’t to be born as a man He’d just be God and we would look to Him as a divinity.
He talked about Himself as being the Son of man.
And it is used to distinguish between the the human author and the divine being.

mazingerz88's avatar

@ETpro Seriously, if Jesus really is the son of God then I think he could pretty much call himself whatever he wants. If I were him, I would call myself Star Destroyer. : )

TexasDude's avatar

I’m guessing he wanted to play up his human-ness or something.

The idiom itself is a lot older than Jesus, and has its roots in Jewish history from long ago, which would explain the connection, since Jesus was a Jew. Relevant.

phaedryx's avatar

does some research

As an aside, according to the LDS (mormon) religion it is a reference to Man of Holiness, another name for God, so the two would be synonymous.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Isn’t most of the story of Jesus based on pagan beliefs? Christmas, easter, constellations, etc…
Maybe they meant to call him “Sun of man.”

starsofeight's avatar

Actually, the thinking was that a son was the strength and glory of the father. Son of man (and by extension, son of mankind) was a better, more advanced model than man the animal. That, of course, is in reference to the ascension of the spiritual man.

Also, recall that God had promised to raise up another prophet like Moses—and that Ezekiel (a prophet) was called “son of man”.

zenvelo's avatar

Also, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son as a test of his faith. Jesus knew he would be a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Because to say he was born of a woman is not as valuable. Nobody cares about his mommy.

Blackberry's avatar

Maybe he was having a moment of honesty, instead of pulling David Blaines all over the place.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@phaedryx Not the way we care about her son.

filmfann's avatar

Cause no one would understand his reference to The Holy Hybrid?

Pandora's avatar

Well aren’t you a product of both parents. If one is russian and the other indian, than you are a hybrid of both. So why wouldn’t he be both. But he was born of man so he could take on the sins of the world.
Besides, we are all sons and daughters of mankind on earth and we are also sons and daughters of or heavenly Father.

saint's avatar

At this point, there is no way to know.

Blackberry's avatar

@Pandora Um, no, we’re not.

ETpro's avatar

@mazingerz88 I’d call myself something more like Universe Maker. Of course, I guess if I were the creator, I would be the author of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics as well, so I’d really be Universe/Galaxy/Star maker and destroyer all rolled into one.

Thanks to all for the insights. I especially want to thank @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard for the great link to the meaning the idiom, “Son of man” carried in the ancient world and particularly the Semitic tribes. And thanks to @starsofeight for reminding me that the reference shows up repeatedly in the Book of Ezekiel. I recalled it was one of the early prophets, but not which one. However, there it is a heavenly spirit or presence who cals Ezekiel “Son of man” even though that spirit is alleged to have possessed his body and spoken it through his mouth.

@Pandora I am a product of a man and a woman mating, as I am sure you and all the rest of us are. My puzzlement was with the claim that Jesus was the product of Mary, but not of Joseph or any other man. And while I tend to agree with @Blackberry regarding the veracity of that claim, I don’t want this to turn into yet another debate about whose religious beliefs are true and whose are false, particularly not if that debate is simply a series of competing assertions. Argument by assertion is a common logical fallacy. If we must debate Jesus’ divinity, let’s elevate the debate.

efritz's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – high-five

He was conceived by the holy spirit and born of a virgin woman. And the entire book of Leviticus is like, 500 pages of Jesus’ human lineage. So he’s both, that’s why he was qualified to die and save all the people in the universe, because he’s part-God (can live a perfect life and rise from the dead) and part-man (is able to die) . . . from a lapsed Protestant-Lutheran point of view.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@efritz Yes, I get why he’s part-man because of dying and all that but to say he’s ‘of man’ makes no sense unless one admits that here a woman is categorically collapsed into ‘of man’ since ‘man’ represents ‘humanity’, in general.

efritz's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – yeah, obviously that term was invented before political correctness. whoopsadaisy.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@efritz If by political correctness you mean the notion that women are people too, then sure.

Kato's avatar

@SquirrelEStuff THose holidays are pagan and are not biblical, the catholic church assimilated pagan (roman and other) holidays into “faith” to make it more appealing to other religions.

efritz's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – Christianity predates feminism, unfortunately. I’m on your side in that “man” applies to exactly 50% of the population (excluding the both of us) and does not encompass all of humanity. Guess my (genuine) high-five missed and accidentally smacked you in the face . . . no offense intended.

Pandora's avatar

@ETpro Well I was answering your question as stated. If your looking to debate whether Jesus was concieved by the Holy Spirit or not than I wouldn’t even try to touch that one. It is something you either believe in or not.
If you want to know how I reconcile that fact, I do it in two ways.
1. I believe God created us, than why wouldn’t I believe he couldn’t create an offspring in a woman without the help of man.
2. I really don’t care or put much thought into how Jesus was created. Either way he was special along with his message of peace and love. And I would still believe him the savior no matter what.
But in the end it wouldn’t matter what I believe to anyone who doesn’t believe because there is no way to prove it or disprove it, so a non believer will always need proof and a true believer will always be satisfied without the proof.

Kato's avatar

@Pandora I believe with out the need for extra proof, It’s not like God needs our help but just for a tangible example we have envitro fertilization. We can have virgin births. We haven’t figured out the whole no father thing but it’s not really a stretch of the imagination that the creator of humans (and “seed”) can pass along his own through envirto. (sp?)

Blackberry's avatar

@Kato Uhhhh…...are you suggesting that god came to earth and injected Mary with a zygote?

mazingerz88's avatar

@Blackberry Seriously, it is possible. How can it not be if we are talking about someone who is suppose to have created billions of stars? Dude, have you looked at the night sky unimpeded with man made lights? Those billions of stars look like grains of sand on the beach. Whoever’s responsible with such awesomeness could with just a flick of a finger, fertilize any female anywhere in the universe. If this mega-Dude really exists. : )

Blackberry's avatar

@mazingerz88 Oh I have. It’s beautiful. I actually saw it on a regular basis when I was deployed, out to sea with no moonlight.

Kato's avatar

@Blackberry, I was making the point that it is not as hard to believe that God is capable of the actions listed in the bible when we are beginning to achieve them as well.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Blackberry Darn it, and I only saw it once! Traveling in a California desert/plain one night. I looked up and was stunned. I think I even shed a tear. Ancient people had the most mysterious awe inspiring view thousands of years ago. All kinds of thoughts to explain what they were seeing led to all sorts of speculation which coalesced into belief over time, see?

ETpro's avatar

@Pandora I thought the question was very straightforward. I’m not asking it to challenge any belief you may hold. I’d ask that you respect my right to have my own beliefs as well. I’m willing to debate my beliefs on substance, but not as a series of assertions. Argument by assertion is not only a logical fallacy, it’s pointless.

@mazingerz88 Little did ancient people know how staggering what they saw in the night sky really was. Some realized that the faint river of light called the Milky Way was really billions upon billions of individual stars. But they had no idea that almost all the other things they saw scattered here and there were not brighter stars, but whole galaxies like the Milky Way, and some far, far larger than our own galaxy. And without telescopes, they most definitely didn’t know that those spots of light go on for 13.7 billion light years in every direction we can look.

Pandora's avatar

@ETpro So let me see if I got this right. You want a debate about something you believe not to be true and that no doubt you already know that there is no tangiable proof for.
I then don’t see what was the real point behind this question unless it was to only to point out your own disbelief.
No one in fluther was there during the conception, so eye witness proof cannot be offered. Unless of course Mary has a computer and is fluthering.

mazingerz88's avatar

@ETpro I was a Catholic. I recall reconciling Jesus as the Son of God and Jesus as the Son of Man as confusing at first but if you believed like I did before, it just does not matter. Everything is possible with God. Yes, this maybe a gotcha question about Jesus’ divine validity but anything and everything can be asserted under the sun when it comes to faith.

ETpro's avatar

@Pandora You are really overthinking this. I simply wondered why Jesus choose the epithet, Son of Man for himself if he was not actually the son of any man, but instead the Son of God. I didn’t wonder that because I felt some inner need to make everyone who disagrees with my beliefs wrong. I wondered it because I have an inquiring mind. A number of respondents have replied with deliberative answers. And that is all I was seeking.

If I’d wanted a debate on Jesus’ claim to divinity, I would have asked for that. I don’t want that, because as @mazingerz88 correctly points out, it isn’t debatable. If all things are possible to God then God can exist and simultaneously not exist. Jesus could have simultaneously been not born of man and son of man.

In a belief system where logic is useless, and logical contradictions are perfectly acceptable, debate is impossible. Any cogent thought is impossible. All that results is a battle of competing assertions. It runs like, “Is so!” “Is not!” and so on ad nauseum. That is definitely NOT what I wanted in asking this question.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ETpro I tend to stay away from questions like this however, if you are truly wondering the answer then this is the answer as I have always been told:

What does it mean that Jesus is the Son of God and Son of Man?
Jesus is called both Son of God and Son of Man in the Bible. Son of God may mean two different things. First, upon hearing the phrase “son of God,” Jews would have identified Jesus with the king of Israel, who was adopted as Son of God (see Psalm 2). Greeks would have taken the phrase to mean Jesus shared the same nature as God. Both meanings are true: Jesus is king and God. “Son of Man” has two meanings as well. Jews would have picked up a reference to the godlike “son of man” figure in the book of Daniel. Greeks may have taken the phrase to mean Jesus was simply human. Both are true.

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