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God the Son (Greek: Θεός ὁ υἱός) is the second person of the Trinity in Christian theology. The doctrine of the Trinity identifies Jesus as God the Son, united in essence but distinct in person with regard to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (the first and third persons of the Trinity).
In these teachings, God the Son pre-existed before incarnation, is co-eternal with God the Father (and the Holy Spirit), both before Creation and after the End (see Eschatology). Son of God for some draws attention to his humanity, whereas God the Son refers more generally to his divinity, including his pre-incarnate existence.
The term in English follows Greek and Latin usage as found in the Athanasian Creed and other texts of the early church:
The distinction holds true in other modern languages apart from English, for example:
The term is used in Athanasian Creed and formulas such as: "God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit: And not three gods, but God is one"—Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus Spiritus Sanctus: Et non tres Dii, sed unus est Deus.
Jacques Forget (1910) in the Catholic Encyclopedia article "Holy Ghost" notes that "Among the apologists, Athenagoras mentions the Holy Ghost along with, and on the same plane as, the Father and the Son. 'Who would not be astonished', says he (A Plea for the Christians 10), 'to hear us called atheists, us who confess God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Ghost, and hold them one in power and distinct in order.' " Saint Augustine in Sermon 90 on the New Testament says, "2. For hold this fast as a firm and settled truth, if you would continue Catholics, that God the Father begot God the Son without time, and made Him of a Virgin in time."
The expression "God the Son" is not used in the Bible, either Old or New Testament. Son of God occurs in the singular only in the New Testament, while the term is found in the plural in both Testaments as "sons of God." In Genesis 6:2ff the "sons of God" have children by the "daughters of men." The expression "Son of God" referred not only to filiation, but to persons having a special relationship with God. The New Testament authors, writing in a time when monotheism had become the normative Jewish belief, considered these passages to be prophetic of God the Son being further revealed as the Son of God. The New Testament books of Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Hebrews both quote Psalm 2:7, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father."
But the term "Son of God" is used to refer to Jesus in the first gospel of Mark at the beginning in verse 1:1 and at its end in chapter 15 verse 39. In the Hellenist culture of the New Testament milieu was a reference to divinity.
Later theological use of this expression (compare Latin: Deus Filius) reflects what came to be standard interpretation of New Testament references, understood to imply Jesus' Divinity, but with the distinction of his person from another Person of the Trinity called the Father. As such, the title is associated more with the development of the doctrine of the Trinity. A clear expression of this Trinitarian belief is found in Matthew 28:19, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." John the Evangelist is understood to identify Jesus with the pre-existent Logos or Word, the second person of the Trinity, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."[John 1:1]