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Bible Q

What is the difference between “begotten” and “created”?

In Greek, the words “begotten” (or “born”) and “created” are expressed with two different but related words. The word translated “created” is γίνομαι or its cognates; it generally refers to things being made by a particular person. The word translated “born” is γεννάω or its cognates; it generally refers to the natural process of giving birth.

In the Bible these concepts are closely related. For instance, Psalm 139:13-14 describes the formation of a baby in the womb as an act of creation.

Often a distinction is made between “born” and “created” in an attempt to argue that Jesus could be born and yet still be uncreate (i.e. eternal). It is significant that in Galatians 4:4 the word often translated “born” is actually a cognate of γίνομαι — it would literally be translated “made of a woman”.

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