The Eternal Son.

"When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman." Gal. 4:4.

H.P.L.

"Is it not strange," a child once asked his father, "that St. Paul should tell us that our Saviour was born of a woman? Everybody that I know is born of a woman, and it is hard to see why such a thing should be mentioned as if it were remarkable." "Born of a woman!" Surely there is nothing remarkable in this circumstance, if we take human life as we find it. For us men to be "born of a woman" is not merely the rule, it is a rule to which there is no known exception. So that we are constrained to ask why a circumstance which might have been taken for granted should be invested by the Apostle with such prominence in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ. Surely, the real question is whether, in His case, such a circumstance could have been taken for granted. If Paul mentions it thus emphatically, it is because he, at least, does not make such an assumption. If, indeed, the Christ Whom Paul loved and served was only a son of God by grace while by nature He was only and purely a man, then to have said that He was "born of a woman" would have been an unmeaning truism. But if in naming Him, Paul is thinking of a Being whose nature is such as to make any appearance of His in this earthly sphere in a high degree extraordinary, then to say that He was "born of a woman" is to advance an assertion of startling significance. When Paul says, "God sent forth His Son," he uses the same word as when he says, "God sent forth the Spirit of His Son" (Gal. 4:6). It is a word which does not simply describe the action of God's providence, whereby He places a being on the scene of created life; it implies a sending forth .... of One Who shared the very nature of the Sender. The Son of God, Whom God sent forth, and Who was born of a woman, was God's Son, not by grace but by nature; not as being begotten after a lapse of ages, but as, before all worlds. God of God; the Son of God, in a sense unshared by any other, because not other or less than God the Son. At His birth, as Paul says, He was "manifested in the flesh"; but whether in this passage He is called God or not, the Apostle's words at the least imply that our Lord existed before His manifestation in time. The Father "sent forth His Son, made of a woman." But the Son existed before He was sent forth: the expression is evidently chosen to imply this.