:''For the 2014 film, see ''Son of God'' (film).''
Historically, many rulers have assumed titles such as son of god, son of a god or son of Heaven.〔 The Roman Emperor Augustus referred to his relation to his deified adoptive father, Julius Caesar, as "son of a god" via the term ''divi filius'' which was later also used by Domitian. The motif of a person being a "son of God" is widespread in mythology as well.
The term "son of God" is sometimes used in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible to refer to those with special relationships with God. In the Old Testament, angels, just and pious men, the descendants of Seth, and the kings of Israel are all called "sons of God."〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Catholic Encyclopedia: Son of God )〕 In the New Testament, Adam, and, most notably, Jesus Christ〔 are called "son of God," while followers of Jesus are called, "sons of God."〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Sons of God (New Testament) )〕 It often was used for Biblical figures who had mysterious or difficult pregnancies, for example Samson, and Samuel were called a "Son of God".
In the New Testament, "Son of God" is applied to Jesus on many occasions.〔 Jesus is declared to be the Son of God on two separate occasions by a voice speaking from Heaven. Jesus is also explicitly and implicitly described as the Son of God by himself and by various individuals who appear in the New Testament.〔〔〔〔 As applied to Jesus, the term is a reference to his role as the Messiah, the King chosen by God.〔''Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary'' (10th ed.). (2001). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.〕 The contexts and ways in which Jesus' title, Son of God, means something more than or other than Messiah remain the subject of ongoing scholarly study and discussion.
The term "Son of God" should not be confused with the term "God the Son" ((ギリシア語:Θεός ὁ υἱός)), the second Person of the Trinity in Christian theology. The doctrine of the Trinity identifies Jesus as God the Son, ''identical 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). Nontrinitarian Christians accept the application to Jesus of the term "Son of God", which is found in the New Testament, but not the term "God the Son", which is not found there.
==Rulers and Imperial titles==
Throughout history, emperors and rulers ranging from the Western Zhou dynasty (c. 1000 BC) in China to Alexander the Great (c. 360 BC) to the Emperor of Japan (c. 600 AD) have assumed titles that reflect a filial relationship with deities.〔''Introduction to the Science of Religion'' by Friedrich Muller 2004 ISBN 1-4179-7401-X page 136〕〔〔〔''A History of Japan'' by Hisho Saito 2010 ISBN 0-415-58538-4 page〕
The title "Son of Heaven" i.e. 天子 (from 天 meaning sky/heaven/god and 子 meaning child) was first used in the Western Zhou dynasty (c. 1000 BC). It is mentioned in the Shijing book of songs, and reflected the Zhou belief that as Son of Heaven (and as its delegate) the Emperor of China was responsible for the well being of the whole world by the Mandate of Heaven.〔''China : a cultural and historical dictionary'' by Michael Dillon 1998 ISBN 0-7007-0439-6 page 293〕〔''East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History'' by Patricia Ebrey, Anne Walthall, James Palais 2008 ISBN 0-547-00534-2 page 16〕 This title may also be translated as "son of God" given that the word ''Ten'' or ''Tien'' in Chinese may either mean sky or god.〔''The Problem of China'' by Bertrand Russell 2007 ISBN 1-60520-020-4 page 23〕 The Emperor of Japan was also called the Son of Heaven (天子 ''tenshi'') starting in the early 7th century.
Among the Steppe Peoples, there was also a widespread use of "Son of God/Son of Heaven" for instance, in the Third Century B.C., the ruler was called Chanyü and similar titles were used as late as the 13th Century by Genghis Khan.
Examples of kings being considered the son of god are found throughout the Ancient Near East. Egypt in particular developed a long lasting tradition. Egyptian pharaohs are known to have been referred to as the son of a particular god and their begetting in some cases is even given in sexually explicit detail. Egyptian pharaohs did not have full parity with their divine fathers but rather were subordinate. Nevertheless, in the first four dynasties, the pharaoh was considered to be the embodiment of a god. Thus, Egypt was ruled by direct theocracy, wherein "God himself is recognized as the head" of the state.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Catholic Encyclopedia )〕 During the later Amarna Period, Akhenaten reduced the Pharaoh's role to one of coregent, where the Pharaoh and God ruled as father and son. Akhenaten also took on the role of the priest of god, eliminating representation on his behalf by others. Later still, the closest Egypt came to the Jewish variant of theocracy was during the reign of Herihor. He took on the role of ruler not as a god but rather as a high-priest and king.〔
Jewish kings are also known to have been referred to as "son of the ". The Jewish variant of theocracy can be thought of as a representative theocracy where the king is viewed as God’s surrogate on earth.〔 Jewish kings thus, had less of a direct connection to god than pharaohs. Unlike pharaohs, Jewish kings rarely acted as priests, nor were prayers addressed directly to them. Rather, prayers concerning the king are addressed directly to god.〔 The Jewish philosopher Philo is known to have likened God to a supreme king, rather than likening Jewish kings to gods.
Based on the Bible, several kings of Damascus took the title son of Hadad. From the archaeological record a stela erected by Bar-Rakib for his father Panammuwa II contains similar language. The son of Panammuwa II a king of Sam'al referred to himself as a son of Rakib.〔 Rakib-El is a god who appears in Phoenician and Aramaic inscriptions. Panammuwa II died unexpectedly while in Damascus. However, his son the king Bar-Rakib was not a native of Damascus but rather the ruler of Sam'al it is unknown if other rules of Sam'al used similar language.
In Greek mythology, Heracles (son of Zeus) and many other figures were considered to be sons of gods through union with mortal women. From around 360 BC onwards Alexander the Great may have implied he was a demigod by using the title "Son of Ammon–Zeus".
In 42 BC, Julius Caesar was formally deified as "the divine Julius" (''divus Iulius'') after his assassination. His adopted son, Octavian (better known as Augustus, a title given to him 15 years later, in 27 BC) thus became known as ''divi Iuli filius'' (son of the divine Julius) or simply ''divi filius'' (son of the god).〔''Early Christian literature'' by Helen Rhee 2005 ISBN 0-415-35488-9 pages 159–161〕 As a daring and unprecedented move, Augustus used this title to advance his political position in the Second Triumvirate, finally overcoming all rivals for power within the Roman state.〔〔''Augustus'' by Pat Southern 1998 ISBN 0-415-16631-4 page 60〕
The word applied to Julius Caesar as deified was ''divus'', not the distinct word ''deus''. Thus Augustus called himself ''Divi filius'', and not ''Dei filius''.〔 The line between been god and god-like was at times less than clear to the population at large, and Augustus seems to have been aware of the necessity of keeping the ambiguity.〔''The world that shaped the New Testament'' by Calvin J. Roetzel 2002 ISBN 0-664-22415-6 page 73〕 As a purely semantic mechanism, and to maintain ambiguity, the court of Augustus sustained the concept that any worship given to an emperor was paid to the "position of emperor" rather than the person of the emperor.〔''Experiencing Rome: culture, identity and power in the Roman Empire'' by Janet Huskinson 1999 ISBN 978-0-415-21284-7 page 81〕 However, the subtle semantic distinction was lost outside Rome, where Augustus began to be worshiped as a deity.〔''A companion to Roman religion'' edited by Jörg Rüpke 2007 ISBN 1-4051-2943-3 page 80〕 The inscription DF thus came to be used for Augustus, at times unclear which meaning was intended.〔〔 The assumption of the title ''Divi filius'' by Augustus meshed with a larger campaign by him to exercise the power of his image. Official portraits of Augustus made even towards the end of his life continued to portray him as a handsome youth, implying that miraculously, he never aged. Given that few people had ever seen the emperor, these images sent a distinct message.〔''Gardner's art through the ages: the western perspective'' by Fred S. Kleiner 2008 ISBN 0-495-57355-8 page 175〕
Later, Tiberius (emperor from 14–37 AD) came to be accepted as the son of ''divus Augustus'' and Hadrian as the son of ''divus Trajan''.〔 By the end of the 1st century, the emperor Domitian was being called ''dominus et deus'' (i.e. ''master and god'').〔''The Emperor Domitian'' by Brian W. Jones 1992 ISBN 0-415-04229-1 page 108〕
Outside the Roman Empire, the 2nd century Kushan King Kanishka I used the title ''devaputra'' meaning "son of God".〔''Encyclopedia of ancient Asian civilizations'' by Charles Higham 2004 ISBN 978-0-8160-4640-9 page 352〕
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