Response to James Ayars Regarding Monogenes

Following post and the attached PDF article provided by Terry Hill, as a response to an Adventist pastor, was previously published on March 6, 2021 on a Facebook Group, Heavenly Trio Revealed. Click HERE for the original post on Facebook.

Earlier this year, I shared with this group a letter that I had written to the elders of my local church. It was regarding the SS lesson study of 13th January 2022. In response to my post, James Ayars, a minister of the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, responded with a PDF document in which he criticised what I had written.

In his response, James Ayars – rather strangely I thought – did not mention the lesson study itself, which was the thrust of my letter to the elders, but instead made a protest of my understanding of the Greek word ‘monogenes’ which, very often, when applied to people, I understand to mean ‘only begotten’. Ayars claimed that I had not done my homework regarding this word but he was wrong – as the article “Is Christ God?”, found on my website, will confirm. This article was written four years ago – and deals extensively with ‘monogenes’.

James Ayars, in contrast to my understanding of ‘monogenes’, claims that this word is devoid of the meaning of ‘only begotten’. He says it only means ‘unique’ or ‘one of a kind’. In his response, he asserted:

“MONOGENES [μονογενής] was an ancient Greek word the use of which may be traced from the 6th century B.C. to modern times. We also have clear, unequivocal evidence that its original meaning truly was “unique” or “only one of a kind.”

Notice Ayars says “unequivocal evidence”.

He continued

“The first time the meaning of the word changed to “only-begotten” was in the 4th century during the trinitarian controversies”

As proof of his assertions, James Ayars appealed to the Greek and Latin languages, both of which, I freely admit, I have no understanding. So in turn, I sent what Ayars had written to someone who, for about 5 years, has helped me to understand Greek (including the word ‘monogenes’). His immediate response was that what James Ayars had written was incorrect, and offered, without me even asking him, to reply to what James Ayars had written.

I have attached the PDF containing his reply to James Ayars.

If you wish to comment on what is written in this PDF, can you please bear in mind that this document is dealing SOLELY WITH LINGUISTICS, so can I ask you please to refrain, just in this post only, from commenting by using theology or the writings of any of our pioneers. As I am sure you will agree, we do not understand linguistics through theology. It is the other way around. Let us therefore seek to get the linguistics correct first.

As you will see, the author of this PDF is not of our faith. This is why he can take an objective look at ‘monogenes’ – meaning without having any theological baggage to make him biased one way or another. He is dealing purely WITH LINGUISTCS. Let us therefore keep our comments restricted TO LINGUISTICS – i. e. to the development and historical usages of ‘monogenes’. In that way we will not be distracted from understanding the true meaning of this word.

In recent years within Seventh-day Adventism, also within other denominations, the meaning of ‘monogenes’, as used in John’s writings with respect to Christ (John 1:14, 1:18, 3:16, 3:18, 1 John 4:9), has been hotly disputed. What better way to understand it though than to see how Greeks themselves used it? This is during both the time before the New Testament was written and afterwards. This is the thrust of the reasoning in the attached PDF.

Please read it carefully. A lot of work has gone into compiling it, and it does contain valuable information. This is whether we agree with everything it says or not. Let us read it with an open mind.

In a few days, I will also be posting an article that will be dealing with the theology concerning Christ as the Son of God. I hope too that this will be of benefit to those who read it. May God bless us as we seek for the truth. It is truth that sets us free from the lies and the deceptions that Satan has sought to destroy the gospel and confuse us. Never should we be afraid of seeking and discovering truth.


  • Terry Hill

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