My wifes nephew is a new believer and he is diligently diving into the word of God. He came across something in Luke 4:38 that was the end of the list of the genealogy of Jesus where it says "the son of Adam, the son of God". His question was, "I thought Jesus was the only begotten son of God, what does this mean that Adam was the son of God? So I felt like I wanted to share the answer that the Lord gave me for him with you all. I was thrilled with what the Lord put on my heart so that I was able to answer his question. It was the first time I even heard some of this. Be Blessed!
You are right in your understanding that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. The one and only Son that came forth from the loins of God Himself. John 1:1 says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Verse 2 says, He was in the beginning with God." Jesus (at the beginning) was not born or created, He always was, just Like His Father, no beginning and no end. The Son came forth from the inside of the Father when the Father spoke. Everything that the father spoke, the Son was and did. But the Son did not come forth from the Father until the Father spoke. The only begotten Son (Jesus) came from within the Father and because the Father always was, the Son always was. There is no other Son of God that came forth this way.
Now in Gen 1:26 , "Then God said, "Let Us (Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit), make man in Our image, and Our likeness.....27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them." Man was created, Jesus was not (He always was).
God created/formed Adam out of the dust of the earth. Then God breathed His life, His Spirit into Adam and Adam came alive with the Spirit of God in him. Adam was exactly like the Ones who made him. He was like Them, but he was not Them which is the only difference between them. God gave Adam dominion over everything on the earth and empowered him with God's power and authority to rule and reign the earth. Adam was God's son, just like His Son Jesus. This is the image of man that you must see so that you can understand the original plan for man. Actually, this reveals the purpose of Jesus coming to this earth as a Man. Jesus got back for man (his rightful place with God) what Adam had lost.
Adam bowed his knee to Satan and committed high treason in the Garden of Eden when he listened to satan and obeyed him, rather than obeying God. Adam sinned, and separated himself from the Father, for sin can never be in the presence of the Father for there is no union there between light and dark. Adam was no longer the son of God, but in reality Adam was now in union with his new father, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (Eph 2:1-3)
Listen to 1 Cor 15:47-49 (I'm using the New King James Version)
The first man (Adam) was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man (Jesus) is the Lord from Heaven. As was the man of dust (Adam), so also are those who are made of dust (the man who does not have the Spirit of the Living God in him); and as is the heavenly man (Jesus), so also are those who are heavenly ( the ones who asked Jesus into their hearts and now have the Spirit of the Living God abiding within them). And as we have borne the image of the man of dust (Adam), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly man (Jesus) (just as soon as His Spirit is living in you or just as soon as you invite Him into your heart).
Jesus is known as the 2nd Adam. The 1st one failed, the 2nd One didn't. The 1st one was exactly like the 2nd One before the fall. Jesus looked just like Adam did before Adam sinned. Jesus now had to do what Adam was supposed to do. The 1st son failed and lost his sonship, the 2nd One walked in victory and defeated the one (satan) who destroyed the first son. When Jesus was born into this earth through Mary, He came to us as the Son of Man, not the Son of God (even though He was; Phil 2:5-8). He had to live on this earth as a man, in complete obedience to the Father, and live by faith in God's Word, just as the 1st man was designed to live by, but he failed when he chose to obey another word from another god (the god of this world-satan).
Jesus has defeated satan and has gotten back what Adam lost. Those who accept what Jesus did on the cross and receive Him as their personal Savior receive the Spirit of God into their hearts and they are born again and now made in the exact image of Jesus. Jesus went from being the only begotten Son of God to what the New Testament declares Him to be which is "the Firstborn from the dead" (Col 1:18, Rom 8:29) and all those who receive Jesus as Savior become born of God just like Jesus and just as Jesus is the Son of God, the born again man /woman is now the child of God.
Rom 8:14 says, "for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the Sons of God....16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. 17 and if children, then heirs---heirs of God and JOINT HEIRS with Christ...........
(Read 1 John 3:1-3 to establish this thought).
God has always wanted sons and daughters to bestow His love on. That is the whole purpose for our being here. And that which God has created to love, now is filled with that love, and desires to return that love to the Father. That is the way it was always supposed to be and thank God the Father, for His Son Jesus, for because of Him, I am a son as well.
God is still increasing His family to this day, but the soon coming King (Jesus) will be returning soon to gather up His family, so now is the day of salvation. Jesus was the firstborn from the dead, what number are you?