Theological accounts of Jesus tend to portray him as a divine figure who descended to earth at a certain moment in human history, died on the cross for the sins of humanity, and then returned to heaven. Historical accounts place him firmly within a story about Israel under Roman occupation in the first century.
In the theological paradigm Jesus is the eternal Son of God—or God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. In the historical narrative “Son of God” has quite different connotations, but since Caesar was also acclaimed as “son of a god” or “god”, perhaps it can be argued that history arrives at the theological conclusion by another route.
From Augustus onwards the emperor took the Latin title divi filius, “son of the divinised”, which in Greek inscriptions was translated theou huios. In the Latin West the basic procedure was to divinise an emperor after his death; therefore, his son was the son of a divine person. In the Greek-speaking eastern part of the empire, which is the setting for the writing of most of the New Testament, the tendency was to regard the emperor as theos while he was alive.