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Featured Eternal Subordination of the Son. Biblical?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Mikey, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. Mikey

    Mikey Member

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    This truth about the Trinity has sometimes been summarized in the phrase “ontological equality but economic subordination,” where the word ontological means “being.”See section D.1, above, where economy was explained to refer to different activities or roles. Another way of expressing this more simply would be to say “equal in being but subordinate in role.” Both parts of this phrase are necessary to a true doctrine of the Trinity: If we do not have ontological equality, not all the persons are fully God. But if we do not have economic subordination,Economic subordination should be carefully distinguished from the error of "subordinationism," which holds that the Son or Holy Spirit are inferior in being to the Father (see section C.2, above, p. 245.) then there is no inherent difference in the way the three persons relate to one another, and consequently we do not have the three distinct persons existing as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for all eternity. For example, if the Son is not eternally subordinate to the Father in role, then the Father is not eternally “Father” and the Son is not eternally “Son.” This would mean that the Trinity has not eternally existed.

    This is why the idea of eternal equality in being but subordination in role has been essential to the church’s doctrine of the Trinity since it was first affirmed in the Nicene Creed, which said that the Son was “begotten of the Father before all ages” and that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” Surprisingly, some recent evangelical writings have denied an eternal subordination in role among the members of the Trinity,See, for example, Richard and Catherine Kroeger, in the article "Subordinationism" in EDT: They define subordinationism as "a doctrine which assigns an inferiority of being, status, or role to the Son or the Holy Spirit within the Trinity. Condemned by numerous church councils, this doctrine has continued in one form or another throughout the history of the church" (p. 1058, emphasis mine). When the Kroegers speak of "inferiority of...role" they apparently mean to say that any affirmation of eternal subordination in role belongs to the heresy of subordinationism. But if this is what they are saying, then they are condemning all orthodox Christology from the Nicene Creed onward and thereby condemning a teaching that Charles Hodge says has been a teaching of "the Church universal." Similarly, Millard Erickson, in his Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983-85), pp. 338 and 698, is willing only to affirm that Christ had a temporary subordination in function for the period of ministry on earth, but nowhere affirms an eternal subordination in role of the Son to the Father or the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son. (Similarly, his Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology p. 161.) Robert Letham, in "The Man-Woman Debate: Theological Comment," WTJ 52:1 (Spring 1990), pp. 65-78, sees this tendency in recent evangelical writings as the outworking of an evangelical feminist claim that a subordinate role necessarily implies lesser importance or lesser personhood. Of course, if this is not true among members of the Trinity, then it is not necessarily true between husband and wife either. but it has clearly been part of the church’s doctrine of the Trinity (in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox expressions), at least since Nicea (a.d. 325).

    What then are the differences between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? There is no difference in attributes at all. The only difference between them is the way they relate to each other and to the creation. The unique quality of the Father is the way he relates as Father to the Son and Holy Spirit. The unique quality of the Son is the way he relates as Son. And the unique quality of the Holy Spirit is the way he relates as Spirit. - Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology Full Chapter: Trinity (by Wayne Grudem) | Free Online Biblical Library
     
  2. Mikey

    Mikey Member

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    Do you agree or disagree with Grudem here?
     
  3. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    I am in agreement with Grudem, as he is in agreement with Nicea, as well as with the Reformers and Puritans. The Son always is the Son. You termed it the eternal subordination of the Son. Another form of that statement is the eternal generation of the Son.
     
  4. 37818

    37818 Member

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    The Son, whom being the Word, that is, the Logos, always was, and has no cause, being He is the same uncaused Existent One with His Father. [YHWH] And they are One Holy essence, the [third] Person of the Holy Spirit is how they are One.
     
  5. Mikey

    Mikey Member

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    Which are you arguing for?
     
  6. 37818

    37818 Member

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  7. Mikey

    Mikey Member

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    I'm confused. Either the Son is eternally subordinate or He isn't. Neither side is arguing that the Son was/is not fully God but the inter relationship.
     
  8. 37818

    37818 Member

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    Read the scriptures references I gave.
    God is the uncaused Existence.
    The Word, Logos, the Son is the uncased Cause.
    The Holy Spirit is the uncaused Essence.
     
  9. Mikey

    Mikey Member

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    I have read the passages. You need to explain your position clearly.
     
  10. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Eternally coequal in every way apart from the interlude of the incarnation.

    τὸν δὲ βραχύ τι παρ᾽ ἀγγέλους ἠλαττωμένον βλέπομεν Ἰησοῦν διὰ τὸ πάθημα τοῦ θανάτου δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφανωμένον ὅπως χάριτι θεοῦ ὑπὲρ παντὸς γεύσηται θανάτου

    RSV Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one.

    NAS Hebrews 2:9 But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
     
  11. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    1 Corinthians 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

    15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

    15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

    15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

    15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

    Sounds like eternal subordination to me... Brother Glen:)
     
  12. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Can you show me the word "eternal" in this passage?
     
  13. 37818

    37818 Member

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    God's identity is in His Hebrew name which I understand to mean the self Existent one. He being the uncaused Existence, and there is no other. Now in John 1:1-2, the Word is twice identified as being with God. Identifying the Word to be someone else with God. But we are also told that the Word was God too.
     
  14. 37818

    37818 Member

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    Hebrews 13:8 refers to the Man Jesus being eternally now and forever being that immortal Man.
     
  15. Mikey

    Mikey Member

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    what I understand is, he wasn't subordinate, then came down to Earth and became subordinate and will be subordinate forevermore? am I right to say this is your position?
     
  16. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    My position is that He WILLINGLY became subordinate to the Father at the incarnation.

    Philippians 2
    6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
    7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
    8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

    Notice it does not say that the Father made Him of no reputation but that He made HIMSELF of no reputation.
    Likewise it does not say that the Father humbled Him but that He humbled HIMSELF.

    He did it WILLINGLY.

    Also in the 1 Corinthians 15 passage "the end" IMO means the end of the rule of man at which time Christ will come again and ONCE MORE become subordinate to the father "for a little while" (1000 years) and then be restored to His eternal glory as coequal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

    Christ as eternally begotten of the Father and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeding from the Father (and the Son) Three distinct persons in one Godhead coequal in power and glory.
     
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  17. Mikey

    Mikey Member

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    Thank you, that was very clear.
     
  18. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I'm with @HankD . We always agree on this theology stuff.
     
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  19. 37818

    37818 Member

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    No. I hold that He was always the Son. He was not in any way in eternity caused to be the Son. A son is subordinate to a father. So He was always subordinate being the Son with God. Being the Son of God, not God.

    He was also equal with His Father as God and that is immutable.

    How He was with God was changed. John 1:14, "made flesh." But as God did not change. As how He was not God did in fact change.

    I hold that the Son was always both the immutable God, being equal and subordinate Son.
     
  20. RighteousnessTemperance&

    RighteousnessTemperance& Active Member

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    Sounds like words fail here. Subordination in the Incarnation is not the same as the eternal “subordination” described. Are we sufficiently versed in the Godhead to speak of eternity?
     
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