Revisiting Jesus’ Subordination to the Father Pt. 4

We come to the final part of my series (

Christ – The eternal King!

Anti-Trinitarians will also quote 1 Corinthians 15:28 to prove that Jesus is not God. Here is the passage, this time adding verses 24-27 for context:

“After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. For the Scriptures say, ‘God has put all things under his authority.’ (Of course, when it says ‘all things are under his authority,’ that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.”

it is argued the Son cannot be coequal to God when he will be eternally subject to him.

The problem with this argument is that Christ subjecting himself to God no more proves that he isn’t God than Jesus’ willful subjection to his mother and adoptive father proves that he isn’t a man either:

“Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:51 NKJV

As we saw earlier, Paul affirms both of these truths, e.g. Jesus is fully God in essence and subordinate to the Father. Paul expressly taught that Jesus is subject to God in terms of authority while being equal with him in essence since he is the Divine Son of God. The following writer states it best:

“At times Paul writes as if Christ is ‘subordinate’ to the Father. For he tells us that ‘God sent forth his Son to redeem’ (Gal 4.4) and ‘did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all’ (Rom 8:32). And in a notable passage he declares that ‘when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one’ (1 Cor 15.28). Taken by themselves these passages might warrant the conclusion that Paul held a merely subordinationist view of Christ and did not place Him on the same divine level with the Father. But if they are taken together with the passages cited above in which Paul does put Christ on the same divine level as the Father by presenting Him as the creator of all things and the ‘image of the invisible God’ who was ‘in the form of God’ and equal to God, it becomes clear that Paul views Christ both as subordinate and equal to God the Father. Possibly he thus means merely to subordinate Christ in His humanity to the Father. But more probably he wishes to indicate that while Christ is truly divine and on the same divine level with the Father, yet there must be assigned to the Father a certain priority and superiority over the Son because He is the Father of the Son and sends the Son to redeem men, and there must be ascribed to the Son a certain subordination because He is the Son of the Father and is sent by the Father. Nowhere, however, does Paul say or imply that the Son is a creature, as the Arians subordinationists will say later on. On the contrary, he makes it clear that the Son is not on the side of the creature but of the Creator and that through the Son all things are created… (Edmund J. Fortman, The Triune God — A Historical Study of the Doctrine of the Trinity [Wipf and Stock Publishers: Eugene, Oregon, February 1999], p. 18; underline emphasis ours)

Secondly, the Son’s voluntary subjection at the end of the age doesn’t mean that Christ will cease to reign with his Father since both Paul and the rest of the inspired Biblical authors affirm that Christ rules forever:

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.” Ephesians 1:19-23

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” Isaiah 9:6-7

“‘Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, ‘for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!’” Luke 1:30-33

“But to the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.’” Hebrews 1:8-9

“Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:11

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: ‘The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.’” Revelation 11:15

The readers may be wondering if Paul’s statement doesn’t mean that Christ’s kingdom will come to an end then what does it mean? The following Evangelical authors help us understand Paul’s point and also explain why the Apostle’s comments cannot be distorted to mean that Jesus is not God:

“What Paul means is that the Son will deliver to God the Father a fully reconciled kingdom in which all his enemies have been defeated (1 Cor. 15:24-26). Paul is speaking of a ‘stage’ in the kingdom of God in which God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is in this age focusing on bringing people redemption from sin and salvation from evil powers and death (see also Eph. 1:19–23; Col. 1:13–20). In other words Paul is referring specifically to a spiritual or mediatorial phase of the kingdom of God in which Christ’s position as ruler is most prominent…

“The third objection is widely thought to be the most difficult, but we think it poses no insuperable objection to the deity of Christ. The objection suffers from a problem similar to the first: if Paul is understood to mean that at the end the Son will change his status by subjecting himself to God, that implies that the Son is not currently subject to God. If Jesus is a creature, inferior to God, is it possible for him not to be subject to God for even a minute?

“Recall the point we made earlier about the Son humbling himself to become a human being for the glory of the Father and the salvation of the lost. In his resurrection, as the ‘last Adam’, Jesus Christ continues to be a man, retaining his human nature (Acts 17:31; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:45-47; 1 Tim. 2:5), albeit in a glorified, immortal state (1 Cor. 15:42-44; Phil. 3:21). As a human being, the Son still honors and subjects himself to the Father as his God (e.g., John 20:17; 2 Cor. 1:3; Rev. 3:12). In that context, the Son, who is both fully God and fully human (Col. 2:9), rightly and properly subjects himself to God the Father. But this fact about the relationship between God the Father and the incarnate Son does not diminish the Son’s exalted status over all creation. He is still ‘Lord of all’ (Rom 10:12).” (Bowman Jr. & Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place, Part 5: The Best Seat in the House – Jesus Shares the Seat of God’s Throne, Chapter 21. Jesus Takes His Seat, 262-263)

Anti-Trinitarians further reason that everything would already be under Jesus’ authority if he were God. This again completely ignores and distorts the teaching of the Holy Bible, and is further evidence that these groups and/or cultists are incapable of refuting what the inspired Scriptures actually teach.

According to Paul himself, Jesus set aside his heavenly riches and status in order to assume the role of a servant and die an accursed death so that believers might be saved and share in Christ’s glory and inheritance:

“You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God (lit., in the form of God existing [en morphe theou hyperchon]), he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

Therefore, Christ received from the Father the authority which he had voluntarily aside for a season to accomplish the work of redemption.

We now come to our final section.

Christ – The Sovereign Head of All Creation!

Recall that in 1 Corinthians 11:3 Paul said that the head of every man is Christ. The God-breathed Scriptures also teach that Christ is head over all creation and is exalted far above every creation in existence:

and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, FAR ABOVE every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.” Ephesians 1:19-23 New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE)

 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” Colossians 2:10

The holy Scriptures further proclaim that Jesus is the Lord of all,

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Romans 10:9-13 NIV

“Christ died and rose again for this very purpose — to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.” Romans 14:9

And that everyone will eventually worship Christ as Lord:

“Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

What the foregoing shows is that, though subject to the Father, Jesus reigns as the Most High God over all creation in union with both the Father and the Holy Spirit. There’s simply no way around this clear, explicit biblical witness.

Unless noted otherwise all scriptural quotations taken from the New Living Translation (NLT) of the Holy Bible.

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