Eternal Functional Subordination of the Son to the Father in the Trinity

Two articles out of many of a recent controversy between theologians concerning the doctrine of the Trinity and the eternal submission or subordination of the Son in His role and function to the Father.  (not subordinate in nature/substance/essence or power, but in role and function.)

Evangelical theologians who seemed to affirm an eternal subordinate relationship of the Son to the Father.  by Wayne Grudem

The first one by J. I. Packer caught my eye; and also, other famous theologians.  Be sure to read them all.  The whole discussion is very interesting and the deeper one goes, the deeper one is pushed to think even more deeply about these things.

1. J. I. Packer, Knowing God (1973). (Packer is probably the best-known living evangelical theologian, and is sometimes called “the gate-keeper of evangelicalism.”)”Part of the revealed mystery of the Godhead is that the three persons stand in a fixed relation to each other….It is the nature of the second person of the Trinity to acknowledge the authority and submit to the good pleasure of the first. That is why He declares Himself to be the Son, and the first person to be His Father. Though co-equal with the Father in eternity, power, and glory, it is natural to Him to play the Son’s part, and find all His joy in doing His Father’s will, just as it is natural to the first person of the Trinity to plan and initiate the works of the Godhead and natural to the third person to proceed from the Father and the Son to do their joint bidding. Thus the obedience of the God-man to the Father while He was on earth was not a new relationship occasioned by the incarnation, but the continuation in time of the eternal relationship between the Son and the Father in heaven.” Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 54-55.

See the rest here:

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2016/06/another-thirteen-evangelical-t.php

Also:

http://www.dennyburk.com/a-brief-response-to-trueman-and-goligher/

http://www.dennyburk.com/jonathan-edwards-calls-the-father-head-of-the-trinity/

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About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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17 Responses to Eternal Functional Subordination of the Son to the Father in the Trinity

  1. θ says:

    Love in the Bible is unrequited love.
    There’s a little known shame in the Bible that the Son never said (not even once) that he loved his own Father. Love in the Bible is not reciprocal. How can son love a father who sends him to suffer, to die, and to harrow in Hell?

    In Qur’an Allah loves and is loved by Moslems reciprocally.

    Worse, the love of Father to his son causes him to be less emphatic towards Non-Christians who shall be punished eternally in Hell with the everlasting loss of love for a brief “unforgiven sin” of not believing in the sonship of Jesus.

    • Ken Temple says:

      Did you even read any of the articles?

      Your comments are not directly related to the specific issues of the articles.

      The Son demonstrates His love for the Father by His obedience and the unity and glory (John chapters 12-17 – “Father, glorify Your Son, as I have glorified You”) and joy they share together.

      John 4:34
      John 8:29 ” . . . I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”
      John 15:9-12 – “abide in My love . . . just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.”
      John 17:20-26 – the unity is a unity of love and truth and oneness. “as You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You . . . ” etc.

      Hebrews 12:1-2 – “. . . who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, counting the shame as nothing, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (for the joy of being reunited with His Father = love)

      • θ says:

        Of course the Father loves the son, and continues to be pleased by his love in son. That’s one-way love. But the shame is, nowhere does the son ever say personally that he loves his father.
        Whom did the joy set before Jesus for? Just for himself, that he shall regain again his former status? for the throne? for a position? for the Holy Spirit? Not clear and too vague.
        Why does the author not mention plainly “the Father” there? Curiously, why does not Jesus himself say the words, instead of the unknown author?

        In Islam love is reciprocal: Allah loves and is loved by Moslems.

  2. θ says:

    The Father could have diverted the death of his beloved son if he had been just generous a bit to let Adam and Eve, as well as all humans get an access to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life.

    Trinitarians are expected to apostatise from the Trinity in droves after they realise that their unhealthy obsession of sin makes those Trinitarians get totally freaked out, even turn against the Bible by wrongly believing in the self-sacrifice of “God”. Sin is not so substantially horrible for God. Originally, the sin doesn’t need to be atoned by the blood, let alone by a so-called sacrificial death of God.

    A fruit of the tree just easily suffices to eradicate the death and sin. No need blood or death required.
    Gen 3:22
    And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
    Prov 3:18
    She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
    Prov 11:30
    The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
    Rev 22:14
    Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
    Jn 4:36
    And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

    • Ken Temple says:

      “THE tree of life” in Genesis 3:22 and Revelation 22:14 is different than “a tree of life” in the proverbs passages.

    • Ken Temple says:

      “Sin is not so substantially horrible for God.”

      Then why did Allah create hell?

      Why doesn’t He just forgive everybody?

    • Ken Temple says:

      “The Father could have diverted the death of his beloved son if he had been just generous a bit to let Adam and Eve, as well as all humans get an access to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life.”

      So, in Islam, why didn’t Allah do that in Islam?

      Why did Allah send them down to earth and why did sin spread to all mankind?

      Islamic sources also demonstrate that sin spread to all mankind, because of Adam and Eve’s sin.

      https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2015/11/13/does-islam-really-teach-that-there-is-no-original-inherited-sin-that-spread-to-all-mankind/

    • Ken Temple says:

      “their unhealthy obsession of sin “

      What do you mean by that? and how do you explain it in the light of Islam, which also has an unhealthy obsession of sin, but in a different way and different emphasis?

      Which one gets to the roots of internal sins?

      Which one emphasizes external sins over internal roots and causes of sin?

      • θ says:

        “Ken Temple says:“Sin is not so substantially horrible for God.” Then why did Allah create hell? Why doesn’t He just forgive everybody?”

        Our sin makes us lose our immortality. But the point is, what is damaged by a fruit can be restored by another fruit of another tree. No need for Jesus’ blood or death. Last but not least, the fruit is not divine by nature.

        “Ken Temple says: “The Father could have diverted the death of his beloved son if he had been just generous a bit to let Adam and Eve, as well as all humans get an access to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life.” So, in Islam, why didn’t Allah do that in Islam? Why did Allah send them down to earth and why did sin spread to all mankind? Islamic sources also demonstrate that sin spread to all mankind, because of Adam and Eve’s sin.https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2015/11/13/does-islam-really-teach-that-there-is-no-original-inherited-sin-that-spread-to-all-mankind/

        You ask a deep philosophical question about a virtue of choices and the free will. Had Adam not eaten any forbidden fruit whatsoever, still he would have had to go search in a sacred journey of finding the tree of Life of his own. That’s why the tree is termed with the word “Life” anyway. Each person needs to have a go to find his own personal tree, or to collect so much and so many clues to get it.
        The story of “Conference of the Birds” by a Medieval sufi Attar reflected a philosophical quest of the long journey and trials of many birds on finding a mysterious king of the bird Shimorg.

        “Ken Temple says: “their unhealthy obsession of sin “ What do you mean by that? and how do you explain it in the light of Islam, which also has an unhealthy obsession of sin, but in a different way and different emphasis? Which one gets to the roots of internal sins? Which one emphasizes external sins over internal roots and causes of sin?”

        The root of cause is just a fruit, and it shall be solved equally by the fruit but from another tree.

  3. θ says:

    The Son never says he loves his father, rather with tears he cries a lot to be spared but gets forsaken alone on the cross instead.
    Is the son a typical victim of abuses of his impulsive compulsive father?

    To add insult to injury, the Father could have diverted the death of his beloved son if he had been just generous a bit to let Adam and Eve, as well as all humans get an access to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life.
    After all the tree is the asset under the tight protection of the Father himself.

    Moreover, Is the tree of Life or its fruit a “divine thing” by nature since it was supposed to be able to cancel out the curse of death on Adam and Eve? Certainly not.

    • Ken Temple says:

      “Not My will, but Thy will be done” is an expression of true love and sacrifice and submission. Luke 22:42

      For your religion’s boasting of “submission” (Islam means “submission”, “surrender”) – yet it is our religion that demonstrates the most sublime and absolute and profound submission of all time and eternity.

      • θ says:

        Ken Temple says: “Not My will, but Thy will be done” is an expression of true love and sacrifice and submission. Luke 22:42 For your religion’s boasting of “submission” (Islam means “submission”, “surrender”) – yet it is our religion that demonstrates the most sublime and absolute and profound submission of all time and eternity.”

        Each individual needs to surrender his will in order to endure on a long journey of such a “Tree of Life Go”.
        Had Adam not eaten any forbidden fruit whatsoever, still he would have had to go search in a sacred journey of finding the tree of Life of his own. That’s why the tree is termed with the word “Life” anyway. Each person needs to have a go to find his own personal tree, or to collect so much and so many clues to get it.
        The story of “Conference of the Birds” by a Medieval sufi Attar reflected a philosophical quest of the long journey and trials of many birds on finding a mysterious king of the bird Shimorg.

  4. Ken Temple says:

    Attar was an Iranian Sufi poet – (they were Sunnis at that time; only later in the 1500s did Iran/Persia become Shiite by decree of a King (Shah). Yes, I am somewhat familiar with him; having heard from Iranians about his poetry. It is Simorgh – “30 birds”, and also the name of the king, not “Shimorg”. this is Farsi, and I know that language.
    سیمرغ = si – morqh
    = سی = 30
    مرغ =
    bird, or “chicken”, but in this case, bird.
    It is called “The conference of 30 birds”.

    It is interesting that Attar is the one who wrote about the execution of another Sufi mystic, Mansour Al-Hallaj, who said, “I am the Truth” and was executed for blasphemy. The Sufis meant that they had evolved / grown/ progressed into getting rid of the Nafs Amareh نفس اماره (the selfish self) and reached a zenith of piety, but the Islamic Sharia / government / orthodox Muslims viewed that as blasphemy.

    But there is a lot of my questions that you never really answer; and some of your stuff, as usual, is difficult to even understand what you are talking about.

  5. Ken Temple says:

    Jesus, as the Son, proved His love, by His obedience and surrender/submission to the Will of the Father. Luke 22:42

    So, your demand that exact words, “the Son loves the Father” has been refuted.

  6. Ken Temple says:

    You ask a deep philosophical question about a virtue of choices and the free will.

    How do you explain that many Sahih Hadith says that a Muslim must belief in Al- Qadar القدر (Predestination, or Divine Decrees), “whether good or bad” ?

    How is there free will, when ultimately, whatever happens was Allah’s will?

  7. Ken Temple says:

    “No need for Jesus’ blood or death”

    Then why did God set up the sacrificial system of sacrificing animals (sheep, lambs, goats, bulls, etc.) so much in the Torah and books of the OT? (Exodus, Leviticus, 1 Kings, and prophesies about a future Messiah who would make atonement by His own sacrifice and blood? (Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:24-27)

    The willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his only unique son of his love, in Genesis 22, was a prophesy of the love of God the Father, who would willingly allow His Son, Jesus Al Masih, to be sacrificed for sin and become “the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 – Yahya, a prophet of God, said, so you are obligated to believe this, and repent.)

    • θ says:

      “Ken Temple says: It is interesting that Attar is the one who wrote about the execution of another Sufi mystic, Mansour Al-Hallaj, who said, “I am the Truth” and was executed for blasphemy. The Sufis meant that they had evolved / grown/ progressed into getting rid of the Nafs Amareh نفس اماره (the selfish self) and reached a zenith of piety, but the Islamic Sharia / government / orthodox Muslims viewed that as blasphemy.”

      Unfortunately Hallaj turned so disillusioned, crazy, being intoxicated in a false happiness, whereas Qur’an says otherwise in Q.68, v.2 that the true happiness from God prevents any madness. In Attar’s story, those 30 birds’ achievement of defeating 7 deadly valleys can’t be explained by a mere callous word such as “I am the Truth”, rather they just sit on the top of Qaf Mountain, not descend back to the earthy mountains.
      Actually Islam forbids Moslems from killing any crazy man as long as he doesn’t utter blasphemy.

      “Ken Temple says: Jesus, as the Son, proved His love, by His obedience and surrender/submission to the Will of the Father. Luke 22:42 So, your demand that exact words, “the Son loves the Father” has been refuted.”

      Silence could infer to a hidden hatred as well, or even worse it is a suppressed fear of wrath.
      What a shame, that Jesus doesn’t have any courage enough to confess that he loves his father who sends him to the death and to Hell. In fact, if he were to really love his father so much, surely he must have said that.

      “Ken Temple says: How do you explain that many Sahih Hadith says that a Muslim must belief in Al- Qadar القدر (Predestination, or Divine Decrees), “whether good or bad” ?How is there free will, when ultimately, whatever happens was Allah’s will?”

      In Islam, the belief alone isn’t enough to save, even belief doesn’t overrule the good works.
      Our Medieval Mu’tazilla sect was wrong in dismissing the belief entirely, whereas the so-called Fatalists (Qadarite) turned to be like today’s Evangelists and Protestants who still believe in the superstitious Creationism. We Moslems are not Protestants who wrongly believe in Sola Fide.

      “Ken Temple says: “No need for Jesus’ blood or death” Then why did God set up the sacrificial system of sacrificing animals (sheep, lambs, goats, bulls, etc.) so much in the Torah and books of the OT? ”

      That’s just for the sake of a protection from death, not for a forgiveness of life.
      If the Passover Lamb (on 15th–21th month Nisan) had forgiven all sins of Moses, he would not have had Yom Kippur at the next 6 month (10th Tishrei).

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