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And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3 (ESV)

Recently there was a debate at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.  This debate centered around the trinity and as the name of the school would suggest, both sides in this debate believe in the trinity.  The question was: Do relations of authority and submission exist eternally among the persons of the Godhead?

The two men who took the position of the affirmative to this question started with the presentation which is outlined below as recorded from the live blog of the debate.  What I found interesting about this debate is how if you get rid of the presupposition of the trinity and just let the Scriptures presented speak for themselves, the picture that is drawn is that the Father alone is God.  He has the authority — that’s part of what makes Him God, and the Son is in submission–that’s part of what makes him not God, (or at least a lesser god — certainly not of the same essence or substance).

I. Scripture indicates the authority of the Father and the submission of the Son to the Father’s authority from before the foundation of the world until the eternal state.

* A. Authority and submission prior to creation (Eph 1:3-5; Rom 8:29; 2 Tim 1:9; Eph 1:9-11; 3:9-11)
* B. Authority and submission indicated by the eternal names “Father” and “Son” (John 1:14; 17:24; Heb 9:14)
* C. Authority and submission in the process of creation (John 1:1; Heb 1:1-2; 1 Cor 8:6)
* D. Authority and submission prior to Christ’s earthly ministry (John 3:16-17; Gal 4:4; 1 John 4:9-10)
* E. Authority and submission in Christ’s earthly ministry (John 6:38; 8:28-29; 15:9-10)
* F. Authority and submission after Christ’s ascension into heaven
o 1. In Christ’s ministry as Great High Priest (Heb 7:23-25; Rom 8:34)
o 2. In his pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:32-33)
o 3. In his receiving revelation from the Father and giving it to the church (Rev 1:1)
o 4. In his sitting at God’s right hand—a position of authority second to that of the Father himself (Acts 2:32-33; Eph 1:20-22; Heb 1:3; Pss 110:1;     45:9; Rev 2:26; et al)
* G. Authority and submission after the final judgment (1 Cor 15:26-28)
* H. Conclusion: The consistent, uniform testimony of Scripture is that the Father, by virtue of being Father, eternally has authority to plan, initiate, command, and send, authority that the Son and Holy Spirit do not have. The Son, by virtue of being Son, eternally submits joyfully and with great delight to the authority of his Father. It is only in a sinful world deeply marred by hostility toward authority, and overly focused on status and power, that cannot see that submission to the authority of the Father is the great glory of the Son. Authority, and submission to authority, are a wonderful part of the great glory of the Father and the Son, and this will be their glory for all eternity. “Do Relations of Authority and Submission Exist Eternally among the Persons of the Godhead?” Absolutely, undeniably, gloriously, yes.

The idea that the Father and the Son share the same essence and/or substance, and yet the One has authority over the other, not only makes no sense, but I wonder if it is really possible to believe.  It is a wonderful example of cognitive dissonance (holding two opposing thoughts in your mind simultaneously).  How much simpler it is to believe, as the Scriptures state, that there is one God, who is Yahweh, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To see some more on the debate you can look here and here.

5 Responses to “The Authority of God and Submission of Jesus”

  1. on 19 Oct 2008 at 4:17 amWolfgang

    hi there,

    The idea that the Father and the Son share the same essence and/or substance, and yet the One has authority over the other, not only makes no sense, but I wonder if it is really possible to believe. actually, the idea that beings of the same substance or essence have different levels of authority with some having authority over others does makes sense, and we see it every day in our own lives as well as in other areas of life ….

    Consider a pack of dogs, they all share the same substance, essence, and yet there is the alpha dog as pack leader with authority over the rest of the pack.
    Consider a human family, they all share the same substance, essence (they are human beings of flesh and blood) and yet, there are different levels of authority and some in the family have authority over others (example => parents and children).

    The problem with the idea which you address concerning the supposed “Godhead of three persons” is a different one:
    The Father and the Son do NOT (!!!!) share the same substance, essene … the Father is SPIRIT, the Son is FLESH AND BLOOD.
    Furthermore, “God” is not a term which describes substance or essence.
    Plus, there is only One (not two, and not three) who are the true God, the Almighty, the Being Who is above all, Who holds absolute authority over all, and that One is the Father.

    The Messiah Jesus is NOT of the same substance or essence as the Father, the Messiah Jesus is NOT that One Being Who alone is true God, the Messiah Jesus is a human being and as such (like any other human being or part of the creation) under the authority of God.

    In other words, the idea that Father and Son are of the same substance is FALSE … ( the idea that a being of the same substance can have authority over another being of the same substance is not).

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  2. on 19 Oct 2008 at 4:19 amWolfgang

    hi there,

    The idea that the Father and the Son share the same essence and/or substance, and yet the One has authority over the other, not only makes no sense, but I wonder if it is really possible to believe.

    actually, the idea that beings of the same substance or essence have different levels of authority with some having authority over others does makes sense, and we see it every day in our own lives as well as in other areas of life ….

    Consider a pack of dogs, they all share the same substance, essence, and yet there is the alpha dog as pack leader with authority over the rest of the pack.
    Consider a human family, they all share the same substance, essence (they are human beings of flesh and blood) and yet, there are different levels of authority and some in the family have authority over others (example => parents and children).

    The problem with the idea which you address concerning the supposed “Godhead of three persons” is a different one:
    The Father and the Son do NOT (!!!!) share the same substance, essene … the Father is SPIRIT, the Son is FLESH AND BLOOD.
    Furthermore, “God” is not a term which describes substance or essence.
    Plus, there is only One (not two, and not three) who are the true God, the Almighty, the Being Who is above all, Who holds absolute authority over all, and that One is the Father.

    The Messiah Jesus is NOT of the same substance or essence as the Father, the Messiah Jesus is NOT that One Being Who alone is true God, the Messiah Jesus is a human being and as such (like any other human being or part of the creation) under the authority of God.

    In other words, the idea that Father and Son are of the same substance is FALSE … ( the idea that a being of the same substance can have authority over another being of the same substance is not).

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  3. on 19 Oct 2008 at 3:38 pmWally

    The trinity has been a core belief not only from the Catholic Church (Vatican) but many other religions in the ancient world that share the same belief similar to Catholic Church’s trinity belief, since the restoration and reformation in 1880, as other religions such as Protestants, Methodists, prebysterians, adventists, bautists, Pentecostal, just to mention a few. All these religions adapted the belief as part of the reformation of christianity. I researched this belief and its origins. This belief has adapted the same core belief with small variations from ancient religion such a Egyptians and Babylonians. These two major empires did not only have social-political powers but religious influence as well. It’s hard to summarize in one page the history of this belief and its roots. But as a briefing, if the Catholic Church not only tried to claim to come up with this belief but instituted it as a core belief in the comittee of Nicea with their theologians and clergy leaders. Babylon as the center of paganism in the ancient world was at a given time where Lucifer established his kingdom of worship center. That is the place where all false prophets, eastern philosophies such astrology,metaphysical, triune deides,(exactly the same as the trinity belief) etc.,-came from opposing God’s will and his purposes. Even in our modern day, the prototype of that worship has been passed down to the “wild beast” predicted in Revelation to assimilate Lucifer’s worship. Going back to the subject, I thought intercepting some history into it, will also clarify alot of this belief, even though there is a lot of documented evidence of babylonian’s religion showing it. The million dollar question is: If this belief is coming from the Vatican or Catholic Church, and yet all the christian denomination mentioned above also believe the same thing, why all these religions critized the Vatican as being harlot and the Anti-Christ mentioned in Revelation if they followed the same belief?? i.e., “Catholics bow down to their co-redeempter virgin Mary, mother of Christ” but yet they still deny to worship her. So, if the Bible gives us the counsel and clarification that there is no Trinity or triune god. Shall we believe God in the Bible or Babylonian,Egyptian-Vatican’s belief? Obviously, I personally believe the God of the Bible. The Bible tells us:

    Jesus worshipped his Father. so if he had a God that he worshipped to, then Jesus is not Omnipotent, just his Father.

    Jesus did his Father’s will. That means Jesus submitted himself to his Father’s will. Jesus’ Free will was in submission with his Father or the same spirit. That is to say, same thinking and union in all things. So Jesus put faith in his Father and respected his position before his Father.

    Jesus obeyed the Father’s Commandments. That is to say, Jesus had less authority than his Father. As Jesus showed his alliance and obedience to the Father, in turn, the Father conferred authority to his Son over heavens and earth to carry out the Father’s will for the future.

    Jesus also acknowledged and glorified his Father when he was in heavens with his Father and when He also came to earth to fulfilled the profecies of this Father. Genesis 3:15 That means that there is no doubt Jesus gave glory and praise to his God!

    Jesus taught his apostles and disciples what the Father taught him when he was in heavens before he came to earth. That means, Jesus did not learn things on his own right? That shows limitations of his nature. If Jesus learned everything from his Father that means he was created by his Father. The Father gave Jesus Life as a spirit. That is why Jesus knew his position before the Father as the Son of God (anointed) in turn the Father conferred authority to his Son to also give Life. Father’s approval for his was well-known in the entire Universe. That is why, angels obeyed Jesus because they followed God’s command to obey Jesus. There is a chain of command, God is a God of order not of disorder. Whoever does not respect that arrangement, then that creature is in opposition with God. What did Lucifer did? Exactly that! That is why we are still here to vindicate God’s name until this issue is resolved.

    Jesus was tempted to follow Satan’s leadership. Jesus sustained his loyalty to his Father. He refused to give a little sign of worship to Satan. Why Satan tempted Jesus then? Satan acknoledged that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus also acknoledged that Satan was the god of this world needless to say when Satan offered him the kingdoms of this world. Jesus never said he was God. Jesus couldv’d had to Satan I am your God if he thought he was God. Jesus re-directed his attention to the scriptures, as to worship the only one God Yahweh.

    If Jesus never said, he was God. What is that telling us? Jesus said that he was sent by his Father as the Messiah not as God. When somebody says ” He is my Father or Dad?” that means what? it means that we originated from that source as an entity or creature. We became to exist because we have a father as a source of life right? In humand terms, we need a woman and a man to pro-create but with God is different, he has the power to give life as he pleases to. Humans pro-create, invent or imitate life but never create life. why? because neither spirits or humans have the power to do it, unless the Father confers that power to whoever he pleases to, Who can tell God what to do? Lucifer made accusations against God but he could never proved anything.

    When Jesus was ascending to his Father he told his apostles and disciples that he was going to His Father and his God and told his apostles and disciples that was their God and their Father as well. What is that telling us? It means that we need to follow his teaching and commandment.

    Jesus taught to his apostles that if somebody does not do the Father’s will, that creature will lose the priviledge of eternal life. Jesus said ” Whoever does my Father’s will never die” what would have had happened if Jesus did not obey Father’s will, just like what happened to Satan righr? Satan disobey God and defied him. Jesus will fall in the same category like those who don’t do the Father’s will right? Jesus said that those that do not repent and do God’s Will will be destroyed as he told to the Pharisees. That is to say that Jesus’s existence was also subjective. Only God is not submitted to nothing right? That is why Jesus is not the Almighty God, because his existence is subjective to God’s will.

    The nature of Jesus before coming to earth was a spirit just like his Father in nature but that does not make him as the Father in power or same substance of possessing sole sovereignty. God created all his creatures with a spirit in two different natures but ultimately the spirit is the same.

    Now I can go on making millions of comparisons all day but my duty and responsability is to follow Jesus as an example, my saviour and Lord. Iam not confused about my position between God and Jesus. Iam certained about how Jesus is taking the Leadership in God’s Divine Plan.

    Remember, Satan (Lucifer) wants to mislead those who are vulnerable and weak spiritually speaking.

    Wally

  4. on 20 Oct 2008 at 2:01 amWolfgang

    Hi Wally,

    you stated above

    The nature of Jesus before coming to earth was a spirit just like his Father in nature but that does not make him as the Father in power or same substance of possessing sole sovereignty. God created all his creatures with a spirit in two different natures but ultimately the spirit is the same.

    From where do you get the idea that “the nature of Jesus before coming to earth was a spirit just like his Father in nature” ??

    It seems to me that the Scriptures do teach that Jesus is a human being of “flesh and blood” as all other humans as well (cp Heb 2:14ff). Since you say that Jesus was “a spirit” before coming to earth, do you believe that all humans already exist prior to being conceived and born as “a spirit” in nature”?

    Also, you write

    Remember, Satan (Lucifer) wants to mislead those who are vulnerable and weak spiritually speaking.

    I wonder what you mean with “spiritually speaking”? what do you mean with “spiritual” in this context? How is one “spiritually” weak or strong? Is “spiritual” the same as “mental” or as “in character” or “emotional” ? Or were you linking “spiritual” with “speaking” rather than with “vulnerable and weak”? Could you clarify, please?

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  5. on 21 Oct 2008 at 8:48 amSean

    Maybe this guy can explain the intricate details of the Trinity to us a bit better?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hxNhpfdExE

  

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