To what extent does the Son submit to the Father? How does that relate to marriage roles?

The older brother does indeed seem to be a major point of the whole thing that Jesus was telling to an “older brother” kind of audience. I see it as a way that Jesus was trying to move them off of their transactional based understandings of God (an understanding that does the Deuteronomist proud) and onto a love-based understanding instead - indeed, earnestly desiring that the older brother could share in that generous love. The sort of understanding (love) that is able to ask what people need rather than what they deserve, or that can embrace the generosity that gives the last workers the full wages as those who have (or who fancy they have) “born the heat of the day”.

I think that all may be agreeing with what you essentially said, Roger.

1 Like

There were two other brothers. Perhaps they were not really that different.:

…I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.

Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told,

“The older will serve the younger. Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea:

“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”


“In the very place where it was said to them,
‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘children of the living God.

Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:

“Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
only the remnant will be saved.

For the Lord will carry out
his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”

It is just as Isaiah said previously:

“Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us descendants,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah.”

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. As it is written:

“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

There is no “and” here. If he loves the child and wants to please him/her, he might bring a gift, but he does not have to bring a gift to prove his love. God loves us. Jesus did not have to prove God’s love, but He did on the Cross and by the Resurrection.

[quote=“Dale, post:73, topic:47283”]
I guess you don’t understand that enlightened self-interest is not selfish nor does it imply selfishness.

Says who? Enlightened self-interest is not love and is not from God. Self-interest, even enlightened self-interest, is by definition about self and not about God.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1John 3:16

Jesus Christ’s death was in His own self-interest?

If the Speed Limit is 65 and you go exactly 65, regardless of the traffic and other circumstances, then you are submitting your will to the sign, but most people travel around 65, probably a little faster depending on the circumstances because they agree with the general idea of the sign, not because they have surrendered their will to it.

Willful submission is still giving up control over one’s will, even if it is voluntary. Coming to agreement is accepting something even if one has some questions.

With all due respect Jesus Christ Stood Up Against the World by dying on the Cross. He did Not submit. He did not even submit by opposing evil with evil.

Thank you @GJDS. Freedom is not submission. We are called to be free as Jesus was free, responding in Love and not to submit to evil. The morality of Jesus is Love and not self-interest, enlightened or otherwise.

@Dale, you cannot build an entire theology around one proof text Hebrew 12:2, even if the meaning of that text were very clear, which it is not.

True and faithful here means loving, not obedient. The Son is not obedient to the Father. They are equal.

Who says? You?

@Dale , Thank you for this citation so we can at last see where you are coming from.

The book has many great reviews, but I noticed that they do not really say what it is about, which is a problem. Then I noticed that the author is John Piper, one of the prophets of ESS, neo-Arianism. That made everything fall into place, the absence of a theological basis for enlightened self-interest, the submission of Jesus Christ, and the replacement of Love as motive. They all fit into the Gospel of neo-Arianism, also known as Eternal Submission of the Son.

You really do not know what you are talking about. Piper, pro-ESS and neo-Arian? Seriously? We need to see some solid citations to support your saying such [appropriate adjectives withheld :slightly_smiling_face:] things.

Yes. That’s beyond you, is it? Hebrews 12:2 has been excised from your Bible?

Only those who can read and think.

According to Junia or whoever it was, He endured the shame to demonstrate divinity in the resurrection, is my beholder’s share.

@LM77, thank you for the comment.

I need to start from the beginning. In 325 the Church ruled that Jesus Christ was God and therefore was in no way subordinate to God the Father. Therefore it is a serious mistake to say that Jesus submitted His Will tot5heWillof the Father, voluntarily or not. It is not a matter of will, it is a matter of Nature.
Subordinate means “lower in rank or position.”
Submit means “accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.”

If Jesus is God, and since there is none higher than God, then Jesus cannot be subordinate to anyone. Jesus is equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Same with submit If Jesus is God, there is no superior force or authority or will for Him to submit to, because Jesus is God.

Submission is very different from Love. Love is sharing with others. Submission is accepting another persons will as one’s own. For us It might be necessary at times, but God cannot do this without ceasing to be God.

As I said before when Jesus said that He did not want to die on the Cross, He was not saying that He did not want humanity to be saved, He was saying that there must be an easier way. However, when He was assured that there was not, He then agreed to go through with it, not for His joy, but for our salvation.

God, the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all front and center in the Crucifixion. It is about the Trinity and nothing else. Jesus is the crucified God and not some Superman, who summitted himself to God. Jesus died for us because He loves us, not because of some future benefit or joy, which God does not need.

John 3:16 (NIV2011)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

If Jesus Christ is subordinate to God the Father then He is not God. If Jesus Christ is not God then we can not believe in Him. “You shall have no other “gods” before Me.”

Oh dear, Roger, I really don’t know what to say…

Why are you still conflating ontological subordination and temporary volitional subordination as if the are the same thing? They aren’t. Until you recognise that this conversation is going nowhere.

1 Like

Are you trying to say that the Crucifixion does not reveal the ultimate nature of God as Love? Are you trying to say that the Crucifixion reveals the nature of God as Hedonist? (Piper’s word)

Jesus is God. God does not ever change. ESS is right about one thing. Jesus Christ is either subordinate (and not God) forever, or Jesus/Logos is God and therefore not subordinate eternally.

This is the position of the Church, no a personal individualist position.

This is what he is saying, and clearly:


Are you trying to say that there is no gratification in love? Clearly there is, as was spelled out for you above, but for some reason you are blind to it.

1 Like

Thank you. This is a good point. However, Paul also uses this simile with how slaves are to obey their earthly masters. It seems, here, that Paul is working within the social construct, not planning on overthrowing that, either?


5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.


i’m not familiar, and unless you can show me the passage in question, i would respectfully dispute. i know of nowhere that he says that obedience to our earthly authorities is rooted specifically in the way that we were created. in general, there are exhortations to obey those in authority over us, whether kings, rulers, or earthly masters, but i’m not familiar with any such similar comparison (nor how it could be? Genesis describes God making man, then wife, and Paul uses that very instance to support his point… i’m not familiar with any other reference he makes to the very reaction that grounds slaves and masters, specifically, in the way we were created, or in some kind of analogy to God and Christ?

In general, the principle of obedience in whatever context should indeed reflect our obedience to Christ, granted. But the male/female dynamic is the one Paul used and grounded in the very nature of God and creation… “Adam was formed first, then Eve…” "Man is head of woman as Godmis the head of Christ… etc. And i don’t see this kind of core dynamic applied to slaves and masters, unless i am missing something?

1 Like

You mean as Paul did in Colossians, or as Peter also did… giving commands for wives to submit or be subject to their husbands and while omitting that supposed qualification?

If omitted in one place it does not negate where stated elsewhere, does it? It is quite interesting how often Ephesians 5:22 is quoted without the preceding verse, which I have been told is the only one that has the actual verb submit in it. Seems a little disingenuous as it could be translated “Submit to one another, and that goes for you too, wives.”
Ephesians 5 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands…

1 Like

[quote=“Daniel_Fisher, post:144, topic:47283, full:true”]

You mean as Paul did in Colossians, or as Peter also did… giving commands for wives to submit or be subject to their husbands and while omitting that supposed qualification? @Daniel_Fisher

I surely do not thank that the advice of Paul and Peter was meant to take the place of the command of Jesus when He said, Love God with all your mind, heart, soul, and strength, and love one another as yourself.

Love is not the same as submission, because love is mutual, while submission is not. The command to love one another as oneself makes this clear as does the command to “Love one another as I (Jesus Christ) have loved you.” John 15:12.

The ethics of Jesus is based on Love, not submission. Nothing can or will change that.

Love can mean submission. A fairly nonthreatening example would be submitting to traffic laws. It is not loving to disobey them – accidents caused by failure to submit are absolutely not loving to the victims!

A more pertinent example might be of a marriage where only one spouse is a Christian, the Christian submitting to the unbeliever out of love and as an example of Christ.

Jesus submitted to the Romans out of love for us, even praying for them to be forgiven…

Jesus did not submit to the Romans. If anything, Jesus submitted to the world, which means to us. “God the Father so loved the World…” That is why the prayer. “Father, forgive them” is for all of us and not just for some of us…

But as we have discussed “submission” means surrendering to someone of higher authority. Neither the Romans nor the Sanhedrin nor the world has authority over Jesus, Who is God.

Christians do submit to traffic laws, they follow them, because they come from the government who is us. The only ones who submit to them are those who follow them to the letter, which is no one I know.

Jesus did not submit. He stood up to the Jewish authorities. He stood up to the Romans. He stood up to sin and death. He stood up to those who say “go along to get along.” He refused to back down from His mission and His ministry and that was why He died on the Cross.

Submission is not the example of Christ. Love is.

Thank you, now I understand – it’s all about semantics.

but of course not… but how the teaching is presented elsewhere, independently, and also by a different author, is incredibly valuable in biblical interpretation or exegesis to explore what a phrase - especially if disputed - means.

In this case…, if Paul’s core, deep, and real meaning, that he was carefully trying to communicate, is one of “mutual submission”, and he wanted it to be understood that by “submit to one another” in v21 he really meant to include husbands submitting to wives and vice versa, and the “wives to husbands” was merely an ancillary clarification to remind wives it applied to them also…

then it is especially striking that Paul forgot to mention anything about this “mutual submission in marriage” concept in both Colossians and Titus, but somehow he did in both other cases remember the “wives submit to husbands” part?

And then Peter also, who similarly neglected to mention anything about this mutual submission between husbands and wives, but similarly remembered the “wives should submit to husbands” part?

or, put another way… the repeated omission in other places does communicate that it is not a crucial aspect of the train of thought. After all, the folks in Colossae presumably wouldn’t have had a copy of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in front of them by which they could “reinterpret” his direct and rather unambiguous straightforward words to them about “wives submit to your husbands.” If the “mutual submission” was the main, core part of his message on this topic, it would be striking that he forgot to mention that part but still remembered the rather unidirectional “wives submit to your husbands” part.

Yet no one complains that Col 3:18 (Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord) is quoted without the preceding verse (And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.)… ever contemplate that or wonder why?

Strictly speaking, the submit verb is also in v. 24, where again the reminder is specifically referencing wives submitting to husbands… and speaking of said verb, it is of note that, oddly enough, Paul in Ephesians, like he does in Colossians and Titus, completely forgets to use the “submit” verb in reference to husbands submitting to their wives…

but between v. 21 and 22, yes, only v 21 has the “submit” verb (strictly speaking, a participle), which is carried over to be the understood verb of v22 (which uses the same verb as it is simply part of the same sentence). therefore…

i personally think that interpretation is a bit disingenuous given the obvious, straightforward, and unanimous unidirectional agreement of language of “wives submitting to husbands” principle (and no mention of the reverse), in Ephesians, Colossians, Titus, and 1 Peter (and the similar concept in 1 Corinthians at that)…

And given the use of the verb (and the fact that it is one sentence as you noticed) it would not be disingenuous to translate it, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, specifically: wives, to your own husbands.”

A most woodenly literal translation of 21-22 would be…

“Submitting to one another in fear of Christ, the wives to their own husbands as to the Lord…”

Yes, because back in this day, if it was either women who needed reminder or instruction that they needed to submit to their husbands, or if it was the men that needed to heed Paul’s emphasized guidance that they needed to submit to their wives, then surely it would have been the women who needed the sole reminder, not the men…

Personally, if the “mutual submission” idea is really what Paul was trying to communicate, i find it utterly remarkable that he never felt the need to ever say, either here in Ephesians or anywhere else he addressed the topic… “Submit to one another, and that goes for you too, husbands!

Ah, yes, thus the principle that i can ignore any explicit biblical command or instruction or guidance if i deem it in my personal opinion to be taking the place of the command to love.

Thus, we can also excise from our Bibles the command to “Submit yourselves therefore to God”,

And we can cut out the principle, “Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?”

and we can negate the core principle that “the church submits to Christ

Or maybe Jesus himself should have better followed the ethics of Jesus when
he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them.”… and if Jesus had been more familiar with Christ’s ethics based on love not submission, he would never have said something like, “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”…?

1 Like

Please review the passage included above, in the note you responded to. I’d appreciate your insight. Thanks. I always appreciate your iron sharpening iron.

1 Like

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.