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

Thanks Liam.

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I really do resonate largely with the basic sentiment… but, but… Well, at the risk of sounding super-critical and argumentative about everything… but this is very significant to me…

I’m just curious, how would you judge me if i had posted and said:

I would argue that it is for the husband - not the wife - to decide if his wife is submitting to him in a manner analogous to the way the church should submit to Christ…??

If interesting, there was a point in my past that i would have been what is called an egalitarian (i wasnt conversant enough with the debate to even know the term but that is essentially where i was).

when i was first exposed to the question/debate, i recall I considered the “that was a cultural construct” Paul was working with…

except that as i read and considered, i couldn’t help but notice that Paul based his guidance and perspective on eternal or non-cultural observations… Man is head of wife as God is the head of Christ, or as Christ is the head of man? His guidance about man and women in the church he argued was “because Adam was made first, then eve…”, husbands and wives are to emulate Christ and the church, etc.

Now, one might argue that Paul was such a product of his culture that he wrongly and erroneously connected his own personal, limited, time-bound cultural gender preferences to these eternal reasons…

but the one thing i don’t think we can do is say that Paul was believed that his teaching about gender roles was only communication about the current cultural climate.

It certainly seems that Paul, whether rightly or wrongly, believed his instructions on leadership in marriage and other such topics was based on eternal structure of how God made man and woman… he based this on eternal comparisons and based on the very way that God created us, no?

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Thank you, @LM77 Liam, for interesting statements which take apart the arguments of ESS. The problem is that it does not mention the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, the Spirit of Love Who is the only Source of Christian morality and practice, not submission. The Trinity is about more than the Father and the Son. When you lose the Trinity, you lose the Spirit also.

The issue is not egalitarian or submission, it is love or obedience. Love is the only Christian way and it cannot be based on submission.

@Mervin_Bitikofer, Bro. Mervin, with all due respect, this statement seems to indicate that you are missing something important here. While it is clear that Jesus suffered extreme physical pain on the Cross, the evidence indicates that this was not the half of it.

We know that the whole crucifixion process was planned to be humiliating and dehumanizing, so that created intense spiritual and psychic pain. Just to see all those people, who received Him as the Messiah less then a week ago turn against Him with anger and hatred and scream for His death.

Certainly how must Jesus have felt when He saw His disciples, men into whom He had invested so much, discouraged, scattered, and lost? Why did Jesus cry out, “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?” I am glad that I am not a Roman Catholic, because we need to take Jesus down from the Cross, although I am sure there is still pain as long as there long as humans sin.

@Daniel_Fisher ,yes, as a soldier you submit to orders, but as a human you have freewill. However as God Jesus cannot submit to anything or anyone., and yet some say that as God the Son Jesus submitted to the Father.

Did Jesus submit to the Father when He went to the Cross? No. He went of His own free will. Of course He has some qualms, but that was not because they disagreed on the need for salvation, but because of the price of salvation. In other words the Son and the Father were in basic agreement about what needed to be done, but the cost was very high.

If an officer is expressing his/her free4will only when she/he agrees with the orders, they have a conditional freewill, which is not really free, which is true of all of us, but not of Jesus/God.

The Christian motive is Love, not enlightened self interest. Why bring it into the conversation. If the child is not loved and the gift was a bribe of some sort, the child could well reject it. In other words really love is the only sufficient motive. The response of the child is secondary. Self interest sounds as if you have a vested interest in redefining Christian morality.

What makes you think that is true? How can self interest not be selfish?

++++[quote=“Relates, post:90, topic:47283”]
Why did Jesus cry out, “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?”
because it was a song more appropriate than “always look at the bright side of life” but he might have done so as well.

It is in the total submission to God that we become one with him. This is what Jesus demonstrated that when you follow his authority you are part of him and therefore eternal again. It is our glorification of the self that is our stumbling block. The atonement was not to shift God towards us but to move us closer to God. It is this total submission that makes us think that Jesus was God as he was executing the will of God and not his own as in an entity separate from God thus the living God. Because of the dimensional constraints of our observed reality he was all God, but not all of God as we can not see all of God in our physical existence. As such the trinity is a failed model trying to explain a complicated subject in a 3D model.

In order to submit to God you must have undergone puberty, see my interpretation of the fall to establish your own self as to have something you can submit to something else. Thus the question is where this happened with Jesus? did he ever become a self as in rejecting the fathers authority or did he stay in the father all his life and therefore logically saw himself as part of himself, e.g. being the one flesh with the parents?


The atonement was not to shift God towards us but to move us closer to God. <

Are you quite sure about this?

The atonement was an act of restoring friendly relationships by an act of propitiation.

10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10

As one commentator says:

‘The word propitiation carries the basic idea of appeasement or satisfaction, specifically toward God. Propitiation is a two-part act that involves appeasing the wrath of an offended person and being reconciled to him.’

Through the atonement not only are we reconciled to God but he is also reconciled to us i.e. the offended party is also reconciled to the offender. It is through the atonement that the previously broken relationship is restored.

The story of the prodigal son is a picture of the father running towards the offending party.

The atonement is an act of God moving towards us in terms of it being primarily His initiative. But it doesn’t stop with his movement towards us. It terminates in ‘meeting’.

That it is. We also shouldn’t forget the very significant movement on the prodigal’s part - he had to “hit bottom”, and be brought to repentance, and to begin his journey back too, which was not insignificant. We aren’t shown the father traveling out and pleading with a still rebellious son to have a change of heart. The son is left to learn the necessary hard lessons about his own life choices before the story could proceed to its heart-warming return.

What would be more to your point, though, would be the parable of the lost sheep. There the shown initiative is 100% that of the searching shepherd. So your point can still stand, but only in some necessary and co-existing tension with the other point.

We simply can’t ignore that we do have expectations placed on us as well, even if God is the only one who can ultimately initiate … and ultimately see it all to glorious fruition.



Yes- The parable of the lost sheep would be a good case in point.

I would only wish to add that the atonement in itself is a completed act and not something that we, ourselves, add anything to.

This is not to deny that, as you say:

We simply can’t ignore that we do have expectations placed on us as well, even if God is the only one who can ultimately initiate … and ultimately see it all to glorious fruition.<

That it is. We also shouldn’t forget the very significant movement on the prodigal’s part - he had to “hit bottom”, and be brought to repentance, and to begin his journey back too, which was not insignificant. <

This I would see as the work of the Holy Spirit who brings about the process of repentance. As you have already said ‘be brought to repentance’ So again, this on God’s initiative.

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If Jesus died on the Cross not as an independent “self,” but as an extension of YHWH, God the Father, then it is more accurate to say that YWYH died upon the Cross

Yes, interesting to re-read those. I think this, from the first post, is critical:

The eternal life of God as He is in Himself is incomprehensible to us and impossible to reproduce except by analogy. The life of the Three-in-One cannot be replicated by creatures. To use the intra-Trinitarian relations as a social model is neither biblical nor orthodox. God is not a collection of people, but we are. He is the Creator and we are His creatures. The incarnate Christ sets an example of godly living as God in human flesh; He does not give us an example of the eternal life of God. The inner life of the Triune God does not support hierarchy, patriarchy, or egalitarianism.

This point isn’t in tension with 1 Corinthians 11:3, unless God-to-Christ is read as meaning Father-to-Son. But beyond that, the Trinity isn’t something that can be redefined based on a prooftext. The same chapter has a sad history of being prooftexted to claim women’s inferiority (particularly verse 7). Pretty much every anti-Trinitarian position can find a prooftext or two that, on its face, seems to support them.

I think it probably helped that the author, Liam Goligher, was both a man and a complementarian. Other voices had been saying the same things before, but Goligher managed to break through and get people to take the issue seriously.

Also, I don’t think mainstream complementarians would have tried to see their teaching in the Trinity if not for their commendable desire to leave behind the historical subordination of women based on inequality. By saying women were equal with men, they both eliminated the loudest historical arguments for hierarchy and allowed the Trinity to seem more analogous. Since the equality of the members of the Trinity was agreed by (nearly) all, if one could show that this equality coexisted with eternal subordination, then the case was made that women’s subordination doesn’t need to contradict their equality.

The problem, though, is that unending one-way subordination does not appear to be compatible with equality. Whether for the Trinity or the sexes, to insist on the subordination seems to reduce the equality to empty words.

The whole dust-up was helpful for egalitarians too, since we also had often read our ideas about human relations back into the Trinity. Because the triune God isn’t three different people with different wills, the Trinity isn’t about mutual submission any more than it’s about eternal subordination.

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I wouldn’t judge you at all, Daniel. I would recognise that we are two people who agree on the interpretation of Eph 5:21ff, but differ in the details of how it might be applied. IRL, I’d likely suggest we go to the pub and kick it around over a pint. Sadly, a bit harder to do over the internet! :beers:

At the end of the day, however one chooses to apply Eph 5:21ff and similar passages, I would argue that there must be appropriate checks and balances within the marriage to protect against one-sided power dynamics. Without them, there is little to stand against the subjugation, coercion, and/or abuse (spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, sexual, etc.) of the wife. Because clearly it has and does happen under the guise of ‘biblical complementarianism’.

EDIT: I am not saying that all husbands would do this without those checks and balances, but sadly, without them some husbands do.


If your child is part of you than than child dying does not mean you die, especially not if you are eternal. If you look at something that exists as a nonphysical entity such as an ideology you will find parallels as in the death of the followers of the ideology does not mean the death of the ideology. The same if you think of a clan structure, its members act as the clan is one but if you kill one of them the clan does not die. If all of you is in God does not mean all of God is in you.

@Mervin_Bitikofer The german translation by Luther uses a better phrase
Und derselbe ist die Versöhnung für unsre Sünden. The word means to return to the position of the son in the relationship by putting yourself under the authority of the father or in general if people had a row the return to peace in the same context as in the two brothers burying their hatchet in submission to their father.

The misunderstanding of the atonement being an act to please God who kills us in revenge for having sinned is quite common as many of us perceive the announcement that “If you eat from that tree you will die” as an authoritarian statement as in “if you eat from that tree I will kill you” Whilst God only states that “if you reject to live in me but live under your own authority in your material body the logical consequence is that you will die with that body.” It is a bit like telling your child: “Do not fly that kite under the high voltage cable, as if the line touches it you will most certainly die”

In the prodigal son, who has changed his mind? The father or the son?
It looks like the translation of the text reflects the language of the translators
ἱλάσκεσθαι — 1 Occ.
ἱλάσθητί — 1 Occ.
with the other one in Luke 18:13 being translated as appealing for mercy, indicating that the wording expresses the realisation of wrongdoing by the wrongdoer - thus the submission to the authority of the father.

In the story the father stayed where he was and the son moved away, so it is clear who “returned”

The definition of the self is core to the philosophy laid out in the bible. the biggest misinterpretation lies in the way people understand the word of God which is as far away from the golden rule as one can be. in the modern time we define the self inside ourselves, reflected in the idolisation of the apple and the I, really a pinnacle of marketing strategy :slight_smile:
If you have “enlightened self-interest” you will have recognised the self in the all, e.g. outside of you. To love like Jesus has loved does not mean to give people what they want to make them happy to enjoy a smile and a hug of pleasure but to give them what they need and enjoy a hug of thankfulness for having fulfilled that need. A toy is a need for those who need distraction from suffering. If it is there to enhance someone’s pleasure you should ask yourself if this is really a gift of love


In the story the father stayed where he was and the son moved away, so it is clear who “returned”<

Parables can be many faceted. This aspect is clearly one of them.

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From whence do you get the term enlightened self-interest? Is it in Bible? No. Is it a theological term? Not that I know of.

In fact when people talk about The Enlightenment, they are talking about a time of secularization, which is not bad in itself, but is out of place when talking about Jesus. I would agree that self is not evil.

We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, not instead of ourselves. This is hopefully what you are trying to get at, but you haven’t said it and I cannot read your mind through the internet, unless you better explain yourself.

Let us go back to the basics. Jesus told us to Love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strengths, and to Love others as ourselves. Where does enlightened self interest fit into this framework? or is it extra?

Jesus died so that we might be saved. Right? But why then should humans be rewarded with salvation by the Father for murdering and torturing the Son? Why could the death of Jesus bring Him additional Joy? Jesus is God already.

@LM77, Liam, the checks and balances are found in the Trinity and in the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit of Love, which is why ESS is both wrong and dangerous. It undermines the Gospel of God as Love and opens the door to OT Legalism. The fact is, the Church is right about Subordinationism, not Grudem and Co.

Subordination is not compatible with equality.

On the other hand equality does not mean uniformity. As equality does not mean the absence of diversity, Paul taught on Cor 12 that equal members can play different roles in the Church (or family) and in fact we must if we and the Church is to thrive. Again this is all based on Love (1 Cor13.)

The story of the Prodigal Son is a beautiful story, but I would point out that the Father treats both of His sons as adult human beings, even though the younger was not. The Father gives the young man his inheritance, even though He is a not dead and He knew that it would be wasted. Why?

The younger son wanted to submit himself as a servant to the Father, but He stopped him and accepted him back as His son, as equal as before. Only now they were reconciled to each other, there was unity in love, not authority.

And do not forget the older son, who was very angry that the Father welcomed home his brother. Luke 15:29 (NIV2011)
29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.’"

The older son though that submission and obedience were enough, but God wants us to live in love so we can appreciate others even when they go astray. The fact that the Father was giving a banquet for his brother did not mean that the Father did not love him.

The Joy of the Father was based on the Salvation of the younger son. The Joy of Jesus was based on His love of humanity who was saved through the Cross.

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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.

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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.

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

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