How is God the "Head" of Christ (1 Cor 11:3)?

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Ed Vasicek's picture

This article is a development, essentially, of two thoughts, which, while complex, are not as complex as the article itself.

1. When the text speaks of Christ submitting to the Father in the end, it is highlighting His human nature.

2. The Persons of the Trinity work in perfect cooperation, but their modes of operation are different.  The Father is the source of the authority, the Son effects that authority, and the Spirit completes what the Father and Son authorized and effected.

Good thoughts.

"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture


The author made this remark:

A further important passage for the ESS position is found in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, which speaks of the Son delivering up the kingdom to the Father in the end, and being subject to him. Once again, it is important to bear in mind that this reveals Triune relations in terms of the Creator-creature framework. This passage refers, not to the eternal relation between Father and Son, but to the culminating moment in the great drama of redemption, the moment when the submission of the Son arrives at its perfect completion. The submission of the Son in these verses is not a reference to the eternal unbroken relation between Father and Son in the Godhead, but to the climax of the work of the incarnate Son, when his mission arrives at its final telos, the reality of his authoritative obedience has been utterly fulfilled, and the complete divine authority he has effected is exhaustively related back to the Father as its source.

I'm not sure I agree here. This passage speaks of Jesus after the final defeat of Satan, sin and death. It happens after Jesus returns. The incarnation is over; we're talking about the second advent now. This is Jesus as He really is - the lamb of God whose light will, quite literally, light the world to come. I'm not sure we can dismiss this passage as the climax of the incarnation. The incarnation is over.


Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

G. N. Barkman's picture

It appears to me (at first glance), that I Corinthians 15:2-28 is talking about the culmination of the work of redemption.  I'm not convinced that this could not also be viewed as the culmination of the incarnation, since incarnation was the necessary act to effect redemption.  However, in a real sense, the incarnation is never over.  Having taken the nature of man, the Son is now forever the God/man, and a glorified human body now sits upon the throne of the universe, and will forever more.  Or am I completely off base here?

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture


The normal explanation by those who oppose eternal functional subordination is that the incarnation was unique because Jesus was intentionally limiting Himself and veiling His glory. In the incarnation (i.e. the 30 or so years He walked the earth), there was a degree of subordination that was never true of Father and Son in eternity past. That subordination vanished after the resurrection and ascension, because the incarnation was over. That is how I understand their arguments, and I agree with them. I'm stating things pretty quickly here without all the thousands of caveats which are necessary in this kind of discussion, but there it is. I disagree with ESS, and think it is wrong.

Having said that, I don't think the author's explanation of 1 Cor 15 as the "climax of the incarnation" really explains away the seeming subordinationist implications. It is only the climax in the sense of = Jesus' perfect work in the incarnation finally achieved what it was intended to do. But, in this bit of 1 Cor 15, this is not the veiled and self-limited Jesus, stripped of all insignia of majesty. It is the risen Christ, who people will see as He really is. It is the conquering Christ, who has taken His seat on the throne of His kingdom.

Jesus is always incarnate in the sense that He eternally remains the God-Man since He left heaven in the incarnation. But, I don't get the idea that is what the author is arguing here.

I'm at work, with no handy books around me, so these are off the cuff answers. Still, it didn't sound right to me. This is probably why ESS folks like this passage! It's worth pondering.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.