Readers Question / Comment - If Jesus submits to the Father, is He less than God?

Hello!
 
So I've contacted you in the past about matters relating to what other people believe and their reliability. You've answered them adequately, if you're wondering. But now I'm contacting you over a personal dilemma relating to the nature of the Trinity.

Before I get to the actual question, I think it would help if I told you a bit about where I'm coming from a.k.a my thought processes.

I was always taught that God is one "Being", or one "Entity". This is biblically supported (James 2:19 is one example). God is also 3 distinct "persons" (Jesus's baptism is one scene, the Great Commission is another). Intuitively, I've felt that the three persons are equal with each other.
 
I've logically explained it this way:
 
1 always equals 1. 1 never equals 2, nor does 1 ever equal 0. From this, we can get
 
Premise 1: Something is always equal to itself.
Conclusion: Therefore, something is never unequal to itself.
 
John 10:30 describes Jesus as being "one" with the Father--or, being the same "essence". Several other passages state that Jesus is not the Father (John 14:6, for example). The Spirit is sent by Jesus (John 14:26), which will teach His teachings. Again, a different person, but the same teachings. Jesus's teachings were the Father's teachings. One "essence" is seen again, although manifested differently.
 
So therefore,
 
Premise 2: All three persons of the trinity have the same essence.
 
The Lord is stated to be one God. James says that. So

Premise 3: There is one God.
Conclusion (2, 3): The one Essence is God.
Conclusion (1, 3): God is equal to Himself.
Conclusion 2 (2, 3): All three persons of the trinity are essentially God.
Final conclusion: All three persons of the trinity are equal with each other.
 
Just today, I saw a debate between a Muslim and a Christian, debating whether Tawhid or the Trinity is true. The Muslim brought up 1 Corinthians 15:28 to explain that if Jesus is subject to the Father's judgement, then Jesus can't be equal with the Father, and therefore not part of the trinity. This brought to my attention that within the trinity, equality isn't true. This conflicts with premise 1. So either:
 
1, my logic is flawed
or 2, the Bible is flawed.

This brings us to my question (finally). What's your opinion on Trinitarian equality in light of 1 Corinthians 15:28, and/or what is the Biblically accurate view of the trinity?
 
You seem to look at the Bible as literally as possible, which I do as well. That's why I'd value your input.
 
Also, I enjoy a good intellectual argument, so this might turn into a debate. Just a friendly heads-up.
 
Thank you.

Connor


JPN Reply:

Hi Connor,

thanks for the email. I've written a little bit about the trinity on the website Q&A. Specifically:

http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/questions/trinity.htm

 (this is very short but has some useful links)

http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/questions/jesushaveagod.htm

 (this might be more useful to your points below - especially on 1 Cor 15)

This might be the most useful part for what you wrote:

In terms of the verses cited where Jesus calls the Father 'my God' etc, or 1 Cor. 15:24-28 where Jesus submits himself unto the Father, I haven't ever had a problem with that. We saw from Psalm45 and Heb 1 that the Father calls Jesus God just as Jesus calls the Father God. But concerning this submission spoken of in 1 Cor 15:24-28, there has always been is a willing submission within the trinity. The Son comes to do only the will of the Father. The Holy Spirit comes not to draw attention to Himself but to glorify the Son. None of that means that they are any less 'God' than the other. It is simply different roles that they have. An earthly example is husbands and wives. The Bible says:

Eph 5:22-25 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. (24) But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. (25) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her'

Each has a role to play and each is different but man is not 'greater' than a woman or vice-versa. Neither is one 'more human' than the other. So it is with the trinity. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all said to be three members of the one God. There is a willing submission within the trinity and different roles that they play. But each are equal in terms of their nature as God.



Hope this makes some sense.


All the best

Readers Reply:

Hi, thanks for the response.

That does make sense, but I still have a problem with that analogy.

It implies God is a species made up of the trinity, exactly how humanity is made up of male and female. Different roles within the same species.

The problem is this: If God is a word that relates to a species, then God is a something, not a someone; like how humanity is made up of someone's, but humanity itself is a something.

But, the Bible never refers to God as a something, only a someone. The word God itself relates to an intelligent being, not a species made up of intelligent beings.

What do you think about this?
JPN Reply:

Hi,

yeah, it's just an analogy. No human illustration is ever going to be perfect in trying to describe God. All I was trying to say is that there is a willing submission within the trinity. This doesn't mean that one is greater than the other. It just shows that God is not like us! The Muslim man that you read is just thinking like a man thinks. Not like God thinks. Man thinks that if someone serves another or submits to another, then he is less than the other. Jesus actually taught the opposite for God's very nature is to serve.

Matthew 20:25-28 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. (26) Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, (27) and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- (28) just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Mark 9:35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."

So no... the fact that Jesus willingly submits to the Father doesn't in anyway teach that He is less than the Father. It just shows that He is God and God's nature is not like ours!