Samson Covatch BI500 Assignment 3 Dr. Wesley Hill April 5, 2018
Is 1 Corinthians 15:28 similar to any other verses in asserting the subordination or submission of Jesus to God?
There are other verses that lead us to think, on the surface, that Jesus is subordinate to God in his being, but only if a few qualifications are met. If we think of God simply as God the Father, a unitarian model, and not, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a trinitarian model, the type of subordinationalism we default to would be ontological. We find this expressed in places such as 1 Cor 3:23; 11:3; and 8:5-6. Within a hierarchical structure we would be forced into adopting a dynamic monarchianism that would deny the unity, or a bi-theism that denies the exclusivity of monotheism.
Are there any indications that Jesus is also, in some way, “one” with God?
The interesting aspect is that you find the unity of Jesus with God in the same general areas within the same letter. We find this unity before the subordination concept in chapter eight, “With regard then to eating food sacrificed to idols, we know that ‘an idol in this world is nothing,’ and that ‘there is no God but one’” (1 Cor. 8:4 NET). Likewise we find the same pattern in chapter fifteen, “For he has put everything in subjection under his feet. But when it says ‘everything’ has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include the one who put everything in subjection to him” (1 Cor. 15:27 NET). These, among other passages, taken on their own could leads us into a type of modalism or patripassionism.
If the answers to the two questions above are “Yes,” how might one go about harmonizing or reconciling the two sets of texts?
One of the easiest ways of harmonizing these texts is by defaulting to trinitarian dogmas available to us in the Church creeds and councils, but such preconceived notions, even if correct, do not help with understanding the text and Pauline thought, only what others have thought of Pauline thought. I have found Dr. Wesley Hill’s book, Paul and the Trinity, to be of great value in grasping a better understanding of Paul’s argumentation of the plurality of personhood yet maintaining an ontological unity. By highlighting the “loosely chiastic structure of 1 Cor 15:24-28” you can see the parallels Paul is using in a literary form as clear as his use of Old Testament Scripture for Jesus as God. Using N.T. Wright’s summary of the fatherhood and sonship motif Hill goes on to say, “The titles ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ thus serve a dual, complementary purpose: to bind God and Christ together in a relationship of mutuality whereby each of their distinct identities is inextricable from the other’s, but also to distinguish them as irreducibly particular actors or agents on the eschatological stage.”