I received a rather curios comment as a response to my article "The Eternal Subordination of.... Who?" and it inspired me to write more on the subject of the subordination of the Son. One sentence especially caught my attention:
Because it pleases the Father to give all things to the Son for a time, and then the Son will hand all things over to the Father. Not sure why you're having such a hard time understanding these passages. And this IS an eternal reality -- "the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him".
Because it pleases the Father to give all things to the Son for a time.
The time that is spoken of is the one we're living in, the era between the cross and the renewal of all things, and in this era the Son reigns supreme with the blessing of the Father.
Why is this important? It is important, because if the Son reigns supreme and the Father is the head of the Son, also the woman should reign supreme since the man is the head of the woman. This is especially true since the subordination of the Son is a future event, as explained by the author of the comment:
... and then the Son will hand all things over to the Father. ... . And this IS an eternal reality -- "the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him".
If we should look for a perfect parallel, what does the woman hand over in order to become eternally subordinated to the man? Is it this world or perhaps the church? If so, the woman should rule in all political and ecclesiastical realms in order to have something to give to the man, and it is here that things become both completely jumbled and perfectly crystal clear.
In Ephesians 5 the man is compared to Christ and the woman to the church, and this is said to mean that the man should rule over the woman the way Christ rules over the church. But consider, who does the actual ruling and teaching? Since Christ is seated on the right hand side of the Father, all teaching is done by the church, and since the church is the body of Christ, just as the woman is the body of the man who is the head, all of our teachers should be... women.
In other words, whether we compare the man to the Father and the woman to the Son, or the man to Christ and the woman to the church, in both cases it is the woman who should occupy the middle space and do all the teaching and ruling, for the Father gave all things to the Son and the Son gave all things to the church.
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." NIV
In addition, if the Son's subordination is a future event, so is also the woman's subordination to the man. But why does the Son need to be subordinated to the Father in the future? And if the Son's subordination is a future event, why all this talk about how the Father sends and the Son obeys? If the Son has always been subordinated to the Father, why is he not subordinated at the present time?
Let's see what the early church had to say about it.
The belief that the Son is under the Father’s authority because the Son was sent by the Father was already taught in the fourth century and refuted soundly by Ambrose.
Who is it Who says: The Lord God hath sent Me and His Spirit, except He Who came from the Father that He might save sinners? And, as you hear, the Spirit sent Him, lest when you hear that the Son sends the Spirit, you should believe the Spirit to be of inferior power. So both the Father and the Spirit sent the Son; the Father sent Him, for it is written: “But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name.” The Son sent Him, for He said: “But when the Paraclete is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth.” If, then, the Son and the Spirit send each other, as the Father sends, there is no inferiority of subjection, but a community of power.
Three Books on the Holy Spirit, Book III, Ch. I, 7-8.
It is important to note that the Son did not need to learn obedience for himself, for he always does what is pleasing to the Father. Instead, his willing obedience was an example for us to follow as explained by Gregory of Nazianzen.
For in His character of the Word He was neither obedient nor disobedient. For such expressions belong to servants, and inferiors, and the one applies to the better sort of them, while the other belongs to those who deserve punishment. But, in the character of the Form of a Servant, He condescends to His fellow servants, nay, to His servants, and takes upon Him a strange form, bearing all me and mine in Himself, that in Himself He may exhaust the bad, as fire does wax, or as the sun does the mists of earth; and that I may partake of His nature by the blending. Thus He honours obedience by His action, and proves it experimentally by His Passion. For to possess the disposition is not enough, just as it would not be enough for us, unless we also proved it by our acts; for action is the proof of disposition.
Oration XXX. The Fourth Theological Oration, Orations, V-VI,
Ambrose stated the following in his work Exposition of the Christian Faith:
If the one name and right of God belong to both the Father and the Son, since the Son of God is also true God, and a King eternal, the Son of God is not made subject in His Godhead.”
Ambrose further emphasized that the subjection of the Son is a future event.
We see, then, that the Scripture states that He is not yet made subject, but that this is to come: Therefore now the Son is not made subject to God the Father. In what, then, do ye say that the Son will be made subject? If in His Godhead, He is not disobedient, for He is not at variance with the Father; nor is He made subject, for He is not a servant, but the only Son of His own proper Father. Lastly, when He created heaven, and formed the earth, He exercised both power and love. There is therefore no subjection as that of a servant in the Godhead of Christ. But if there is no subjection then the will is free.
Three Books on the Holy Spirit, Book V, XIII-XIV.
If the subjection of the Son is a future event, and the Son isn't subject to the Father in the Godhead, what does this subjection signify?
If the Son pleases the Father in all things, why should He be made subject, who was not made subject before?”
Exposition of the Christian Faith, Book V, XXVI.
And Basil answered,
If the Son is subjected to the Father in the Godhead, then He must have been subjected from the beginning, from whence He was God. But if He was not subjected, but shall be subjected, it is in the manhood, as for us, not in the Godhead, as for Himself.
On John V. 19. The Son Can Do Nothing of Himself
Thus we find that the Son will be subjected in his assumed humanity, just as he learned obedience through his incarnation, and the reason for this subjection is the reconciliation of all things to God, so that God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - will be all in all and the Son will no longer reign supreme.
1 Cor 15:27-28
For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.