22.10.09

Equality, mutuality etc

I want to collect some references to the mutuality and equality in the trinity.

Here is a book worth reading:

Vincent Taylor The Person of Christ in New Testament Teaching (London: Macmillan 1958, p.105)

It is not a servant and master relationship, or that of an inferior and a superior, but that of two in perfect unity in an eternal fellowship of love. It is a state of being in which direction is the function of the one and the obedience is that of the other in a relationship of love which robs direction of superiority and obedience of inferiority.'

7 comments:

David Ould said...

fascinating. 2 flaws immediately stand out.

1. He equates obedience with inferiority.

2. He asserts a mutual "obedience". Where is the Father ever obedient to the Son in the way that the Son is consistently obedient to the Father?

Rachel Marszalek said...

I don't see either of the above in Vincent's explanation. You're reading into it things which are not there.

David Ould said...

I'm sorry Rachel, you are entirely right.

I had misread him in haste - he actually makes a distinction between Father and Son. He makes a clear complementarian argument:
It is a state of being in which direction is the function of the one (ie the Father) and the obedience is that of the other (ie the Son)

That's a classic subordination position. The Father directs, the Son obeys.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Yes but unfortunately the word subordination fails to capture the mutuality of the trinitarian relationship.

Language is not a sufficient enough vehicle for expressing the beauty of the perichoresis. Subordinate will just not do. Neither will the word complementarian suffice because it is polluted with so many overtones.

The Father directs the Son obeys.
The Son chooses to fulfil the will of the Father.
Just these two expressions alone convey the difference in tone which our choice of words creates!

e.g. If I choose to fulfil the will of my husband, it is not because I am subordinate to him. When he chooses to fulfil my will, he is not subordinate to me.

In eternity, Jesus is not subordinate to the Father and neither is the Spirit subordinate to the two.

Humanity struggles so much to understand relationship without hierarchy and yet this is the heart of the gospel.

David Ould said...

i understand that "subordinate" has been laden with unhelpful meaning - but it has to be said this is carried into the theological usage by those who reject the concept in totality, not those who are endorsing it.

i would affirm, with Taylor, that the subordinate nature of the Son with respect to the Father is that the Son obeys in love, whereas the Father directs in love.

To be subordinate is not the same as being inferior. Taylor guards against this, as does every single complementarian I have ever met.

If you do not like the word then what word will you use to describe the asymmetric relationship between the Father and the Son?

If you do not think that the relationship is asymmetric then can you provide one single example of the Son directing the Father and the Father obeying in love?

Rachel Marszalek said...

The asymmetry I accept. And if we couch the word subordination in these terms “It is godlike to gladly subordinate oneself for the good of another”, it loses its overtones.

The problem I have with modern theologians is their championing of the perichoretic relations within the Godhead so that the obedience of the Son to the Father becomes a model not for humanity's subordination to oneanother ie I subordinate myself for the good of another, whomsoever that other might be, but as a model for female subordination to male which results in role prescription and a legalistic, extra-biblical code of appropriate conduct for men and women.

Rachel Marszalek said...

but then David, what I see as extra-biblical you might not and so really again we are engaging in hermeneutics which will inevitably set the headship model against the mutuality model, so we are back into old territory and perhaps should be at peace instead of trying to persaude each other to the other's view regarding gender.
God bless
Rachel

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