What did the ECF think of "Eternal subordination of the Son"?

eternomade

Active member
Do you agree or disagree with Gregory of Nazianzus? Do you have any other quotes from ECF about this subject?

"For he did not honor the Father, by dishonoring His Offspring with his unequal degrees of Godhead. But we recognize one glory of the Father, the equality of the Only-begotten; and one glory of the Son and the Spirit. And we hold that to subordinate any of the three is to destroy the whole."

- Gregory of Nazianzus in 'The Panegyric on St. Basil' speaking against the teachings of Arius.
 

Dizerner

Well-known member
Subordination has nothing to do with inherent value or attributes, it's a hierarchy of authority. People don't have less of the attributes of humanity if they are subordinate.

I believe the Spirit and Son are voluntarily eternally subordinate from their emanation. We know the Son was subordinate at some time and it didn't "destroy the whole."
 

Stephen

Active member
Do you agree or disagree with Gregory of Nazianzus? Do you have any other quotes from ECF about this subject?

"For he did not honor the Father, by dishonoring His Offspring with his unequal degrees of Godhead. But we recognize one glory of the Father, the equality of the Only-begotten; and one glory of the Son and the Spirit. And we hold that to subordinate any of the three is to destroy the whole."

- Gregory of Nazianzus in 'The Panegyric on St. Basil' speaking against the teachings of Arius.

Who is the "he" in "For he did not honor. . . ."? Does "he" mean Arius or somebody else?
 

Stephen

Active member
Do you agree or disagree with Gregory of Nazianzus? Do you have any other quotes from ECF about this subject?

"For he did not honor the Father, by dishonoring His Offspring with his unequal degrees of Godhead. But we recognize one glory of the Father, the equality of the Only-begotten; and one glory of the Son and the Spirit. And we hold that to subordinate any of the three is to destroy the whole."

- Gregory of Nazianzus in 'The Panegyric on St. Basil' speaking against the teachings of Arius.

Contextually, Gregory of Nazianzus is one of the Cappadocian_Fathers who formulated the doctrine of the trinity in the late 4th century and as is commonly understood today. If a trinitarian thinks he is wrong, then who would a trinitarian think to be right?

From a non-trinitarian perspective, Gregory claims that Arius dishonored the son by not conferring equal degrees of "godhead" (whatever that is) between the father and the son. Christ's father (i.e. God) never made that a requisite way to measure how much or little he is honored. As such, Gregory is out on his own here. Paul had a completely different viewpoint:

1 Cor 15
27 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. 28 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.

Note that in context, Christ will be subject to his father even after the resurrection of the saints and death has been defeated.
 
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eternomade

Active member
Contextually, Gregory of Nazianzus is one of the Cappadocian_Fathers who formulated the doctrine of the trinity in the late 4th century and is commonly understood today. If a trinitarian thinks he is wrong, then who would a trinitarian think to be right?
I agree, which is why I made this post. "Triniatarians" who are not "orthodox" or not really Trinitarian, right?

From a non-trinitarian perspective, Gregory claims that Arius dishonored the son by not conferring equal degrees of "godhead" (whatever that is) between the father and the son. Christ's father (i.e. God) never made that a requisite way to measure how much or little he is honored. As such, Gregory is out on his own here. Paul had a completely different viewpoint:

1 Cor 1527 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. 28 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.
Note that in context, Christ will be subject to his father even after the resurrection of the saints and death has been defeated.

Thank you. I am not familiar with Christadelphian beliefs but I am assuming it is similar to Arius in regard to Jesus deity?
 

Stephen

Active member
Thank you. I am not familiar with Christadelphian beliefs but I am assuming it is similar to Arius in regard to Jesus deity?

I won't make a statement about the teaching of Arius, but we hold that Jesus is the unique human son of God and God is his father.
 

civic

Well-known member
And why cannot a so-called "economic" subordination be eternal? I see no reason.
Agreed there are different roles and functions within the Godhead. Those functions have noting to do with nature but roles. Just as my wife has the same human nature as I have with all the attribute's that make us human but we have different roles/functions in our marriage and family.
 

eternomade

Active member
Agreed there are different roles and functions within the Godhead. Those functions have noting to do with nature but roles. Just as my wife has the same human nature as I have with all the attribute's that make us human but we have different roles/functions in our marriage and family.
This OP is regarding nature.

Here is an excerpt from wikipedia:

"Subordinationism is a belief that began within early Christianity that asserts that the Son and the Holy Spirit are subordinate to God the Father in nature and being."
 

Dizerner

Well-known member
The context is ontological not economical. This is why I used the word eternal(ontological) in the title.

There is not eternal subordination within God's Being.

It seems then you are using this in the sense of "ontological dependence." That is far clearer terminology than "eternal subordination" for this idea, as both subordination and eternal have different meanings in most of theology. A "nature" is unrelated to "subordinate" in the sense Scripture uses it, as it is a relational and not ontological term. But one can use the word more idiomatically to use a kind of dependence. Unintentional equivalence is a difficult thing to avoid in theology.

It might seem to be a violation of an attribute of God to depend on anything, even something equally divine. The way I would phrase it is the origin or existence of the Son and Spirit are dependent on the Father, but not their fundamental existence. This is admittedly to my natural mind a seeming paradox as many things about the Trinity are. Perhaps we could bring illustrate that differentation by stating they are dependent on the Father's will and not the Father's nature.
 

cjab

Active member
The way I would phrase it is the origin or existence of the Son and Spirit are dependent on the Father, but not their fundamental existence. This is admittedly to my natural mind a seeming paradox as many things about the Trinity are. Perhaps we could bring illustrate that differentation by stating they are dependent on the Father's will and not the Father's nature.
I wouldn't phrase it like that. I would say that the divinity of the Son and Spirit are relable to and proved by their being one with the Father, and consequently owing accountability to the Father, and further in the case of the Son, by sitting on the throne of the Father, and in the case of the Spirit, by being also accountable to the Son.

Note that being "one with the Father" (per Jesus at John 10:30) doesn't infer Monarchianism but does infer the idea of the concept of divinity as possessing but one hypostasis (Heb 1:3) derived from the Father, and not three, as in Trinitarianism.
 

e v e

Super Member
Do you agree or disagree with Gregory of Nazianzus? Do you have any other quotes from ECF about this subject?

"For he did not honor the Father, by dishonoring His Offspring with his unequal degrees of Godhead. But we recognize one glory of the Father, the equality of the Only-begotten; and one glory of the Son and the Spirit. And we hold that to subordinate any of the three is to destroy the whole."

- Gregory of Nazianzus in 'The Panegyric on St. Basil' speaking against the teachings of Arius.
it's mumbo jumbo.

the whole idea of subordinate substance is ARISTOTLE.
 

e v e

Super Member
I wouldn't phrase it like that. I would say that the divinity of the Son and Spirit are relable to and proved by their being one with the Father, and consequently owing accountability to the Father, and further in the case of the Son, by sitting on the throne of the Father, and in the case of the Spirit, by being also accountable to the Son.

Note that being "one with the Father" (per Jesus at John 10:30) doesn't infer Monarchianism but does infer the idea of the concept of divinity as possessing but one hypostasis (Heb 1:3) derived from the Father, and not three, as in Trinitarianism.
you may as well follow the pagan platonist Plotinus with this term hypostasis.

It is Greek. Pagan. Nonsense.
 

e v e

Super Member
The greek mindset, which was the typical classical education in those days..
marauded and took over the early church, overlaying their pagan system onto christianity...

Most ECFs and theologians coming after were Platonists - wolves in sheeps' clothing.

Theology was esaus reply to christ... replace Christ with theological gibberish.

Aquinas - snake.
Augustine - snake.
 

cjab

Active member
you may as well follow the pagan platonist Plotinus with this term hypostasis.

It is Greek. Pagan. Nonsense.
Actually the hypostasis (of God - singular) occurs in Heb 1:3. It is the concept of consubstantiality and multiple hypostases of God that is pagan.
 

e v e

Super Member
Plotinus WAS Augustine's SOURCE of truth. A platonist.

Plotinus lays out three hypostases, or underlying principles, of reality; his greek version was glued to Christianity by augustine as if that was a 'match' . It's not. Augustine follows the greek system of substance and applies it to God in his book On the Trinity.

It's a mess.
 
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