Monday, June 14, 2010

Is the Trinity a Paradigm for a wife's submission to her husband?

 Tim Challies makes an controversial observation.Strange though it may seem, submission is a good and beautiful and godly thing. The most perfect relationship in the world, the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, displays a perfect example of submission. The Son submits Himself to the Father. They are, to echo the Shorter Catechism, "the same in substance, equal in power and glory." Yet the Father demonstrates headship. We speak of Jesus' mission to the earth in two ways. We speak of Jesus being sent by the Father. And this is true. From eternity it was decided by the Father that man would have to be ransomed by a perfect substitute. The Father tasked the Son with this responsibility. But we also speak of the Son willingly giving up his life. This is equally true. The Son's perfect submission to the Father's will meant that a command of the Father was indistinguishable from a decision of the Son. Christ was perfectly willing to submit to His Father's will. This relationship within the Trinity provides us many clues as to the nature of the relationship between husband and wife.” (Challies.com, Headship in the Home, Part 2, Dec 1, 2009)


On the other hand, Dr. Graham Cole, in his recent book on the Holy Spirit, He Who Gives Life: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Foundations of Evangelical Theology) disagrees. He writes "I am not convinced that we can be much more specific and erect social models for marriage, church, and society based on speculative reconstructions of the inner life of the Trinity."

What do you think? Is the submission of the Son to the Father grounds for submission to the authority of an equal in this life? It has huge repercussions for marriage, church, and life in this fallen world.


4 comments:

  1. Don't you think there's a difference between "This relationship within the Trinity provides us many clues as to the nature of the relationship between husband and wife” and "erecting social models for marriage, church, and society based on speculative reconstructions of the inner life of the Trinity." I think I had suggested we can look to the Trinity to see that submission is built into perfect relationships. But that's not the same as saying that we ought to build marriages on that relationship...

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  2. Tim: Thanks for the comment. Enjoyed meeting you at T4G. Not sure what you are saying. Cole is concerned that some use the Trinity as a justification for complimentarian roles. He is egalitarian. I thought your comments represented the opposite point of view. Correct me where I misunderstand your position.

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  3. I don't know if we can say that marriages should be modeled on submission and headship because that is in the trinity, per se, but rather, I think it is safe to say that marriages should be modeled on submission and headship because God commands it and designed it [it being complimentarian roles]. And I think His command and design is in order to display and help us understand the beauty of His inter-Trinitarian relationship.

    In other words, complimentarian roles are not some contrived deduction from our understanding of the Trinity but God's command and design to help us better understand the Trinity.

    Bill, I like the way you said it too: "submission to the authority of an equal in this life." That's helpful. Thanks!

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  4. Hi Uncle Bill, just found your blog.

    It seems to me that the image of God is presented to us as male and female, with them each individually made in the image of the God, and the family is also presented in the image of God. God is one and God is family. We are individual and we are families. Jesus comes to restore the image of God in us, including restoring the image of God in our families. To be restored to any image but a Trinitarian image is idolatry.

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