Bible hub has several translations of 1 Corinthians 15:27. NKJV reads

For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted

To me, as a non trinitarian, this scripture seems to support the idea that Jesus as a unique spirit creation of Jehovah occupies a lesser position than the Almighty Jehovah but is at the same time in a superior position to every other being in heaven and on earth.

I’m sure the Christians who believe Jesus is co-equal with the Father have an explanation of this verse too.

How do trinitarians interpret and explain it?

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    @RussellMcMahon Jesus is a spirit yes? Jesus was brought into existence by the father yes? After Jesus is brought into existence everything created was done through Jesus. Therefore Jesus is a unique spirit creature because he alone was brought into existence solely by the hand of Jehovah. I don’t expect a trinitarian to agree to all of that but it is logical from a non trinitarian POV which is what I am expressing.
    – Kris
    Jan 23 '20 at 22:44
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    You appear to have misunderstood me. I am not asking ask for your opinions (which are based on you opinions, which are ...). I am asking for sources that you consider authoratative. If your only authoratative sources are your own opinions please say so clearly so I/we can understand your position & question accordingly. || Note: I have not indicated my "position" as it is irrelevant to my sought clarification. Your statement on the subject should be meaningful without regard to "position". If understanding is sought then position-dependant statements are "preaching to the choir". Jan 24 '20 at 0:14
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    re " Jesus is a spirit yes? " -> No. Not if that is intended to be necessary and sufficient. Can you answer "no" to all of these? " "Jesus is/was" a man, yes?" , "Jesus is God, yes?", "Jesus was born as a human child, yes?", .... . A simplistic and incomplete statement serves onl;y to obscure. || PLEASE cite your authoratative sources. If you have none, take a hard look at your beliefs. Jan 24 '20 at 0:21
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    @RussellMcMahon My authoritative source for the purpose of this question is Arius fourthcentury.com/arius-thalia-intro
    – Kris
    Jan 24 '20 at 1:38
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    OK. That's clear enough. You cite a person whose opinions were "disliked" by the 1st council of Constantinople in 325 AD. That doesn't make you wrong (or right), but, if such a position is foundational to your understanding of the answers then ALL scripture references must necessarily support you position. Equally, ALL scripture references support the other point of view for 'the other team'. -> SO the answer to your question is "Of course not. To an awowed trinitarian all scripture supports their positionj, so no scripture is problematic". Yes? :-) :-( Jan 24 '20 at 1:58

The Queen of England is greater than me in that she is my Queen and I am her loyal subject.. but we are equal in that we are both human.

My father is greater than me in that he is my father, but we are equal in nature, in that we are both human.

The Son of God is, and always has been from eternity, subordinate to the Father in his role as the Son. This subordination is not because of any difference in nature, each one has the divine nature and is therefore God. The three members of the Godhead are equal in nature, but have different roles.

So Jesus called God his Father "making himself equal with God" (John 5:18) - that is Jesus is equal with God the Father in that they share the same nature. But "my Father is greater than I" - that is in the Father's role as the Father.

In this understanding Christ was always, is always, and always will be subject to the will of his Father, obeying Him as His Father. This obedience springs out his perfect love for his Father. His obedience is no contradiction of his Divine Nature: Jesus always was, is, and always will be God the Son.

  • Thanks this is very well written
    – Kris
    Jan 23 '20 at 3:31
  • +1. I prefer your last paragraph to the word 'role' in the third. The last paragraph expresses relationship, eternally.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 23 '20 at 16:36
  • Nicely done. I've heard a variety of explanations of the Trinity during RCIA classes as questions came up from seekers; I'll need to keep this one in my back pocket. +1. Jan 30 '20 at 13:41

No problem for Trinitarians at all.

The context of 1 Corinthians 15:27 is actually a big problem for Unitarians.

1 Corinthians 15:27-28 [27]For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. [28]And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. • subjects "all things" to Christ.

Christ was not always subject to God according to verse 28.

When will the Son subject himself to God in 1 Cor 15:28?

When "all things" (all creatures except God) will be subjected to the Son, then, the Son will subject himself to God. This shows that God and Christ are equal because they are not part of "all things" which are subjected to them.

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    Can you please answer that question in the last line of your post? Or is it rhetorical and up to the reader? Jan 22 '20 at 18:34
  • @Matt, you're right. I intended the last question a rhetorical because i want to emphasise that "there was a time when Jesus was not subject to the Father" :)
    – Radz Brown
    Jan 22 '20 at 18:41
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    @Nigel, I answered my rhetorical question already. Thank you
    – Radz Brown
    Jan 22 '20 at 18:48
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    @Kris, I think Radz's point is that vs. 8 implies that (at least for a little while) the Son and the Father were not always on unequal footing, presumably prior to when "all things shall be subdued unto him". Jan 22 '20 at 19:12
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    @RadzC.Brown ok I agree I have taken this conversation off topic. I’ll put a question together about the use of the word All in scripture. Thanks again for the answer!
    – Kris
    Jan 23 '20 at 16:16

I don't see a problem.

Father and Son are uncreated and eternal. God is Spirit, as Jesus said.(1)

Father and Son abide in a perfection of divine union, in one Holy Spirit.(2)

This is an eternal begetting, Father and Son, in one Holy Spirit. (2)

All that is created is put under the feet of him who is manifested. (3)

He who is manifested is manifested in humanity. (5)(6)

And that humanity is exalted to the throne of God. (3)

All things are put under his feet. (4)

Except, of course, him who put all things under him. (4)

Why would anyone have a 'problem' with this ?

I have absolutely no idea what a 'unique spirit creation' is.

παντα γαρ υπεταξεν υπο τους ποδας αυτου οταν δε ειπη οτι παντα υποτετακται δηλον οτι εκτος του υποταξαντος αυτω τα παντα [I Corinthians 15:27 TR]

For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. [I Corinthians 15: 27 KJV]

(1) John 4:24 God is a Spirit [KJV] [A]

(2) I John 1:2 ... the life the eternal which was with the Father [EGNT] [B]

(3) Psalm 45:6, Hebrews 1:8 Thy throne, O God is for ever and ever

(4) I Corinthians 15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet [KJV]

(5) I John 1:1 Our hands have handled - of the Word of Life [KJV]

(6) John 3:18 ... the name of the only begotten Son of God [KJV]

[A] King James Authorised Version

[B] The Englishman's Greek New Testament (Interlinear Translation)

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    I'm not following. Could you possibly restructure you response to read like a clear argument, and possibly add some citation? Jan 22 '20 at 17:55
  • A unique spirit creature is the one and only spirit creature created by Jehovah alone. All other spirit creatures were part of the creative works accomplished through Jesus.
    – Kris
    Jan 23 '20 at 0:40
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    @Kris Those words never occur in scripture.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 23 '20 at 5:45
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    @Kris Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. A father does not create a son. A Father begets a Son. It is a matter of Life begetting Life. It is not a matter of God creating a creature.He that believeth on the name of the only begotten Son is not condemned. Otherwise, he is condemned for not so believing. John 3:18.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 23 '20 at 18:28
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    @Kris For centuries, we have made it clear that we speak of an eternal begetting. The eternal Father begets the eternal Son not by a physical human one-time act, but by an eternal begetting in one Holy Spirit. Life begets life. Father begets Son.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 24 '20 at 8:19

The Apostle Paul explains it quite nicely at Philippians 2:3-8. Vs3, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of your regard one another as more important than himself; vs4, do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interest of others." This is not hard to understand because true love puts others first.

Vs5, Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus." So what kind of an attitude and love did Jesus have? Vs6, who, although (although means in spite of the fact) He/Jesus existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped."

vs7, but emptied Himself, (how?) by taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. vs8, And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Not a stake).

So the one person of Jesus Christ took upon Himself the essential attributes (morphe) of a servant/man. Instead of clinging to what was rightfully His before He became a man He forewent the prerogatives of His deity. That's what it means when it says, "He emptied Himself." John 17:5 states,

And now glorify Thou Me TOGETHER with Thyself, Father, with the glory I HAD WITH THEE BEFORE THE WORLD WAS."

Or to put this another way. Jesus the Son of God voluntarily submitted Himself to His Father. The Son was inferior to His Father in position only, but equal in nature. The President is superior in position because he is the President. He is not better than you in nature because he has the same human nature as we do.

Now, I'm somewhat disturbed about your comment, "Jesus as a unique spirit creation of Jehovah." You and your organization are "assuming" Jesus is a spirit creation of Jehovah. I just gave you evidence that Jesus existed as God all along from John 17:5 and here at Philippians 2:6.

The following is what Greek Scholar A.T.Robertson says. What do your Greek Scholars have to say to refute Mr.Robertson?

Verse 6

Being (υπαρχων — huparchōn). Rather, “existing,” present active participle of υπαρχω — huparchō In the form of God (εν μορπηι τεου — en morphēi theou). Μορπη — Morphē means the essential attributes as shown in the form. In his preincarnate state Christ possessed the attributes of God and so appeared to those in heaven who saw him. Here is a clear statement by Paul of the deity of Christ. A prize (αρπαγμον — harpagmon). Predicate accusative with ηγησατο — hēgēsato Originally words in μος — ̇mos signified the act, not the result (μα — ̇ma). The few examples of αρπαγμος — harpagmos (Plutarch, etc.) allow it to be understood as equivalent to αρπαγμα — harpagma like βαπτισμος — baptismos and βαπτισμα — baptisma That is to say Paul means a prize to be held on to rather than something to be won (“robbery”). To be on an equality with God (το ειναι ισα τεοι — to einai isa theoi). Accusative articular infinitive object of ηγησατο — hēgēsato “the being equal with God” (associative instrumental case τεωι — theōi after ισα — isa). Ισα — Isa is adverbial use of neuter plural with ειναι — einai as in Revelation 21:16. Emptied himself (εαυτον εκενωσε — heauton ekenōse). First aorist active indicative of κενοω — kenoō old verb from κενος — kenos empty. Of what did Christ empty himself? Not of his divine nature. That was impossible. He continued to be the Son of God. There has arisen a great controversy on this word, a Κενοσις — Kenosis doctrine. Undoubtedly Christ gave up his environment of glory. He took upon himself limitations of place (space) and of knowledge and of power, though still on earth retaining more of these than any mere man. It is here that men should show restraint and modesty, though it is hard to believe that Jesus limited himself by error of knowledge and certainly not by error of conduct. He was without sin, though tempted as we are. “He stripped himself of the insignia of majesty” (Lightfoot).

  • I disagree 'from one form to another'. Divine nature and human nature are both his, without confusion. They unite in His person. They do not merge. Nor does he change from one form to another form. This is a union of human nature with Divine nature.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 24 '20 at 8:22
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    I corrected my post. It's also interesting to note that at Mark 16:12 the one person of Jesus appeared in a "different/another form. The Greek word there is "hetera" and not "morphe" as at Philippians 2:6-7. Good catch Nigel.
    – Mr. Bond
    Jan 24 '20 at 14:28
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    Appreciated. I would still avoid 'became a man'. 'Come in flesh' yes. 'Manifest in flesh' yes. One has to be so very careful on this subject.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 24 '20 at 14:46

Your question gets at what is presently a hotly debated issue among Trinitarians, Etneral Functional Subordination. Many opponents of EFS argue that the conclusion you draw here is the logical implication of EFS. Dr. Glenn Buttner recently recently published this paper arguing against EFS, and he includes a section that deals directly with 1 Corinthians 15, and I think it gives a solid response to the objection you raise as well:

There is therefore exegetical warrant to interpret the passage as not referring to the eternal functional subordination of the Son. Based on the context of verses [1 Corinthians 15:] 20–23 the pericope appears to be speaking of Jesus in his humanity, and the OT passages cited in the passage refer to Christ’s role as human mediator. There is nothing in the text to strongly suggest otherwise.[87] If the passage speaks of Christ in his humanity, then it does not speak of the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son because Jesus assumed humanity in time. The work in view here is Jesus’ work qua human being obedient to the Father and does not clearly seem to reveal anything about the relationship between Father and Son in the immanent Trinity apart from this human nature and mediatorial role. Finally, the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15 offered here is not a novel invention of the author but does have its advocates among biblical exegetes.[88] Therefore I must conclude that the only passage that explicitly speaks of the Son submitting to the Father before or after his first-century incarnate life speaks of Jesus in his humanity and does nothing to illuminate the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son qua divinity. Since none of the other passages offered by the advocates of EFS uses the term submission but these passages rather speak of “sending” or “predestination” or “giving,” and since these terms can be interpreted in terms of the economy of salvation as grounded in the Father’s eternal generation of the Son rather than in terms of eternal submission. [pp. 145-146 of linked paper]

[87] Several interpreters have suggested that the use of “the Son,” a unique usage in the NT, indicates that the passage is speaking of the divine hypostasis. See, e.g., David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians (BECNT; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003) 713. However, I believe the word could just as easily allude to the Davidic promise in 2 Samuel 7 where the king will be “a son” to the Father.

[88] Joseph A. Fitzmyer suggests that the final subjection of the Son will be “because Christ’s regnal and salvific role will be at an end” (First Corinthians [Anchor Yale Bible; New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008] 574). See also Alan F. Johnson, 1 Corinthians (IVPNTC; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004) 294; George T. Montague, First Corinthians (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011) 274.

Emphasis mine. This section begins at the first full paragraph or page 144, I've offered only the most relevant section in the answer here for brevity.

Note: I recognize that this particular response isn't really available to Trinitarians who affirm EFS. I'd like to see what they have to say in response. For further reading from an EFS perspective, Buttner gives these citations for Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware on 1 Corinthians 15:

Bruce A. Ware, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005). 83-84

Wayne Grudem, “Biblical Evidence for the Eternal Submission of the Son to the Father,” in The New Evangelical Subordinationism? 251 (21 in link)

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    In Themelios May 2011 issue, the article Trinitarian Agency and the Eternal Subordination of the Son: An Augustinian Perspective concluded "There is no evidence that Augustine believed that the hypostatic distinction between the Father and the Son is constituted by eternal “authority” (on the part of the Father) and eternal “submission” (on the part of the Son). To the contrary, this element of EFS is incompatible with his account of trinitarian agency." Jan 22 '20 at 17:34
  • Very interesting
    – Kris
    Jan 23 '20 at 3:32

The doctrine of the Trinity. There is one God who exists in 3 distinct persons. God is God, Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God. The Father is distinct form the Son and the Spirit and the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Son and the Father, and the Son is distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 15 is an example of the distinctions.

Example: Women have no advantage or disadvantage over a man in their relationship with God. They are co-equal. Woman and Men, Husbands and wives, who are believers have different responsibilities as believers. When a wife is subject to her husband, she is in no way less equal or less spiritual than an man. In the same way, Jesus was no less God when He submitted himself to the Father.

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    Yet never does the father subject himself to the son.
    – Kris
    Jan 22 '20 at 19:03
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    @Kris Nor do I ever 'subject' myself to my son. Because I am his father and he is my son. That is a matter of relationship. But we are equal in our humanity, as to nature.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 22 '20 at 19:13
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    @NigelJ where there is a hierarchy there is no equality. I love your illustration about a father and son. I use it myself in arguing against the trinity.
    – Kris
    Jan 22 '20 at 19:18
  • @Kris Lack of hierarchy is anarchy. Relationships depend on authority and humility.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 22 '20 at 19:19
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    @NigelJ I agree with that
    – Kris
    Jan 22 '20 at 19:21

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