You are here:

Lutherans/Jesus being subordinate to the Father


If Jesus and the Father are co-eternal and co-equal how is it that Jesus will by a subject of the Father?

I was reading this passage from 1 Corinthians 15:28 "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."

That seems to be saying that the Father will make all things subject to himself including Jesus.  If that is the case then Jesus can not be co-equal, or this passage has a different meaning

This is something  that can be difficult for us in the Western world, because we tend to equate submission or subjection with inequality.  This does not seem to be the divine perspective on the matter, though.  Submission and equality do not contradict one another in the Biblical witness, but instead, they coexist without difficulty.  Take, for example, Paul's instructions to husbands and wives, where he instructs wives to be submit to husbands, yet this does not equate to inequality of value, even though it indicates a difference of role.  So also, with the divine persons of Father and Son, even though the Son has a role subject to that of the Father, He is no less equal.  The Athanasian Creed goes into this in greater depth as the early Church contemplated how to describe this truth.  

It begins by affirming the equality of the three divine persons:  

"We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.
For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Holy Spirit is another.
But the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit"

Then later, it crosses over into the related topic of the incarnation and two natures (human and divine) of Christ:

"And in this Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another;
but the whole three persons are coeternal with each other and coequal, so that in all things, as has been stated above, the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity is to be worshiped.
Therefore, whoever desires to be saved must think thus about the Trinity.
But it is also necessary for everlasting salvation that one faithfully believe the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Finally, the Creed addresses this subjection by applying the two natures of Christ to the relationship between Father and Son--specifically, that while Jesus is equal to the Father regarding His divinity, He is "less than" the Father according to His humanity:

"Therefore, it is the right faith that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is at the same time both God and man.
He is God, begotten from the substance of the Father before all ages; and He is man, born from the substance of His mother in this age:
perfect God and perfect man, composed of a rational soul and human flesh;
equal to the Father with respect to His divinity, less than the Father with respect to His humanity.
Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ:
one, however, not by the conversion of the divinity into flesh, but by the assumption of the humanity into God"
one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
For as the rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ,"

In the end, while Jesus is the one who rightfully possesses all things by virtue of His victory over death and the grave to save humanity, He will fulfill His role as Son by being willingly subject to the Father in giving all things over to Him, in order that the whole Godhead would rule together, each according to His own role.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Rev. Jason P. Peterson


I welcome the opportunity to answer questions regarding the beliefs and practices Lutheran Christians, especially questions comparing Lutherans with other Christian denominations or questions which contrast between various kinds of Lutherans. I am especially familiar with the more conservative Lutheran denominations (LCMS, ELS, WELS, etc.). I also take a great interest in examining new Christian movements and popular trends in Christianity from a Lutheran perspective. In addition, I can answer most questions about the original Greek text of the New Testament and its meaning, as well as questions regarding liturgy, evangelism, and preaching. A special area of interest in my ministry is race track chaplaincy/ministry, and I would love to provide information and guidance for anyone interested in this area.


I have been a pastor in the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod for the past six years at St. John's Lutheran Church in Burt, IA. I currently serve as chairman of the Commission on Ministerial Growth & Support of the Missouri Synod's Iowa District West and as Track Chaplain at Algona Raceway in Algona, IA. I also write as a religion columnist for two local newspapers.

Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Algona Upper Des Moines (newspaper) Bancroft Register (newspaper)

B.A. Concordia University - Ann Arbor, MI (Biblical Languages) M.Div. Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN (Exegetical Theology, Pastoral Ministry & Missions)

Past/Present Clients
Zion Lutheran Church (Columbia City, IN) Zion Lutheran Church (Altamont, IL) St. John's Lutheran Church (Burt, IA) Zion Lutheran Church (Lu Verne, IA) Algona Raceway (IA) Fairmont Raceway (MN) Hancock County Speedway (Britt, IA) Clay County Fairgrounds Raceway (Spencer, IA)

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]