In an article Bruce Ware writes:
The relationships in the Trinity exhibit so beautifully a unity that is not sameness, and a diversity that is not discord. So, the kind of community that is the Trinity, and hence the kind of community God wants for us, is one that values both a unity in purpose and character and direction, but also a joyous distinctiveness in personal expression. Finally, the most marked characteristic of the trinitarian relationships is the presence of an eternal and inherent relationship of authority and submission. The Son always submits to, obeys, and carries out, the will of the Father, and when the Spirit comes, as Jesus says, He seeks always to glorify the Son. Authority and submission, therefore, are good because they are expressive of God! That is, it is God-like to express rightful, upbuilding authority; and it is God-like to express humble, assisting submission. Embrace rightful authority! Embrace rightful submission! Seeing this helps us understand so much better why God set up the authority and submission relationships he has, in marriage, in the home, in the church, and in society. The Persons of the Godhead delight in their eternal authority and submission roles, and we, too, ought to grow in embracing, not resisting, this same God-given structure.Note first his statement “hence the kind of community God wants for us, is one that values both a unity in purpose and character and direction.” While this statement is correct as long as he is referring to salvation and growth in Christ, Ware jumps to the assumption that only one person of the trinity is involved in determining that purpose, character and direction. His whole argument is based on his assumption.
It would be just as valid to assume that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as individual beings agree together on purpose and direction, and that this agreement is part of their character, instead of a result of hierarchy.
To say that Jesus came to earth to die for us because it was the will of the Father, cheapens what Jesus did. It suggests He did Not love us all that much, and has instead an obligational love more like that of a babysitter or a slave.
On the other hand, to say that according to John 1:1-3, Jesus is the One who spoke the world into existence, and created us, (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God, the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”) and therefore He was the One who wanted to redeem His creation, makes much more sense. In fact, since Jesus is the One who is our advocate with the Father, why not conclude that the Father would have written us humans off if it had not been for Jesus pleading with the Father to come into agreement with Him on our behalf?
Why not conclude (assume) that the three persons in the trinity decided together that humans needed a redeemer—AFTER Jesus plead with the Father for us. Since Jesus loves us with a deep, abiding and sacrificial love, and was the one who created us, he OFFERED and BEGGED to come redeem us and the Godhead conferred together how this would be accomplished.
The scene in the Garden of Gethsemane was the human side of Jesus shrinking from the pain, shame,and taking on of our sins that He had already volunteered to do out of love for us, and battling with the divine side of himself to continue with the course of action He had already purposed to take. It was NOT God the Father ordering Jesus to die for us and Jesus submitting to that. It was the Father and the Holy Spirit reminding Jesus of their joint plan of redemption, and that they would see Jesus, the human, safely through. Jesus submitted to the Father's reminder of what He had already asked to do.
When we get our theology right, Ware’s conclusion “The Persons of the Godhead delight in their eternal authority and submission roles, and we, too, ought to grow in embracing, not resisting, this same God-given structure” ends up with zero validity.
In Matthew 28:18, NIV, Jesus said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given unto me.” KJV uses the word “power.” Strongs Concordance # 1849 says the word comes from 1832 in the sense of ability, and further spells out the meaning as “privilege, i.e. force, capacity, competency, freedom, or mastery, (the latter as in “magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence:—authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.” If all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus, how could the Father have authority OVER Him?
In addition, Phil 2:5-11 makes it clear that Jesus is equal with the Father, and that every knee shall bow to him, “of in heaven and in earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (I left out words in italics.) If every knee in heaven shall bow, and every tongue confess, does that include the Father’s knee and tongue?
In Romans 8:34, Jesus is standing at the Father’s right hand, interceding for us. It appears that Jesus is the one who begged to redeem us.
Not only does Jesus already have all authority, and all knees will bow to Him, but Jesus is the One the Father listens to. Jesus is the One who gets our prayers heard and answered. Without Him, the Father wouldn’t listen to us at all. So who has the authority? Who is submitting to Whom?
Apparently, the Father submitted and submits to the Son. That turns Ware’s doctrine on its head.
Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit www.wanetadawn.com