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Watchtower “Proof Texts” (3) 1 Cor. 15:28 Subject to the Father …………by John Stickland

As human beings, entering into a full understanding and appreciation of the mystery of the Godhead is clearly beyond us.

As far as the Watchtower is concerned however there appears to be no mystery. By a selection of Scriptures taken in isolation from the many relating to the subject as a whole, they have come to what they see as certain rational conclusions, one of which is to deny the deity of Jesus. One such selected verse which they use is 1 Corinthians 15. 28  And when all things are 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.

Although we have from the Scriptures some understanding of the relationship between the Son of God and the Father, we can never, from our human perspective in this life, enter into or fully understand all that belongs only to deity.

In as far as 1 Cor. 15. 28 is concerned which speaks of the Son being subject to the Father, it must of course be interpreted in the light of Scripture as a whole. In the words of Robert Cleaver Chapman: Every error may be based upon some part of Scripture taken from its connection; but no error can stand the test of all Scripture.
When we do this we see that the verse cannot be used in any way to deny the deity of Jesus which is fully supported by the rest of Scripture.
If then the Divinity of Jesus is so clearly established in the Scriptures, is there a contradiction here in this verse when it speaks of Jesus being subject to the Father?
No. A fuller understanding of the Scriptures show us that that Jesus whilst being completely God is also completely man. There are many Scriptures that speak of him as the Son of God and many as the Son of man.      Philippians 2: 6&7 speaks of One with all the attributes of the Godhead taking upon himself the nature of man.
The seeming contradiction then of 1 Cor. 15:28 with the divinity scriptures is therefore removed when we see that in respect of his human nature, which He retains eternally ( 1 Tim. 2:5, Heb. 7:25), Jesus will be subject to the Father.

In summary therefore 1 Cor. 15:18 is in complete harmony with the great weight of Scripture, which testifies to the divinity of the One of whom the Father Himself wills “ that all should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.” (John 5:23)

For further Scriptures relating to the deity of Jesus see the posting “The Divinity of Jesus” on this website dated December 28th 2011.


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1 Response »

  1. The Lord Jesus Christ, having taken up within himself our humanity, brings us back into his Father’s unity of divine life and love, within reciprocating humility: The Father Almighty subjects all to the Son (Mat.11:27; 28:18) and, having recapitulated man in himself, the Son subjects all to the Father. We are thereby brought right home to God our Father in the unity of Divinity (Jn.17:20-26)

    “For as by one man’s disobedience sin entered, and death obtained [a place] through sin; so also by the obedience of one man, righteousness having been introduced, shall cause life to fructify in those persons who in times past were dead (Rom.5:19). And as the protoplast himself, Adam, had his substance from untilled and as yet virgin soil (“for God had not yet sent rain, and man had not tilled the ground – Gen.2:5), and was formed by the hand of God, that is, by the Word of God, for “all things were made by Him (Jn.1:3),” and the Lord took dust from the earth and formed man; so did He who is the Word, recapitulating Adam in Himself, rightly receive a birth, enabling Him to gather up Adam [into Himself], from Mary, who was as yet a virgin…

    This, therefore, the Word of God was made, recapitulating in Himself His own handiwork; and on this account does He confess Himself the Son of man, and blesses “the meek, because they shall inherit the earth (Mat.5:5).”

    For the Lord, having been born “the First-begotten of the dead (Rev.1:5)” and receiving into His bosom the ancient fathers, has regenerated them into the life of God, He having been made Himself the beginning of those that live, as Adam became the beginning of those who die (Comp.1 Cor.15:20-22)” – Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons , Against Heresies, book 3, The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol.1, pp454-455).

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