Subordination within the Godhead

Submission of the Holy Spirit to both Christ and the Father:

Father

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Son

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Holy Spirit

There is no question that early Christians took the view that they Holy Spirit held "third" place of rank in submission to the Father and the Son:

  • 150 AD Justin Martyr "We will prove that we worship him reasonably; for we have learned that he is the Son of the true God Himself, that he holds a second place, and the Spirit of prophecy a third. " (First Apology 13:5-6).
  • 190 AD Clement Of Alexandria "I understand nothing else than the Holy Trinity to be meant; for the third is the Holy Spirit, and the Son is the second, by whom all things were made according to the will of the Father." (Stromata, Book V, ch. 14)
  • 200 AD Tertullian "[God speaks in the plural 'Let us make man in our image'] because already there was attached to Him his Son, a second person, his own Word, and a third, the Spirit in the Word....one substance in three coherent persons." (Against Praxeas, ch 12)

 

 

Does the Bible teach the submission of the Holy Spirit as a third place?

The question is whether the Bible teaches the "third place" of rank the Holy Spirit holds. The evidence, although far from conclusive, appears to support such an inference. For example, in John 14:26 Jesus says the Father will send the Holy Spirit. But in John 15:26 Jesus is the one who sends the helper:

The inspiration process:

Another truth that seems to indicate the submission of the Holy Spirit is the inspiration process by which we got our different bible books:

God

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Holy Spirit

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Men

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Bible

  • "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. "He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. "All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you." John 16:13-15
  • "men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" 2 Pet 1:21

Conclusion:

So we conclude that based upon inference of evidence, that the view of the early Christians, where they described the Father in first place, the Son in second place and the Holy Spirit in third place, is consistent with the Bible data.

  By Steve Rudd

 

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