In my last post on Trinity and Order (3) I offered an excerpt from Wikipedia as a response to some questions raised by a correspondent. Questions remain, however, and have been restated as follows below. Being a little short of time this week I offer the barest of comments, with promise to return to the subject:
1. How can the ‘submission’ of Jesus be said to be for a limited time only, or be ‘temporal?’ Response (REVISED): We are limited by the constraints of human language to speak about the mystery of God Three-in-One becoming incarnate, Jesus Christ the Son filled with the Spirit and one with the Father, yet seemingly forsaken by the Father and Spirit on the cross. In speaking of this becoming incarnate Scripture uses language of sending and submission with special reference to the mission of Christ while physically present on earth, which is a temporary phenomenon, although the human nature taken up by the Son is permanent. See further, the comment below by Tim Harris!
2. Does that mean that the things God decides ‘outside’ time have limits too, as this decision did? Response: possibly, but there is a lot to think about when we talk of God and time. The concept of human freedom, for example, is often understood as a decision by God to limit his power to allow for genuine choice by his human creatures.
3. Is the ‘arm’ or ‘Son’ still the Son? He’s fulfilled His Father’s [and His own] wishes, voluntarily .. without ‘will’ of His own. Using my above analogy, it’s entirely possible to thrust one’s arm into the fire and damage it in order to save the whole body. Incredible, brave, generous, breathtaking .. but possible. “I am the way etc.” Response: (see the original comment, by the way, to get the gist of the illustration of arm/head/will). I may not understand the illustration properly. One response I have is to note that the relation between Father and Son is not analogous to the head and the arm of a body. One can lose an arm and still be who one is. A better analogy (IMHO) would be to think of the relationship between brain and mind. Without a brain I have no mind; without a mind my brain is dead. The mutual indwelling of Father Son and Holy Spirit is better modeled by brain mind and (say) nervous system. Take any one away and the others cease to exist. In a very important sense, particularly taken up Trinitarian theologians in the 20th century, God Three-in-One dies on the cross; not merely the Son. The one will of God leads God to the cross. But there is a lot of ink to spill at precisely this point in our understanding of theology ... of incarnation and of Trinity.
4. Whereas, doesn’t the limit of ‘temporal’ mean somehow that the ‘arm’ or ‘Son’ was coerced, DID have a ‘will’ that was different? I know I can’t possibly disagree with these great minds you quote .. but my poor brain comes to the opposite conclusion. Response: I do not agree with you, but acknowledge that a lot turns on how we understand 'temporal'.