We could also measure these developments, along with related ones in the body of Christ itself, in respect of the understanding of God as Trinity, a communion of love in which the three persons mutually, interpenetratively indwell each other in unity. The flowering of mutuality in human societies, whether in marriages, families, or the church, is a perfecting of the image of God in humanity, for which we were created and then restored through redemption.
Unfortunately, as noted by me in previous posts on Arianism, the background to the first four great ecumenical councils, was one in which christology developed in the engagement between Jewish Christianity and Hellenistic culture, finding fruitfulness in emphasis on Logos/Son christology but also an accruing baggage around a subordinationist christology. The baggage accrued to the point where the subordinate Logos or Son, in the hands of Arian, broke the Son away from God so that there was a time when the Son was not. Notwithstanding this happening, subordinationism remained within the thinking of the orthodox Nicaeo-Chalcedon church. Thus, fast forwarding to the present day, we can find a North American Anglican bishop, John Rodgers of the Rwanda-aligned AMiA, offering "A Serious Argument Against the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood and Episcopate." I leave you to judge whether it is 'serious' or 'seriously flawed' but in the course of his overall argument he offers a trinitarian underpinning:
"We can ask, "Why did God order things so?" Such a universal, sustained practice requires a profound and divine reason. The Bible tells us what this reason is. Male headship in the priesthood and eldership of God's chosen people roots in the male headship in the family, which is part of God's good ordering of the creation. And God's ordering of the relations of male and female in the family ultimately reflects and rests upon God's own Triune nature. Human life, made in the image and likeness of God, mirrors the mystery of God's own Triune life.Rodgers' argument joins together two understandings of the Trinity, one captured in the italicised paragraph and one captured in the following paragraph. I suggest they cannot be joined together in this way. Either God is mutually indwelling love lived in the true equality of interpenetrating divine persons or God is hierarchy with headship and subordination.
This involves our understanding of God as Triune. God is One; God is Threefold. He is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit: three inter-penetrating persons of equal dignity and divinity united in a single life of love and mutual indwelling. He is one God in one nature eternally existing in three Persons. Since we are made in the image and likeness of God, we can expect to find (and do find) analogies of God's Triune nature in creation and above all in our human nature. [My italics].
In the Triune life of God, as Scripture teaches and the Eastern Orthodox tradition often reminds us, there is a hierarchy among equals. An eternal headship and an eternal submission are lived out in the divine life of love. God the Father is by nature Father in His Triune life. He is the eternal loving fountainhead of the Trinity. He is eternally the Father of the Son and the primary source of the being of the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Son is ever delighted to do the Father's will. In a biblical view, submitting to one's father is what a good son does, whether it be human sons of human fathers or the divine Son of the divine Father. The Spirit is always the Spirit of the Father and the Son and submissive to both.
The main point we want to note is that loving headship and submission are eternal in the life of God. They are therefore of the eternal order of things. This has consequences for God's act of creation. God's own nature and his attributes provide the pattern for his act of creation and particularly for the order and life of those made in his image and likeness-men and women. We can expect to find headship and submission in the way we have been created in relation to one another. At the same time, the Father's act of creation is an authoritative act, a command. He speaks and it is done (through the Son, by the Spirit). He reigns over the creation that he has made. Here we have the significance of God's revealing himself to us in male terms as "the Father," "the Son," and "the Spirit". The male name of "the Father" points to his being distinct from the creation that he has made, ordered, and sustained, and it points also to his Lordship over it. Creation is not birthed from God's own being as the religions of the world tend to teach.
Does God not have a more feminine aspect? Yes. God has attributes that are more fully exhibited by women than by men, but they are always "his" attributes. He is never called "her." Even the more feminine attributes are his attributes, attributes of the one who with loving, divine initiative and authority called the world into being, not from his own nature but from nothing, ex nihilo, from beyond the world."
What do you think about the either/or?
POSTSCRIPT: a rejoinder to the Rodgers article is here. Worth a look!