1 Corinthians 15:24-28 (NRSV):

24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.

Is this passage saying that God the Father is the first authority in the hierarchy, then the Son, and then everything else?


Let us first have a direct literal translation of 1 Cor 15:24-28:

[24] ειτα το τελος οταν παραδω την βασιλειαν τω θεω και πατρι οταν καταργηση πασαν αρχην και πασαν εξουσιαν και δυναμιν [25] δει γαρ αυτον βασιλευειν αχρις ου αν θη παντας τους εχθρους υπο τους ποδας αυτου [26] εσχατος εχθρος καταργειται ο θανατος [27] παντα γαρ υπεταξεν υπο τους ποδας αυτου οταν δε ειπη οτι παντα υποτετακται δηλον οτι εκτος του υποταξαντος αυτω τα παντα [28] οταν δε υποταγη αυτω τα παντα τοτε και αυτος ο υιος υποταγησεται τω υποταξαντι αυτω τα παντα ινα η ο θεος τα παντα εν πασιν
[24] and then [it is] the end, when [he] delivers up the kingdom to the God and father when [he] puts away every principality and every authority and power. [25] For [it] must [be] [that] he reigns until when [he] shall put all the enemies under his feet. [26] [The] last enemy, death, is put away. [27] For "[he] subjected all [things] under his feet", but when [it] says that all [things] have been subjected, [it] [is] evident that [it] [is] except the [one] who subjected all [things] to him. [28] Moreover when all [things] are subjected to him, then also the son himself will be subjected to the [one] who subjected all [things] to him, so that God may be all in all.

There are a number of notable points here.

Firstly, it not only explicitly says that God subjected "all things" to Christ Jesus, but also explicitly says that this "all things" does not refer to literally all things but evidently excludes God. Secondly, it explicitly says that Christ will at the end be subjected to God. In sum, God will not be subjected to Christ, but Christ will be subjected to God.

Thirdly, why did the author say it is evident? It clearly shows that in the author's time it was considered self-evident that when anyone grants authority over "all things" to someone else, it does not include authority over the one who grants that authority, and the author applies that to the quote "he subjected all things under his feet" to demonstrate that Christ Jesus was not God.

Fourthly, what is the purpose of the author in describing the hierarchy? It is to explain that although God is the highest authority, he has delegated authority to Christ (the anointed one), and will ultimately be the supreme authority, which is why the author made very clear in the final statement that the son of God himself will be subjected to God, so that God may be all in all.

Finally, just as "all things" does not mean "absolutely everything", the "be all in all" does not literally mean that God is everything, but rather that God has the final say in all things. This also implies that there is no other intermediate authority below God besides Christ, because that final statement says explicitly that the reason that the son will be subjected to God is to ensure that God is ultimately the final authority, which implies that everything apart from God and Christ would at that point have been subjected to the authority of Christ.

These already suffice to fully answer your inquiry. However, there is more. Compare this cited text to Gen 41:39-44:

[39] And Pharaoh said to Joseph, after [the] elohim let you know all this, no one [is] discerning and wise like you. [40] You shall be over my house, and according to your mouth [i.e. word] all my people shall kiss [i.e. submit]. Only the throne I shall have over you. [41] And Pharaoh said to Joseph, behold, I set you over all the land of Egypt. [42] and Pharaoh removed his ring from upon his hand and set it upon the hand of Joseph, and clothed him [in] garments of fine linen, and put the chain of the gold upon his neck, [43] and made him ride in the second chariot of [those] which [were] for him, and they called out [before] his face, kneel! and [he] set him over all the land of Egypt. [44] And Pharaoh said to Joseph, I [am] Pharaoh, and apart from you [a] man shall not lift up his hand and his foot in all the land of Egypt.

When the Pharaoh says, "[a] man ... in all the land of Egypt", it is evident that it is except him who subjected all the land of Egypt to Joseph! Notice how Pharaoh made it completely clear that Joseph is second but second only to him, and that Pharaoh has only the throne (meaning the final authority) over Joseph! Can you see the indisputable parallel with 1 Cor 15:24-28 in the notion of delegated and final authority?

Not just the author of 1 Cor 15:24-28 but also the author of Phlp 2:9-11 was completely clear on this notion. Here is Phlp 2:9-11:

[9] Hence also God lifted [him] up highly and granted to him [a] name above every name, [10] so that in the name of Jesus every knee might bow, of heavenly [ones] and of earthly [ones] and of [ones] under the earth, [11] and every tongue might clearly confess that Jesus Christ [is] lord, for [the] glory of God, [the] father.

It should be obvious to you that Phlp 2:9-11 is a crystal-clear parallel with Gen 41:39-44; Jesus Christ is the one whom YHWH set over his house, and to whom YHWH commands all his people to submit, enthroned over all except YHWH (verse 40), highly lifted up and granted a name above every name (verse 41-42), so that in the name of Jesus every knee might bow (verse 43), and every tongue might clearly confess that Jesus Christ is lord (verse 44).

Note that "in the name of X" in the NT always means "as an authorized representative of X". We see this very clearly here; Jesus is granted a name above every name (but of course evidently not above the name of God), meaning authority above every authority except that of God.

  • 2
    @agarza: They are not the same person; the texts I quoted here clearly say so. There is no such thing as "trinity" in the original Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek texts. I am uninterested in theology; I am concerned solely with elucidating the meaning of the texts as they are written. – David Feb 20 at 18:12
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    @SpiritRealmInvestigator: You're correct except for your use of the phrase "God the Father". This is a matter of basic Greek grammar; the text clearly says "τω θεω και πατρι" = "to the god and father", where the (dative) definite article here is for both "θεω" and "πατρι". That is, "τω θεω και πατρι" means nothing more or less than "to the one who is both god and father". So it clearly shows that the author considered the one true God to be both "the (true) god" and "the (true) father". I wish to emphasize that I am not adding anything here; this is how "the X" is used in any natural language. – David Feb 20 at 18:52
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    You will find in other places (not 1 Cor 14:14) apposition (meaning two noun phrases put together as referents to the same entity) of God and "the father", such as "εις θεος ο πατηρ" = "one god, the father" in 1 Cor 8:6. Take note that the correct English translation of phrase in apposition must have a comma to denote the apposition. There is no attributive use of "ο πατηρ" to specify "θεος" in the NT, which is what trinitarians want to have in order to support their "God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit" ideology. It just does not exist. – David Feb 20 at 18:57
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    @Adam: Please note that I am extremely familiar with the various editions of the 'trinitarian view', and in my opinion it is clear that none of them are in line with the writings. Jesus has the same goal as the Father, but it is obvious that it does not imply identity. You are wrong that Jesus forgave sins in Mark 2; Jesus never said that he forgave that man's sins. The author of 1 John also told believers that their sins were forgiven. Concerning "God is our salvation", sorry but that is the typical kind of misuse of informal statements that are clearly not literal. – David Feb 21 at 17:11
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    @David: YES, I’m in full agreement with you; May God bless you. – Tesfaye Wolde Feb 22 at 5:13

Is the Son second in authority under God the Father?

In a sense, the Son is second in authority.

Mark 13:32

"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Philippians 2:6 English Standard Version

who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

Mark 16:19

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

The Son humbled himself and became a man. In this sense, the Son is second in authority.

  • Jesus the MAN did not know the hour, however Jesus God did. Saying the Son sat at the right hand of God, and then saying the Son humbles himself before the Father is an incorrect interpretation of that passage. It does not say, the Son sat at the right hand of the Father. You need to quote a different text for this. I have to down vote because of misinterpretation of those specific passages. – Adam Feb 20 at 21:51
  • Good point. I modified. – Tony Chan Feb 20 at 21:58
  • Jesus the MAN & Jesus God is a narration based on the two nature of Christ declared by the Council of Chalcedon. There is NO Scriptural basis for the teaching saying, ‘Christ has two nature.’ Moreover, the original Greek text of Matt. 24:36 does NOT have the phrase ‘nor the Son’ indicating that there is inconsistency against Mark 13:32 and therefore should be dealt with spiritual wisdom as apostle Paul wrote in 1Cor. 2:13: COMPARING SPIRITUAL THINGS WITH SPIRITUAL. – Tesfaye Wolde Feb 21 at 16:03
  • Sorry. This is beyond my capacity to understand. – Tony Chan Feb 21 at 16:08

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