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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?

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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.

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    @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
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 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
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 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
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 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
    Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 17:11
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    @David: YES, I’m in full agreement with you; May God bless you. Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 5:13
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Introduction
Here is the passage in the King James Version:

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be 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.
(1 Corinthians 15 KJV)

The King James and NRSV differ in their understanding of key phrases:

Verse  King James                  NRSV                        Greek
 24    God, even the Father        God the Father              τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί  
 27    He hath put                 God has put                 ὑπέταξεν
 28a   him that put                the one who put             τῷ ὑποτάξαντι
 28b   that God may be all in all  that God may be all in all  ᾖ ὁ θεὸς τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν

In verse 24, the King James renders τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί as God, even the Father where the NRSV has God the Father. In verse 27 the King James renders the verb ὑπέταξεν as he hath put where the NRSV has God has put. The King James is correct. The NRSV arrives at God by replacing the 3rd person singular form of the verb ὑποτάσσω (ὑπέταξεν) with a referent, God and a footnote: Greek is he. There are other translations which treat the referent similarly. In verse 28a Paul repeats the 3rd person singular in the verb, which the King James translates as in verse 27. The NRSV alters their earlier treatment opting for the one. Absent any context rendering τῷ ὑποτάξαντι as the one is better than him, but in light of the previous verse, the article in τῷ ὑποτάξαντι is likely anaphoric and him should be preferred.

If the referent is understood from τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί, it should not be abbreviated as God. If it is to be shortened from the God and Father, Father is the closest noun. Grammatically speaking, God is impossible. It is a product of an assumption "God" means exclusively Father. This assumption is clearly not what Paul composed.

Paul’s decision to resort to pronouns implied in verbs in place of the God and Father and his failure to state what the assumption believes is obvious (i.e. God) must be explained in a way consistent with how one interprets what Paul actually wrote.

τῷ θεῷ καί πατρί
Paul's first use of God is in the phrase τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί, literally the God and Father. This phrase has two substantives connected with καὶ and begins with the article. This is the T-S-K-S sequence of Sharp's Rule, named after Granville Sharp whose book describing the rule was published in 1798. With some exceptions, Sharp's Rule states a T-S-K-S sequence is a writer's method of identifying one entity with two words. According to Sharp's Rule Paul's phrase τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί describes a single entity: the God and Father.

Arguably, the difference between God, even the Father of the King James, and God the Father of later translations reflects the impact of Sharp's analysis which, coming almost 200 years later, was not understood at the time the King James translators worked.

On the other hand, if Sharp's Rule is not a valid grammatical principle, then the phrase τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί has been composed to make a distinction between God and Father. Literally the God and Father would be identifying two different: the God and Father. A Trinitarian would reconcile that distinction by recognizing Paul understands τῷ θεῷ, the God, as Father, Son, Spirit, and πατρί, as only Father.

If the T-S-K-S in verse 24 is in fact describing one entity as both God and Father, then Sharp's Rule is valid and the New Testament elsewhere describes Jesus as God. The fact Paul does not do so here cannot change this truth, anymore than a failure to always describe God as Father can be used to deny the deity of the Father. For example, no one claims Paul's failure to continue to use Father with God in verse 28 should be understood as denying the title of God to the Father.

ἵνα ᾖ ὁ θεὸς τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν
The final act described is ἵνα ᾖ ὁ θεὸς τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν, literally so that may be the God the all in all. This is accomplished by the Son who Himself becomes subject to Him that put all things under Him.

As in verse 27 the 3rd person singular form of the verb ὑποτάσσω is used. The King James translators rendered this as in verse 27. However, the NRSV changes the treatment from God to him. Had the NSRV remained consistent verse 28 would read: When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to God [the one] who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.

Of course, God in verses 24 and 27 is an assumption which is inconsistent with what Paul has composed. The pronoun does not refer to God. It refers either to Father or to the God and Father. Using the King James here is how the pronoun should be understood:

27 For the God and Father [he] hath put all things under his feet. But when the God and Father [he] saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that the God and Father [he] is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto the God and Father [him] that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

It is more than curious that Paul begins with the God and Father, then resorts to implied pronouns, before saying God. The statement the Son also himself be subject unto the God and Father [him] that put all things under him, that God may be all in all does not end as expected. To be consistent Paul should use his initial T-S-K-S, that the God and Father may be all in all.

What Paul actually wrote, that the God may be all in all highlights the issue with understanding ἵνα ᾖ ὁ θεὸς τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν. How can the God not already be all in all? In other words, if God is not all in all until the Son accomplishes His work, what is deficient? What is lacking now which requires the Son to restore something so that the God will be all in all as it was in the beginning?

The answer is to recognize Paul is describing the work of the Son as restoring the God, not the God and Father to its original condition.

Conclusion
Is the Son second in authority to the God and Father? Given what is described, I would disagree with understanding "ranking" in authority is a proper interpretation of what Paul composed. The fact the Son voluntarily subjects Himself to another authority does not mean a priori the Son is second in authority. This is clearly illustrated in the Fourth Gospel:

10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19 ESV)

Did Pilate have authority over Jesus? The crucifixion shows yes. Yet no one believes Pilate's exercise of his authority permits ranking him relative to Jesus. In terms of human philosophy, one could argue voluntary submission, that is the decision not to exercise authority is a display of greater authority.

When Jesus was crucified, believers see His decision not to exercise His authority is proof His authority was "higher" than Pilate's. Moreover, who does Jesus have in mind when He tells Pilate he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin? Does the mystery of God's work to restore what sin has defiled permit us to rank Pilate's sin relative to the one from above who gave Pilate his authority?

It is clear to me Paul has made a distinction between Son and the God and Father. It is also clear Paul has made a distinction between the God and Father and God, as any Trinitarian must.

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  • You are so sound in Gods word Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 9:09
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    How can God ever be deficient at any time? amazing the juggling and somersaults to justify a position. Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 9:51
  • @anothertheory The text is unambiguous. God is not "all in all" until the Son accomplishes His work. The logic is unambiguous: God is not "all in all" now but eventually will be. Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 18:13
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    @RevelationLad and I thought I heard it all Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 8:42
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    Appreciate the King James Authorised Version being used here. As you rightly point out, "Paul has made a distinction between "the God and Father" and "God", as any Trinitarian must.
    – Lesley
    Commented Jan 29 at 10:45
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An excellent answer from @David above so my answer is limited.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:28 that Christ will be subject to God forever: When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

Eternal subjection clearly implies to someone lower / subordinate not equal. then he himself, the Son, will place himself under God. The Good News Translation

1 Corinthians 15:27 (Berean) For “God has put everything under His feet.” Now when it says that everything has been put under Him, this clearly does not include the One who put everything under Him.

For more on is Jesus equal to God see: https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/69382/33268

Gen 41:39-44 – is a clear example of someone giving authority to another – Pharoah gave authority to Joseph – but clearly Joseph was still under the authority of Pharoah but second not never equal to Pharoah.

Gen 41:55 …..and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do.’….

Genesis 42:6 "Now Joseph was the ruler over the land; he was the one who sold to all the people of the land And Joseph's brothers came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground."

Some try to imply that this passage shows the trinity, even that God is somehow not complete until Jesus accomplishes his works. There is no evidence that God is ever ‘not’ complete and there is no evidence that supports this, pure fallacy with no logic.

Without being distracted a few of so many passages that clearly imply Jesus as subordinate to the father;

Jesus prayed to the Father to be saved and said he can do nothing on his own etc… Matt 26:39 39. Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

John 14:28 Jesus said "My Father (GOD) is greater than I"

John 8:28 Jesus said "I do nothing of myself"

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying,All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

If Son and Holy Ghost are co-equal persons in the Godhead, why is blasphemy of the Holy Ghost unforgivable but blasphemy of the Son is not? (Luke 12:10).

Only the Father knows the day and hour etc…. (Mark 13:32), yet Holy Spirit does not know? If so, how can they be co-equal?.

Jesus said to worship the Father (John 4:21-24)

So on……

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You have to take into account that we know Christ had to set aside some of his power, divinity, and knowledge to become a human on earth. To be faithful, true, and honest, he couldn’t know that day or hour of God because he just said no man knows. And the whole point of why he’s on earth is because he is living his life as a man and must die as a man. If he knew, Christ would have lied and we know that’s impossible. The amount our Lord humbles himself truly shows us how much he loves us.

On another topic, we know that our Father God is first in the godhead. To me, it seems like the Father is the Will of God, and we know the Son is the Word of God, and then obviously the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. So Jesus our Lord makes it very clear that he is absolutely only within the Will of the Father, almost like there is not a fraction of a second in time that the Son will even think outside the will of the Father. And this makes sense because Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one. So it’s a very interesting debate because it seems like the Father has a hierarchy because he is the will itself and the Son and the Spirit only operate and proceed out of that will.

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    Welcome. Your answer is a contradiction. Either Jesus is God or he is not. He said he was a man, never said he was God, so you are the one making him a liar (john 8:40). Your understanding is based on tradition and mythology and not the bible. Jesus somehow setting aside his divinity is an imagination not supported by scripture. Also, he had his own will (John 6:38) which was not the same as God. Jesus has and had a God as we do, so he cannot be God, and now he sits at the right side of God - again, he cannot be God according to scripture.
    – Steve
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 7:46
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    @Finster Which man would enjoin his disciples to expel demons in his name? Would you, even at the highest possible stage of your spiritual growth, when you would become a super-duper guru of all gurus teach your disciple, Bob: "Hey, Bob, expel demons in my, Finster's, name!" You know it will be preposterous, because even a lowest hierarchy little imp will laugh at this and say: "Why on earth should I listen to Bob's command in certain Finster's name?" But Jesus does just that, for not imp, but even Satan is expelled in His name, and Satan will not subject himself to any angel, but only to God. Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 6:51
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One should consider the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ from two perspectives: a) in His divine, also pre-incarnate, or Logos way, and b) His God-man, that is to say, incarnate way, when the Person of Logos has been called also Jesus Christ.

Now, Logos is not subjected to the Father any more than the Father is subjected to the Logos, but the Logos is caused by the Father eternally and Father does everything through His Logos, being unable, ontologically, to bypass His Logos in doing anything, but the divine action of the Father and the Logos is always a joint action, one action (take an analogy of the ☀️-disc and its rays: they always act together in their enlightening action).

Now, can the Father subject enemies to Christ without His Logos co-acting and co-subjecting? No!-given what has been said above. Also, Logos will not qua Logos be subjected to the Father, but qua His human nature, and this "subjection" means historical working of God to draw all faithful to the Kingdom, to crush the power of the enemy in history. Just like Logos did not and could not die on the Cross qua Logos, but He died according to the humanity that the immortal Logos assumed.

Otherwise, the very term "son" entails that there is the same authority and dignity in Him as in the Father, for a son of a king has the same kingdom in inheritance as the father king had. However, in contrast with the human political dimension where a son-heir has the entirety of a father-king’s authority and inheritance only after the father’s death, here, in the theological dimension, the Father never dies and the Son has the entirety of His, the Father’s authority and the same dignity immediately and eternally. That is the meaning of the relational metaphoric notion 'Father'-'Son' utilized by the Incarnate Logos Himself and the writers of the Bible through inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

NB dear @Anonymous Downvoter(s), I suggest you to stop pouring a dung of this disgrace upon your head(s) and if you really want a hermeneutical debate, lay down your objection points, I will gladly address them!

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    @Anonymous Down-voter Hey my dear anon pal! Again something pricked your heart in my post? You found your position debunked and have no reasonable objection? And in this case to down-vote anonymously out of an embittered frustration is the best way? But I assure you it is not the best way, for in your subconscious will always unpleasantly smolder a feeling that you hold a heretical idea in a desperate recalcitrance. For instance one of the posts on this OP got 8 points but is utterly heretical. Points do not matter for eternity, but a correct theology. Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 11:00
  • That post you refer to now has 10 points but as you rightly observe, points do not matter. Another answer uses the King James Authorised Version, which is helpful.
    – Lesley
    Commented Jan 29 at 10:43

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