Some Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood bigwigs claim that Jesus submits to God the father not only during his time on earth, but also in heaven from eternity past until eternity future. They resurrected that old idea, rejected by Athanasius in the 4th century as heresy, because they take 1 Cor 11:3 to mean that wives should always submit to husbands, the way Jesus submits to the Father.
I’m not one of the theological bright sparks that could wax eloquent on the Arian heresy, but here is why I think that Jesus cannot, in heaven, submit to the Father. Correct me if you think I am wrong, and ask me questions if my message is unclear.
In order for submission to happen, the submitting person’s will needs to be different from the will of the not-submitting person. For example, if two marriage partners want to go to the same place for holiday, neither submits to the other with regards to a holiday destination. But if one want to go East and the other West, and they want to go together, some submission to the will of at least one partner is needed.
Are they saying there is a part of Jesus that do not want what the Father wants, but chooses what the Father wants instead of his own will? Would such a part of Jesus, the part whose desires are thwarted in favour of the Father’s, have less important, less lofty desires than the Father?
If Jesus’ desires were less important and less worthy than the Father’s, then I could not see why they would be regarded as equals. (And do not doubt it for a minute – it is indeed Bible teaching that they are equal.) If, on the other hand, his desires are as good, but he submits anyway, then there is, for some things, a Plan B that is as good as God the Father’s – but we would never see it happen.
I think – and will continue to think so until someone shows me good reason to not believe it – that Jesus on earth, who was both human and God, had a human will at odds with the Father’s, and therefore had to submit. – He had to submit because the human will was indeed less good than the Father’s heavenly will.
But I cannot see how submission would be possible for Jesus in heaven- Jesus does not, AFAIK, has any opinions or plans different from God the Father’s.
I think this text tells us such, between the lines:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!
Jesus obeyed (God) when “found in appearance as a man.” He took the nature of a servant when “made in human likeness.” In his human-ness he had other desires, like avoiding pain, which had to submit to the perfect plan which He knew was right. Eternal submission in heaven? Jesus seemingly had equality in heaven (see :6), but was willing to take on the nature of a man – a servant of God, and even a servant of us all.
This passage tells all believers, male and female, to become like Jesus, to submit to the needs (not whims – Jesus did not submit to silly whims) of those who need us, like Jesus who became the servant of us all. Those who use the submission of Jesus as an excuse to defend male headship simply don’t get this passage.