Who’s Tampering with the Trinity? (Part 10) The Biblical Support for Eternal Generation: The Son Subordinate to the Father in the Work of Creation
Those who oppose the doctrine of eternal generation also oppose the idea that the persons of the Trinity have in eternity distinct personal characteristics and roles. They teach, therefore, that the economy of redemption is arbitrary and reveals nothing about the identity and roles of the persons of the Trinity in eternity. Some add that the economy of redemption is simply an arbitrary, covenantal arrangement which might have been very different. The person we call the Son might have sent the person we call the Spirit to die on the cross, and both of them might have sent the person we call the Father to apply the work of redemption.
In contrast to this, historic Trinitarianism has taught that there was propriety in the roles assumed by the persons of the Trinity in the economy of redemption. Significantly supporting this view is the fact that the order of the economy of creation is precisely the same as the order of the economy of redemption. Redemption not only occurs from the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, Creation is also from the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. Last time we saw this order in John 1:1-3. John’s reading of Genesis 1 is that the Father creates the world through His Word and that the Spirit (brooding on the face of the deep) brings this creation to perfection. There are many texts that straightforwardly affirm this order of creation as being from the Father through the Son.
Hebrews 1:2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.
Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him.
It is very significant, then, that the economy of creation is the same as that of redemption. It seems to me, however, that the significance of this economy of creation goes even further. When the Trinity springs out of eternity and into time through the work of creation, the order is from the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. The reason is that this is the order embedded in the eternal Trinity itself. Creation does not change this order. It only reveals in the order of creation an order that existed in the Trinity itself. The only alternative to this is the notion that the order of the Trinity in time reveals nothing about the order of the Trinity in eternity. Even laying aside all the evidence against this which we have already seen, this notion is in itself unacceptable. The whole purpose of creation and redemption is the manifestation of the glory of God. To deny the revelatory character of the order of creation and redemption with regard to the Trinity is opposed to the whole over-riding rationale of God’s creating and redeeming purpose.