As I survey the landscape of literature concerning the eternal functional subordination of the Son I see five basic views:
- The Son never submits to the Father, even after the incarnation. Authority and submission are seen as incompatible with intimacy and love and the kingdom of God.
- The Son submits to the Father only after the incarnation. The incarnation itself is not an act of obedience. Obedience is only creaturely.
- The Son submits to the Father before the incarnation (e.g. in creating the world), but only economically and ad extra (with respect to creation).
- The eternal Son submits to the Father before creation and ad intra (in the internal life of God) and this is grounded in the Son’s eternal generation from the Father.
- The eternal Son submits to the Father before creation, but this is agnostic to or in lieu of eternal generation.
Views 3-5 agree that the incarnate Son’s willing submission is an expression of his eternal Sonship, of his “filial identity.”
Views 4-5 see the Father’s primacy of authority as a personal property and not an essential divine attribute.