Having recently examined the topic of equality and subordination in the Trinity, and discussed how in order to accurately speak of the equality and subordination of the Son to the Father we must not speak broadly of equality or subordination, but must rather distinguish between the categories of nature, headship, and causality. We examined how scripture teaches that the Son is equal with the Father in respect to His divine nature, since He eternally has the same divine nature as the Father, yet in respect to headship and causality the Son is subordinate to the Father as to His authoritative head and origin. This subordination to the Father as His head and origin stems from the fact that the Son has his ontological origin from the Father in being begotten of the Him before the ages, and therefore is truly Son of the Father, eternally under His headship, yet also eternally equal to Him in respect to the divine nature he possesses.
After seeing these points demonstrated from scripture, we also saw a sampling of the extensive testimony given by the orthodox church fathers of the ante-nicene and nicene eras in favor of these points of doctrine.
In this post I want to briefly treat the topic of how the monarchy and divinity both belong to the Father in a special way, yet are shared by all three persons of the Trinity.
By “monarchy” we refer to rulership and headship. The one God, the Father, has headship not only over all creation, but even over His own Son and Spirit. This headship is a monarchy, that is, a rule of one, because it belongs to the Father alone to be supreme head over all, not only over all creatures, but also over the Son and Spirit, as we have said. Yet the Son and Spirit share in the Father’s monarchy, inasmuch as God rules and administrates His kingdom through His Son and Spirit. So the Son and Spirit also enjoy headship over all creation together with the Father, while having the Father as their head, lest by having three equal heads there be no longer a monarchy but a polyarchy. In this way then we see that the monarchy is properly regarded as belong specially to the Father, yet this rule is not limited to the Father, but the headship over all creation is shared by His Son and Spirit as well.
In respect to “divinity” we speak of the divine nature, the single sort of divinity shared by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The one God, the Father, has His own divine nature as proper to Himself, from no source or origin whatsoever. The Father in respect to His person and His divine nature is unbegotten and unoriginate. The one divine nature then, is properly regarded as being in a special way the Father’s divine nature, as He possesses it as His own proper nature, of Himself, and not of another. The Son and Spirit however, as we have expressed before, share this same divine nature, this paternal divinity, as it is communicated to them from the Father in the eternal generation of the Son and eternal procession of the Spirit. The one God, the Father, is divine of Himself; the Son is divine because of His eternal generation from the Father, from which he possesses the paternal divinity. The Spirit, likewise, possesses the paternal divinity which is proper to the Father as He eternally proceeds from Him.
In light of what has been said above, we may properly regard the monarchy the three persons share as the ‘monarchy of the Father’, and likewise, the divinity They share as ‘the Father’s divinity’, while acknowledging that the Son and Spirit share in the Father’s monarchy and divinity.