Is there a hierarchy to the Holy Trinity? People’s Opinions

Is there a hierarchy to the Holy Trinity? People’s Opinions

There is NOT a heierchy to the trinity.

This is considered a heresy known as Subordinationsim by both the Roman Catholic and Evangelical churches. This was discussed and determined to be a heresy in the 3rd century A.D. and is considered to be a type of Semi-Arianismwhich was denounced by the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea.

The reasoning for that is this: In order for a member of the trinity to be subordinate or lesser-than another member, they must not be of the “same substance” as another member. Were they of the “same substance” then there would be no hierarchy because the members of the trinity would equal.

The debate in the 3rd century largely centered around what kind of “substance” God and Jesus were. Arius started out stating that Jesus was of a “different substance” than the father (That Jesus was not God). Many church fathers posited a similar argument that Jesus was not of the “same substance” but of a “similar substance” (This was Semi-Arianism which included, but was not limited to the Subordinationists).

Ultimately, the council decided for numerous reasons that Jesus needed to be of the same substance in order to be savior and messiah. One important reason is that if another member is less than God the Father (for example) who is perfect or just or merciful, then by virtue of being subordinate to or lesser than God the father, Jesus would be less than perfect, less than just or less than merciful (for example) and this led to the council’s consensus after exhaustive discussion.

There is however a type of subordination called “relational subordination” a type of mutual submission in which one member of the trinity yields or defers to the other not out of a lesser status or some sort of hierarchy, but out of respect as a peer (for lack of a better word) having equivalent status.

We have this sense of respectfully deferring to a colleague when we value their experience and have a high respect or regard for that person. Similarly, we may defer to the will of our spouse out of love and respect for our wives, and the deferment of wills you cited in Matthew and John are simply relational subordination or mutual submission

Yes. There is a hierarchy in the Trinity.

Bible scholars distinguish the relationship of the Trinity between ontology (nature, attributes) and function (role, job).


The three persons are not equal in function.

John 13:16 (ISV)

Truly, I tell all of you emphatically, a servant isn’t greater than his master, and a messenger isn’t greater than the one who sent him.

1 John 4:14 (ISV)

We have seen for ourselves and can testify that the Father has sent his Sonto be the Savior of the world.

John 15:26 (ISV)

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father— the Spirit of Truth, who comes from the Father—he will testify on my behalf.


The three persons are equal in nature.

Matthew 28:19 (ISV)

19 Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

Philippians 2:6-11 (ISV)

6 In God’s own form existed he, and shared with God equality, deemed nothing needed grasping. 7 Instead, poured out in emptiness, a servant’s form did he possess, a mortal man becoming. In human form he chose to be, 8 and lived in all humility,

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