I was reading an article the other day by Richard Muller entitled: “Christ in the Eschaton: Calvin and Moltmann on the Duration of the Munus Regium“ (the last post made me think of this). The focus of the article is on how we should understand Jesus’ handing over the kingdom to the Father, based most specifically on 1 Cor. 15:24-28. Moltmann’s worry, it seems, is that a certain interpretation of this would make the incarnation superfluous. In his The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology, Moltmann writes,
The eternal Son of God so to speak retreats into the Trinity, and the man Jesus enters the host of the redeemed, or conversely, the whole of redeemed existence enters into the divine relationship of the unio personalis, i.e., into immediacy with God. The manhood of Christ which was crucified for the redemption of sinners no longer has a place in existence which has been redeemed and placed in immediacy with God” (258-9, see Muller, 31).
The problem, Muller argues, is that Calvin is clear elsewhere that this passage does not conflict with passages arguing for an eternal reign of Christ. There is some kind of distinction, in other words, in the consummation of all things, where Christ’s reign shifts but does not deteriorate. Calvin seems to use the terms “mediately” and “immediately” to talk about this – that God presently rules mediately through Christ’s humanity but will, following judgment, rule “immediately.”
I’ll stop with Muller’s argument here and open up some discussion. What does Christ hand over? What do we think about Christ’s kingship being eternal? Should we understand Christ’s kingship with his office as priest and prophet to be oriented by sinful humanity, and therefore oriented towards pre-judgment redemption history, or is this office truly eschatological in the most robust sense? In this sense, what about the office of priest and prophet, are these eternal as well? Edwards says yes, but believes that the eternal enactment of the munus triplex is now done with the Father, as opposed to being done as his vicegerent.