Is Jesus Still 100% God and 100% Man?
February 14, 2024, 11:05 AM

This is a great question, thank you for bringing it up. We all know that in the incarnation, the Second Person of the Trinity took to Himself a human nature. In theological circles, this is called the hypostatic union – Divine nature and human nature united in one person, Jesus Christ. This core tenant of our Christian faith has been codified in the ancient creeds of Christendom. In the Apostles’ Creed (“[I believe] in Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary”), the Nicene Creed (“[I believe] in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, … who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man”), and in the Athanasian Creed (“Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man”).

Okay, you may say, the incarnation is necessary for our salvation and faith, but is Jesus still incarnate? Is Jesus still human and divine, two natures, in one person? Yes. Consider the ascension passage in the Book of Acts:

[9] Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. [10] And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, [11] who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9-11 NKJV)

When Jesus ascended into heaven (something all three creeds affirm), He did so bodily. Look closely at v. 11 again, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (emphasis added). The Jesus who ascended into heaven was the resurrected and glorified Jesus. During His earthly life, Jesus had a sinless human nature. After His resurrection, Jesus now has a glorified human nature.

Another passage that is helpful in this matter is Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15. This is the famous “resurrection” chapter in 1 Corinthians. The Corinthian church was confused on the doctrine of the resurrection. It appears that they were willing to believe that Christ was raised but doubted the general resurrection of believers. Paul says to them in vv. 20-24:

[20] But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. [21] For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. [22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. [23] But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. [24] Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:20-24 NKJV)

When Paul says that Christ “has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep,” he is using an agricultural metaphor to teach that Christ is preview of what resurrection life will look like for us. Christ was resurrected into a glorified body, one that is incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and spiritual (1 Cor 15:42-44). As He was, so we will be too.

More importantly, both passages teach that the return of Jesus will be a bodily return. This is another core doctrine of the Christian faith: The bodily return of Christ at the end of the age. The Apostles’ Creed (“From [the right hand of the Father Jesus] shall come to judge the living and the dead”), the Nicene Creed (“[Jesus] shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead”), and the Athanasian Creed (“From [the right hand of the Father Jesus] shall come to judge the living and the dead”) all confess this truth.

One more thing to consider, and that is the overarching purpose of the story of redemption. The Bible begins in paradise (Genesis 1-2) and ends with paradise restored (Revelation 21-22). In the middle (Genesis 3 – Revelation 20) is the story of redemption. Man was created in the image of God and Christ comes—God in human flesh—to restore the image of God in man. He Himself is the perfect and true image of God (Hebrews 1:3). The goal of creation was for God to dwell in fellowship and communion with those who are created in His image. I call this the Emmanuel Principle (“Emmanuel” = “God with us”). The fall into sin disrupted the Emmanuel Principle, for God cannot dwell in the presence of sin. That’s why Adam and Eve were barred from the Garden and terrifying angels placed to guard the way. The Emmanuel Principle was symbolized and typified with the tabernacle (and later the temple) as God dwelled with His people, albeit in a veiled manner. The Emmanuel Principle was personified in Jesus Christ, who is God with us, the true Emmanuel, and the fulfillment of the temple imagery (John 2:19-21). The promises of the Emmanuel Principle are sealed to us in the Holy Spirit as we both individually and collectively are a temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). The consummation of the Emmanuel Principle is seen in the imagery of the New Heaven and New Earth, the New Jerusalem. Note what John sees in Revelation 21:22, “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”

So, yes, Jesus is still 100% God and 100% man. He is now at the right hand of God the Father almighty in heaven right now. He will return bodily and in glory to bring this current evil age to an end and consummate the age to come. In the New Jerusalem, the Emmanuel Principle finds its ultimate fulfillment as God, in the glorified Christ, will dwell with His people for all eternity. This is our hope.

I hope this helps.

~ Pastor Carl