Does Jesus' resurrection change the substance of the Father and the Holy Spirit?

by Matt Slick

Email: "I have a question about Jesus and if he was resurrected in a glorified body, then doesn't this change the substance of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit? Aren't the Father and Holy Spirit just that , Spirits and if Jesus has a glorified body , well I hope you see where I'm going with this."

Response: The first thing you need to understand is what we call the Hypostatic Union. This is the technical theological term for the doctrine that Jesus has two natures: divine and human. At the incarnation, the word which was God, added human nature to itself and became man in a person of Christ. This means that when you look at Jesus, you see a human but within him is also a divine nature. Supporting Scriptures for this are:

  • John 1:1, 14, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
  • Colossians 2:9, "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form."
  • Heb. 1:3, "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word."

When Jesus died, the human nature died--not the divine. Likewise, when Jesus rose from the dead, it is the physical body that was raised in a glorified state--not the divine nature. It was the same physical body of Jesus that rose from the dead (John 2:19-21; Luke 24:39) with the same wounds, yet it was also glorified. The resurrection of Christ does not alter the substance of the Trinity because the Trinity is not physical, and the fact that Jesus has a physical nature does not mean that the divine Trinity is also physical in any way. Jesus the person, via his divine nature, participates in the Trinity.

Now, at the risk of sounding too technical I need to introduce another concept called the Communicatio Idiomatum. This is a Latin term for "the communication of the properties." All this means is that the attributes of the divine nature and the attributes of the human nature were both ascribed to the person of Christ. In other words, Jesus would lay claim to the divine nature's attributes by claiming to have preexisted with God the Father in glory (John 17:3; John 3:13), to be able to forgive sins (Luke 5:20), to be called divine (John 20:28; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:8), know all things (John 21:17) etc., yet we would also find the obvious human traits such as Jesus getting tired, becoming hungry, wearing clothes, etc. So what we see is the single person of Jesus was laying claim to the attributes of both natures. This is an important doctrine because it means that the man Jesus was able to offer a sacrifice of infinite value (being divine) even though the divine nature did not die. Remember, the person of Christ died; and the person of Christ was able to lay claim to the divine attributes as well as the human. Therefore, when we see Jesus, the man, who died on the cross, we see the person who died; and the person was of infinite value because the divine attributes were attributed to that person. Yet, this does not mean that the holy Trinity possessed physical attributes because the physical attributes of Jesus belong to the person of Christ alone and not the Father nor the Holy Spirit.

Likewise, this means that when Jesus rose from the dead in his physical body, it is only the person of Jesus who was physically raised in a glorified body and not the Father nor the Holy Spirit. The divine nature of Christ never perished and never ceased being part of the Trinity, but the divine nature was not raised.  It is only the physical nature that died and was resurrected, and that death and resurrection did not have any substantive effect or alteration upon the nature of the Trinity.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.