Just half an hour ago, I watched an amazing video that had a visualization of a baby's development from conception to birth. Afterwards, as I went about satisfying bodily needs (like food), I had one line from Silent Night running through my head: "Jesus, Lord at thy birth." Then I suddenly had the realization that if the Son was in that fetus as it developed, He may not have been conscious for nine months.

I was surprised to find out that I was the one who previously asked when a person's soul/spirit unites with the body. Apparently, the official position is that it happens at conception. If this is true, then the Son united with His zygotic body at conception, which I assume could correctly be referred to as the Hypostatic Union. Thus, my question is: was the Son "conscious" while He was developing in Mary's womb?

A non-birth example would be when Jesus and his disciples went across the lake after feeding 5,000 men:

Matthew 8:24 (NLT)
24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.

Jesus was sleeping, so his physical brain certainly would've been unconscious. Multiple times, Jesus made it clear that he didn't use his own divine power (having emptied himself, as Paul explains), depending instead on the Spirit's power and his Father's commands. Did this also apply while he was asleep? Was the Son also "asleep" while Jesus slept?

Basically, what I'm trying to ask here is: did the Hypostatic Union limit the consciousness of the Son? Of course, even trying to apply the term "conscious" to God is a bit wibbly-wobbly, but I think the gist is clear.

I would most appreciate writings from the great theologians of the church up to the Great Schism, but if an answer would be better by referencing a later great theologian, then the closer to Wesleyan, the better. Regardless, Roman Catholic and/or Orthodox writings are fine as sources.

  • ... timey-wimey ... Apr 23, 2013 at 5:21
  • Yes, the Son was asleep. There is no "Son" apart from Jesus. Jesus is the Son, so the Son was asleep. Jesus has a human mind and an infinite Divine mind (see here and here). Omniscience is something beyond what we can know as consciousness. He was both unconscious and omniscient (and omnipotent). His humanity "allowed" Him to be both conscious and unconscious in a human way.
    – Alypius
    Apr 23, 2013 at 8:23
  • 1
    Keep in mind that with humans, we don't have a pre-existing nor inherently immortal soul. This idea comes from Platonism and was rejected by the early Church (i.e. one of the reasons Origen was denounced as a heretic).
    – Dan
    Jun 3, 2013 at 17:13

2 Answers 2


I think you're asking questions about "the Son" that can't be answered without "dividing the question", as they say in parliamentary procedure. That is, you simply have to ask the question about Jesus' divine nature and His human nature separately. I'm not saying that we need to separate the two natures of Jesus - that's heretical. I'm saying that they are distinct but not separate, without mixture or confusion, as the Definition of Chalcedon teaches us:

This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures, unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, inseparably [united], and that without the distinction of natures being taken away by such union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature being preserved and being united in one Person and subsistence, not separated or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-begotten, God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ,...

The divine nature of Jesus is omniscient, and the hypostatic union surely does not change the fact that the divine nature still knows everything. The human nature of Jesus, while on earth, slept at times, and that sleep was normal human sleep.


Here is an interesting Bible verse that shows that Jesus was omnipresent while on earth:

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. -- (John 3:13, KJV)

Here we learn that Jesus was in heaven while talking to Nicodemus! We also learn in John 1 that Jesus saw Philip under the fig tree when this was physically impossible. This shows that Jesus was omnipresent and omniscient while on earth.

Jesus did not "empty Himself" of His divine power. Rather, the KJV states that He "made himself of no reputation" (Philippians 2:7). He concealed much of His power and glory while on earth, but that doesn't mean He didn't have it. While on earth, He said,

No man taketh it [Jesus' life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. -- (John 10:18)

And Paul wrote in Colossians 2:9:

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

So Christ never gave up His power--just His reputation. He was 100% God and 100% man.

And so to directly answer your question--Jesus was conscious, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, while in the womb.

  • 3
    But if he was omnipresent during his time on earth, why was there the agony of separation while he was on the cross?
    – SSumner
    Apr 23, 2013 at 13:42
  • @SSumner -- I'm not sure how that works. The Trinity is impossible for me to understand, but I believe it. God's thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours--we just have to trust what He says in His Word. Apr 23, 2013 at 15:43
  • See the last paragraph of my question. I'm not asking for exegesis, which is all you've got here. Apr 23, 2013 at 19:10
  • @PeterRankin: I would qualify your statements a bit more. The divine nature of Jesus is omnipresent, omniscient, etc., as are all three Persons of the Trinity. However, the human nature of Jesus is limited in space the same way all people are. So I take the John 3:13 passage with Nicodemus to be either talking about the divine nature of Jesus, or His human nature at a different time. Jun 3, 2013 at 16:22

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