Christians belief that God exists in three persons, although being just one entity. One of them is the Father who created the visible and the invisible world. I understand, that the Father was just active in the beginning. He does not interact with the world as of now. (Maybe he's doing something people can not explain. But maybe this is done by the Holy Spirit - the third in the club...) The Holy Spirit is another person. This is all the good thoughts. This is still active in the world in many people. This is how God interacts with people.

And there is/was Jesus. Jesus was both fully human and fully god. He was crucified but was resurrected after three days and some time later ascended to heavens.

As God is also in heaven, the question is if there is any need for the son as separate person anymore. Or has this person rather united with the father, as the need to also be fully human is not there anymore, as Jesus is not on earth?

To be more precise: What evidence is there that Jesus is still a separate person, even after his ascension? What are the reasons Christians believe that?

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    The question says 'we christians believe . . . . ' Which ' christians' are 'not absolutely sure that Jesus still exists as a separate person' ? Are these trinitarians ? Binitarians ? Unitarians ? I am not clear as to whom are being asked the question. What 'credo' is being cited ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 22:22
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    This is not in the standard form expected for this site. It contains 10 questions, but there should be only one question in the Body and it should be the same as the Title question. The question(s) also assume a religious belief on the part of those that will answer it, but it should be asked in a way that could be answered in the same objective way by Hindus, Atheists, and Baptists. Questions are generally in the form "How do [denomination] explain [doctrine], when it appears to contradict [scripture]?". You may have a good question, but it needs to be asked from a specific view. Commented May 30, 2023 at 0:42
  • Yes, that's a fair point. I'll rephrase my question after I am back home from work. Please excuse the wrong format.
    – TomS
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 5:24
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    Having provided a longish and possibly a "throw the kitchen sink" style answer for your question and having read your comments to @NigelJ's answer (which I don't think quite address what you're trying to ask, which is the theological explanation behind the verses he cited), I think I understand what you're aiming for: the relevance of the post-ascension Jesus's human nature: his continued involvement with us, collectively the bride of the bridegroom who is currently "away". Commented May 30, 2023 at 11:28
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    I suggest you target a perspective (such as Trinitarian) and secondly, clarify the focus buried behind the sub-questions. If the above is indeed your purpose, then the question title should change to something like "For Trinitarians, why is it important to posit Jesus's human nature continued existence post ascension?" and then modify / eliminate your sub-questions accordingly, such as by connecting your sub-questions of "separateness" and "existence" of Jesus's post-ascension the human nature to that topic. Once you edit, I can trim down & focus my "kitchen sink" answer. Commented May 30, 2023 at 11:35

5 Answers 5


The Model

Before I studied theology as a layman (I'm a software engineer by training), I used to have those questions too, even though I was raised a Christian. I'm going to answer from the Trinitarian perspective by presenting a model that has helped me tremendously

  • to understand the inner life of the Trinity (from the limited revelation God has given us)
  • the Trinity's relationship to the human Jesus
  • the Trinity & Jesus's divine mission to the world

through the lens of Nicaea and Chalcedonian formulas and the Church Fathers's reflection:

  1. Method: How do we know? We are guided by the human being Jesus and what he did and what he said, in the context of the previous revelation of God recorded in the OT, which Jesus fulfilled IN PERSON. By the ONE God incarnating in a human person, God stoops down to our level so we can KNOW and LOVE Jesus (and by extension, God) in a mode appropriate to our nature, a CREATED being. Some of the most important Biblical foundation: John 17:1-5 and John 17:21-23.

  2. What's the relationship between the 3 "persons" of the Trinity? There are many models, but the most helpful to me is the time-tested Aquinas's subsistent relations model where:

    • the KNOWING of God the Father eternally generated the LOGOS, which in turn became the pattern in all creation as all creatures participated in God, from inanimate mountain to vegetation to animals to rational human beings to angels. The preceding is a theological elaboration of what Col 1:15-17 says.
    • the LOVING of God the Father and of the Son eternally spirated the HOLY SPIRIT, which becomes to source of all human loves which started corrupted because of the Fall, but if we are willing to cooperate, can become the source of grace so our loves can be made more and more like Christ's love.
  3. Are there two beings (Jesus and the Logos)? No. Jesus is a CREATED human being OF GOD (like an avatar, but more than this), but this 100% genuine human being is in hypostatic union with the UNCREATED God, thus preserving the ONE being, starting with his conception in Virgin Mary and continues to all eternity. The key concept is how God the Word who has always existed (even "before" universe was created) and who by nature is Spirit (John 4:24) has assumed flesh (adding the created human nature of Christ, John 1:14) without losing any of His divine nature. Navigating through much misconceptions in the first 400 years, the church fathers settled on the Chalcedonian formula: one person, two natures. Thus Jesus operates in BOTH divine and human mode, sometimes divine only, sometimes human only, and sometimes both.

  4. What's the relation between eternity (Trinitarian God) and time (Jesus)? Understood philosophically, Jesus's human nature and his acts in history is a temporal effect of God who exists for all eternity (both outside time AND encompasses all points of time in the temporal universe). If I remember correctly, Boethius got the credit for this explanation, which subsequent church fathers and theologians adopted.

  5. Why Jesus had to die? The main purpose (besides the obvious one to become the eternal Passover Lamb whom God provided out of love to pay for our sins) is solidarity and compassion. This is so we have a HUMAN EXAMPLE on how to live out God's own love and compassion for our neighbors (Jesus lived what he preached and commanded). The lecture by Fr. Thomas Joseph White (Aquinas on the Incarnation: part 1, part 2) beautifully show how it is appropriate and fitting that we are saved and glorified through God's INCARNATION in Jesus.

Answering your specific questions

  • Does Jesus still exist? Yes, the human nature of Jesus exists forever and Jesus now sits "at the right hand" of God the Father until he comes again to judge the quick and the dead (Apostle's creed).
  • The Father was just active in the beginning. This is a misconception. Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are all united in mind and will for all time. Don't confuse this with progressive revelation, where God the Father had the "starring role" in the OT, Jesus in the gospels, and the Holy Spirit in the church today. Every act of Jesus and the Holy Spirit as part of the divine mission in the world is the act of the whole Trinity (i.e. Father was never excluded).
  • Everything he did and everything he was intended to do has been done. Another misconception. Since I was a child I was taught to sing "What a Friend we have in Jesus" and to pray to Jesus. Since I was a teenager I was taught that Jesus is present in the Lord's supper. And for Catholics, Jesus is especially present in the Eucharist. Then when I learned theology, the concept of being united in Jesus applies in this age as well (!!) because this is the basis for our receiving life from Jesus our Savior. Jesus told us that he is the bread of life and that we ask God for our daily bread, which means in our life on earth.
  • ... How comparable is this then really to us? The right way to think this is that Jesus in his human nature is exactly like us (but without sin) and his CREATURELINESS is on par with us, so in this regard he IS comparable to us. But since Jesus's human nature was ADDED to his preexisting divinity, he IS ALSO MORE THAN US, possessing the divine grace that can sanctify us and can lift us out of corruption (death, proclivity to sin, selfishness, etc.). You have a good point though, that although by the Holy Spirit we are being made to conform more and more like the HUMAN Christ, even in our glorified state after we die, we will forever remain a CREATURE just like the glorified human being of Jesus Christ today.
  • Why are we sure he still exists as a separate person? It's wrong to say Jesus is a "separate person": there is only one person and one being who operates in two natures. So we can rephrase your question as: "Why are we sure he still exists in the flesh?" Because the Bible says so: Jesus is the "Son of Man" is understood by Trinitarians to mean the human nature of Jesus. The Son of Man will come again, in his human nature (but who is also God). In a crude way, we can think Jesus as the "human extension of God", an added nature since the Virginal conception. It's a Nestorian heresy to think Jesus was born a human and THEN indwelt by God; Jesus was Logos FIRST, then assumed human nature.
  • Why couldn't he have united with the Father as soon as his mission on earth was completed? Again, a misconception. Trinitarian theology holds that since conception Jesus's human nature is perfectly united with the Trinity, which is a model of a saved human being who ALSO has the Trinitarian life inside us. It's just Jesus since conception has a perfect unity while we are still a work in progress. Maybe the misunderstanding has to do with Jesus not only assuming a human nature, he was ALSO assuming a low status of being a servant ON PURPOSE (for solidarity with the weakest and the most downtrodden of us) but God lifted Jesus to glory after accomplishing his human mission on the cross.
  • Why do we pray to Jesus Christ and not to God? In the Trinitarian and Chalcedonian understanding, there is only ONE being that manifests to us in THREE "person". Our prayer is then tailored to our different circumstances addressing different "person" appropriately. So when we are persecuted because of Jesus, it's natural to address our prayer to Jesus who suffered on the cross because of who he was. When we are aware that we need more grace to overcome our selfishness, we pray to the Holy Spirit to give us more love (as Holy Spirit is love). When we are thankful of the beautiful nature, we pray to God the Father the Creator. When we want to know the truth we pray to God the Son (the Logos). Etc.

For Further Study

First, I highly recommend these 2 interviews with a Trinitarian scholar Fr. Thomas J. White. These 2 interviews have been tremendously helpful for me to answer common questions modern people have on the Trinity and the Incarnation:

  1. Thomas Joseph White on Tough Trinity Questions

  2. Thomas Joseph White on Tough Christology Questions

Next I highly recommend listening to the following lectures from the Thomistic Institute (which I indexed here) which gives us practical consequences of the above model for our spiritual life:

  1. Christ and the Sharing of Divine Communion in Cyril of Alexandria about how through adoption and through communion we are participating and sharing the Trinitarian life. We can do this because we are united to the glorified human Christ who not only still alive, but will be forever more. If the hope in 1 Cor 15 is true, we too, will have a glorified human body as well as reaching the next level of participation in the Trinitarian life, which includes the beatific vision.

  2. Divine Indwelling and the Presence of God about how God is present to us in at least 3 ways, and how we can increase our awareness of his presence and allowing God to sanctify us (because the source of holiness, the Trinitarian life given to us, is IN our souls).

  3. The Heart of Salvation: Christ and the Christian in the Macarian Writings about sanctification, as the Trinitarian life inside us helps us to battle our sinful nature.

  4. The Cross as Revelation of the Divine Life in Gregory the Great about the intimate relationship between compassionating with others (modelled after Jesus) with better path to increased contemplation and potential for beatific vision on earth.

  • Thank you very much for this great expansion am for the many links! This is really interesting to read ... although not exactly what I was asking for (because of my poorly worded question), but still very interesting. I think I have many more questions and some of them are answered in your links. I am not sure if it is a good idea to think about those details, as they are not really important for the whole. But as (also) a software engineer, I'd like to know how things work behind to better understand backgrounds and motivations...
    – TomS
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 21:15
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    @TomS I'm glad you were able to find what you're looking for (by the accepted answer). My answer focuses more on the practical significance as well as theological explanation on the unity of the subject acting in the dual nature God Incarnate. If later you're also interested in the mode of Jesus's human nature post-ascension presence in the world, this paper and this book (which I'm currently reading) can serve as a good historical & theological overview. Commented May 31, 2023 at 14:53

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. [Revelation 1:18 KJV]

We Christians believe that Jesus Christ is alive - now and for ever - because we hear his word and we believe it. And we are aware of His Presence within, in Holy Spirit, as the scriptures testify . . . .

Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? [2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV]

And if it be the bodily resurrection of Christ that is disbelieved then there is ample evidence in the scripture . . . . .

Ten Bible Verses Concerning "Doubting the Resurrection" of Jesus Christ

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    Yes, he IS alive. But really as the human being and as a different person? He still lives in God and united with the father maybe?
    – TomS
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 4:25
  • @TomS See my edit regarding the doubting of the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 4:31
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    @TomS Yes, it is still true that 'I and the Father are One'. Yet it is also true that 'they held him by the feet and worshipped him' - after he rose from the dead, bodily.Matthew 28:9.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 4:33
  • that was before ascension,
    – TomS
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 4:37
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    @TomS He ascended as he was resurrected. And it is promised that he will return in like manner, Acts 1:11. Not to know the risen and ascended Christ is to be in danger of embracing a false spirit.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 4:40

9 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened. (Acts 9:1-19)

The account of Paul meeting Jesus on the Damascus Road proves two things:

  • Jesus still exists
  • It matters that Jesus still exists

The largest proportion of the New Testament was written by a man who was visited by Jesus after he ascended into heaven. Christophanies are rare but have conveyed profound blessings to the church. For many years I attended a prayer meeting with an elderly gentleman named Ross who once lost his sight in an accident. The Lord visited him in his hospital room. Jesus stood at the end of his bed, saying not a word. My friend's sight was restored, he saw Jesus standing there, and then he was gone. Knowing my friend's character and the fact that he led a godly life of consistent Christian service for a half a century or more after his encounter with Jesus, I believe what he told me.

That is one reason to worship the risen Christ.

  • Yes, that is what I was searching for! I already knew that part, but did not remember. This is the proof that Jesus still exists as person even after ascension. Or - how @GratefulDisciple put it - that God still uses the Avatar oder "human mode" even though he is not on earth anymore. This is also used in heaven.
    – TomS
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 21:08

We pray " In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit " ( Note the preposition 'of ' prefixed to each Person of the Trinity ! ). We do not pray " In the name of the Father and of Jesus...." . To elaborate, Jesus is the name by which we human beings recognise the Son of God . If you have a doubt on whether the Son of God exists, you should first doubt if God the Father exists.

  • I have no doubt that he existed as Son of God. As human here on earth. But he is gone now. He is there where the father is. But does he then still have to exist as a separate person? He used to as he was on earth. But the son's mission is done now and he could have united with the father in lack of any need for his separate existence. Why do we know he's still an own person within the trinity? It's not that I don't believe ist, it's just WHY do we believe that? Where is that written? Or who said that initially? Has anyone seen Jesus after his ascension maybe? 🤔
    – TomS
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 4:36
  • Read Mtt 28:19-20 twice; first from start to end and secondly , from end to start. But please do not say that the end of the world which Jesus refers to in Verse 20 is already over ! Commented May 30, 2023 at 5:21

Here is what the Bible says about Jesus Christ's continued existence:

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8)

That should settle it!

  • Does the same also include the "person-ship"? He's the same God, well, that's clear. But must he then still be "personally" separated from the father? And what you write is what Paul wrote. But how does he know that? How could he have deduced that?
    – TomS
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 4:29
  • @TomS . . . . . because Paul believed the account of the apostles who witnessed the resurrected Lord. And because Paul experienced the presence of Jesus Christ when (and after when) he was converted.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 4:37
  • I do don't doubt the resurrection. But I would like to understand why Jesus needs to be a separate person after his ascension. He was surely a separate person after he rose from the death, but as he went back to the father, why do we believe he's still different from the father although he's returned to him?
    – TomS
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 4:41
  • If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. John 14:23. We will come to him. And make our abode with him. Plural. Two Divine Persons are experienced.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 4:47

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