III. Has Christ always sat at the right hand of God?

The curiosity of man, which is disposed to pry into everything, makes it necessary for us to say something in relation to this question. In speaking upon it, however, we must distinguish as to the natures of Christ, and then as to time.

First, Christ has always sat at the right hand of the Father as it respects his Godhead, if we understand this phrase to mean that he reigns in equal power with the Father, and that he is endowed with equal honor and glory; for his divine nature was from everlasting equal to the Father in honor and power. The same thing is true if we understand the phrase, to sit at the right hand of God to signify that Christ is the Head of the church; for the Son was always that person by whom the Father governed all things from the beginning, as he also created all things by him. In this sense Christ was placed at the right hand of the Father by his eternal generation. Secondly, Christ was always at the right hand of God according to his Divinity, by virtue of his appointment to the office of mediator which was made from everlasting. This appointment had respect even to his divine nature from the beginning. Thirdly, the same may be said of the Godhead of Christ, from the fact that he commenced to execute, and has executed the office of mediator from the very beginning of the world.

But Christ, according to his Divinity, was placed at the right hand of the Father after his ascension into heaven, in as far as his Godhead then began to manifest itself gloriously in his human nature in which it had concealed itself, so to speak, during the time of his humiliation. For when Christ lived on earth his Godhead had also humbled itself, not, indeed, by becoming weaker, but only by veiling and not openly manifesting itself. Christ was, therefore also as to his divine nature, placed at the right hand of the Father in this sense, that he then laid down that humility which he had taken upon himself for our sakes, and made an open declaration of that glory which he had with the Father before the foundation of the world, but which he had concealed during the time of his humiliation; he was exalted we say, by manifesting, and not by adding anything to his Godhead which it did not before possess, nor by making it more powerful or glorious, nor by declaring it before God, but before men, and by fully and freely claiming his own right, which his Divinity had, as it were, given up in assuming our nature. Hence he says, “And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5.) This glory of which Christ here speaks, he had not with men. He therefore prays, that as he always had this with the Father, so he might also manifest it unto men. This, however, is not to be understood in such a sense as though the Word underwent any change as to his Divinity, but only in the sense in which we have already explained it.

In reference, however, to his humanity, Christ was then according to this, first placed at the right hand of the Father, when he ascended into heaven. It was at this time that he obtained his glorification, when he received that which he had not before. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory.” (Luke 24:26.)

Obj. 1. He who sits at the right hand of God is everywhere. Christ sits at the right hand of God. Therefore he is everywhere.

Ans. This may be granted in respect to the person of Christ, by the communication of properties. But if any one infers the same thing also in regard to his humanity, there will be more in the conclusion than in the premises.
Obj. 2. The right hand of God is everywhere. The human nature of Christ is at the right hand of God. Therefore it is everywhere. Ans. We deny the conclusion which is here drawn; because there are four terms in this syllogism. The right hand of God. and to sit at his right hand are not the same. The minor proposition should be thus expressed:

The human nature of Christ is the right hand of God. But if thus expressed it is not true. Again, the major proposition is not absolutely true; for a part of Christ’s sitting at the right hand of God, is that visible glory and majesty with which his human nature is adorned, and with which Stephen saw him crowned in heaven. This is not everywhere, but only in that place where his body is.

Obj. 3. Christ ascended above all heavens that he might fill all things, that is, with the presence of his humanity.

Ans. This is a false interpretation of the words of the Apostle, Eph. 4: 10. He ascended that he might fill all things with his gifts and graces, but not with his flesh, skin and bones, which would, indeed, be monstrous and unreasonable, and give the devil occasion to bring the glory of God in derision.

Obj. 4. That nature which is endowed with omnipotence is everywhere. The humanity of Christ is endowed with omnipotence. Therefore it is everywhere.

Ans. That nature is, indeed, everywhere which is endowed with omnipotence, by a real transfusion or communication of properties, but not that which is endowed with it by a personal union. There are, how ever, many things conferred upon the humanity of Christ by real transfusion, viz, other qualities than those which he had in his humiliation and upon the cross. For there were far more and greater gifts conferred upon his human nature after his ascension, than were conferred either upon angels or men. In respect to this bestowment of these gifts Christ, according to his humanity, was placed at the right hand of God: but according to his Divinity, he is said to be placed at the right hand of the Father, in as far as this was glorified, and in as far as he, being taken up into heaven, manifested the same in his flesh, and has obtained the perfection of glory, and the highest degree of glorification in the manner already explained.