Is Jesus Omnipresent?

Is Jesus omnipresent?  It is one of those questions of the incarnation that I often put in the “too hard, I will work it out after the resurrection when I see him face to face” category (note to self: I really should find a shorter label for that).

Here is the tension:  Jesus humbles himself to a man (Phil 2:6-11).  So while he is God, he chooses to become a human being, with all the restrictions that go along with it: getting tired (John 4:6), getting hungry (Matt 4:2) and dying (Mark 15:37).  Part of that restriction is being confined physically to a human body in terms of time and space.  He continues to have a human body at the resurrection, which is part of the point (Luke 24:39).  At his ascension, Jesus is described as being at the right hand of God (Heb 1:3, 8:1, 12:2), awaiting for the day when he will return and judge the world.

Does this mean that Jesus is restricted to this presence?  That he continues is that that volunteer confined state? We do know that the Holy Spirit is sent when he ascends (John 16:7) and the presence of God is with us when that happens.  But this does not answer the question about Jesus, particularly.  

On the other hand of the tension: God is omnipresent and in Jesus, the “fullness of deity lives in bodily form” (Col 2:9 see also Eph 1:23, Col 1:19).  Hence for Jesus have the fullness of God, he would have to have all the characteristics of God, including his omnipresence. How does this resolve in Jesus being in the Incarnation?

This is where I began my work.

There are several points that Jesus is not merely talking about his presence of being with the disciples not just through the mediation of the Spirit but he, himself, will be there in his heavenly session (Matt 18:20, 28:20).  Then we also have the experience of Paul meeting Jesus face to face on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:5, See Acts 18:10, 1 Cor 15:8, Gal 1:16).  Jesus was able to meet Paul and remain on his seat at the right hand of God at the same time.  

The resolution to this is to remember that the Incarnation is not merely that Jesus is God who becomes a man, he is God who remains God and becomes a man.  That he would be merely restricted to a human body is a concept that John Calvin considers absurd:

“They thrust upon us as something absurd the fact that if the Word of God became flesh, then he was confined within the narrow prison of an earthly body. This is mere impudence! For even if the Word in his immeasurable essence united with the nature of man into one person, we do not imagine that he was confined therein. Here is something marvelous: the Son of God descended from heaven in such a way that, without leaving heaven, he willed to be borne in the virgin’s womb, to go about the earth, and to hang upon the cross; yet he continuously filled the world even as he had done from the beginning!” Calvin, Institutes II.13.4

Jesus is both human and God in all his fullness, including his omnipresence.  My assumption that Jesus was “confined physically to a human body in terms of time and space” was a false assumption.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s