When I taught a theology of Heaven class, I was asked, “How accessible will Jesus be to us on the New Earth?” Here’s the video of my answer, and below is an edited transcript, with some added thoughts:
If indeed Jesus is the eternally incarnate son of God and still has His resurrection body, doesn’t that mean He can only be at one place at one time on Earth? When Jesus was in Caesarea Philippi, He was not also in Jerusalem healing the multitudes. He was in one place at one time. That’s part of His humanness. Will it be that same way on the New Earth?
God the Father: everywhere present. The Holy Spirit: everywhere present. Now, is it possible that God the Son will elect for eternity to restrict His attributes as He did while on Earth: still 100% God but choosing not to use His omnipresence.
On the one hand, Jesus is forever incarnate, and humans are finite and limited to one location. On the other hand, Jesus is God, and God is infinite and omnipresent. In a sense, then, one of these truths has to yield somewhat to the other. Perhaps Christ’s humanity defined the extent of His presence in His first coming and life on Earth (humanity thereby eclipsing deity by limiting omnipresence). But Christ’s deity may well define the extent of His presence in His second coming and life on the New Earth (deity thereby eclipsing the normal human inability to be in two places at once). Jesus has and always will have a single resurrected body, in keeping with His humanity. Yet that body glorified may allow Him a far greater expression of His divine attributes than during His life and ministry here on Earth.
Jesus may choose to limit His omnipresence. Or would His omnipresence be manifested in a physical presence in a multitude of places, unlike when He was restricted on Earth to one place? If God took on human form any number of times, as recorded in Scripture, couldn’t Christ choose to take on a form to manifest Himself to us at a distant place? If He did that, might He not take on a temporary form very similar in appearance to His actual physical form, which may at that moment be sitting on the throne in the New Jerusalem? Might Jesus appear to us and walk with us in a temporary but tangible form that is an expression of His real body? Or might the one body of Jesus be simultaneously present with His people in a million places?
Might we walk with Jesus (not just spiritually, but also physically) while millions of others are also walking with Him? Might we not be able to touch His hand or embrace Him or spend a long afternoon privately conversing with Him—not just with His spirit, but His whole person?
Well, that’s possible, though it seems a little bizarre: So, you’re walking along, having a conversation with Jesus, and you look over and there’s your friend also having a conversation with Jesus!
It may defy our logic, but God is capable of doing far more than we imagine. Being with Christ is the very heart of Heaven, so we should be confident that we will have unhindered access to Him.
Since we can accurately say that Jesus’ functioning as a man does not prohibit Him from being God, we must also say that Jesus’ functioning as God does not prohibit Him from being a man. So, although we cannot conceive exactly how it could happen, I believe it’s entirely possible that Jesus could in the future remain a man while fully exercising the attributes of God, including, at least in some sense, omnipresence.
On the New Earth, isn’t it likely we might regularly hear Him speak to us directly as He dwells in and with us, wherever we are? Prayer might be an unhindered two-way conversation, whether we are hundreds of miles away in another part of the New Jerusalem, thousands of miles away on another part of the New Earth, or thousands of light years away in the new universe. We just don’t know—there’s no way to know…yet.
This is what I do know: God will be 100% available to us. We’re told “right now” we can crawl up into His lap, so to speak, and say Abba! Father! Papa! Daddy!
We can come boldly before the throne of grace. He wants us to. He wants us to be with Him. We now have the indwelling Holy Spirit of God and we’re also told, “…Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Well, how can Christ be in me right now while He’s in His resurrected body at the right hand of God? That would be a clear example of Him exercising a sort of omnipresence. Even if He’s not physically here in my heart, He is actually here in my heart, and in your heart and in all the places we go and in all the people in the world who know Him. That suggests omnipresence.
For more on the subject of Heaven, see Randy’s book Heaven. You can also browse additional resources on Heaven.
Photo by asap rocky on Unsplash