Is Jesus Omnipresent?

Q. Was Jesus omnipresent when He was a human being? Before His crucifixion, He said Luke 22:69 “But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” Was He also in heaven at the right hand side of the Father during the whole time when He was on earth ?

A. This is an interesting question. Jesus has two natures, a divine nature as God, & a human nature as man. These two natures are united in the one person Jesus, called hypostatic union in theology.

As a man, Jesus can only be at one place at a time i.e. his human nature is not omnipresent. However, as God, & the Son never ceased to be God when He became man, Christ is omnipresent i.e. his divine nature is omnipresent. The one person Jesus Christ shares both natures, so we can say Jesus Christ is omnipresent, though His human body was not.

Was Christ in heaven while Jesus was on earth? My opinion is yes, though His physical body was not.

Jesus Never Change?

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Q. You said God never change. Then how can Jesus become a man forever after the incarnation? Isn’t that change?

A. The immutability of God is an attribute where “God is unchanging in his character, will, and covenant promises.” This is based on a number of Scriptures:

Num 23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
•1 Sam 15:29 Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”
• Ps 102:26 Even they will perish, but You endure; …
• Mal 3:6 For I, the LORD, do not change; …
• Heb 6:17-18 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.
• Jas 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Notice that all the passages refer to God’s character, will, and promise. Immutability does not mean that God is static and therefore never changes. God is dynamic, but always acts according to His nature. He won’t act contrary to His character.

What about Jesus? In the incarnation, God the Son took on human nature and became man. The Council of Chalcedon (AD 451) declared that in Christ there are two natures, deity and humanity, each retaining its own properties, and together united in one subsistence and in one single person (hypostatic union). The Word was unchanged as He entered a union with sinless human nature in a physical body:
Col 2:9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
God the Son did not change His divine nature at the incarnation. His deity did not mix or blend with His humanity, which would necessitate change. Instead, His deity resides in His humanity in the Person of Christ.

With respect to His divine nature, Jesus as God is immutable or unchanging:
2 Tim 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
• Heb 1:12 … But you remain the same, and your years will never end.
• Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Nothing of His character, will and promise changed as a result of the incarnation.

With respect to His human nature, Jesus as man is mutable or subject to change:
Lk 2:40 The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; …
• Jn 4:6 … So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. …
• Lk 22:44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

He could grow, get tired, suffer, and die.

One question remains. How did this union happen? I don’t know, because the Bible didn’t explain. All I can say is that God chose not to reveal to us, perhaps because we do not have the capacity to understand it. It is a mystery, but not a contradiction. It is easier to understand if the two natures blend together to form a hybrid, but that’s not what the Bible taught. Just as the Trinity is a mystery, so is the incarnation. I can go only as far as the Bible reveals it, the rest is hidden from us, which I accept by faith.

The Incarnation a Contradiction?

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Q. I don’t understand you Christians. You say Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. Isn’t that a contradiction? 100% God leaves 0% man. 100% man means 0% God. You can’t have 200% of a single person. Don’t you mean 50-50, or some other combination adding up to 100%? You can’t have it both ways!

A. I’ve heard the accusation that the Incarnation is a contradiction in other forms. For example, as God Christ is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent etc. As man, Christ is not omnipotent, not omniscient, not omnipresent etc. You can’t be both at the same time. Isn’t this a contradiction? You can’t have your cake and eat it too!

No, this is not a contradiction. When we say Jesus is fully God, we mean He has all the fullness of Deity:
* Col 1:19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
* Col 2:9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,

Although fullness means 100%, it is not additive. For example, I am 100% my father’s son, and 100% my children’s father, but that does not mean I am 200% of a father-son hybrid. You cannot sum them.

Secondly, according to the law of non-contradiction, in order for there to be a real contradiction, something needs to be both true and not true at the same time in the same respects. Otherwise you only have an apparent contradiction or paradox, not a true one.

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The Incarnation states that Jesus the Son of God took on human flesh i.e. became man. He thus has two natures, a divine nature and a human nature. His divine nature has infinite power, knowledge, and is not limited in space and time. His human nature, however, is finite and has limited power, knowledge, and subject to limitations of space and time. So He is at the same time God in His divine nature, and human (not God) in His human nature. There is no contradiction as we are referring to two different natures. It would only be a contradiction if He is both God and not-God at the same time within His divine nature, or both man and not-man at the same time within His human nature, but that’s not what the doctrine states, hence no contradiction.

Jesus’ Two Natures (2 of 2)

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(Continued from yesterday)

What caused His distress and trouble? What made Him grieved to the point of death, such that His sweat became like drops of blood? The text clearly pointed to “this cup”. Jesus already referred to this “cup” prior to Gethsemane, so it wasn’t something He didn’t know about:

Mt 20:22-23a But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.” He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; …
• Mk 10:38-39 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.

He referred to it again during His arrest:
Jn 18:11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

What is this cup? It is not death because Jesus prophesied about His death quite some time ago. He was not afraid of dying. The cup is a well-known figure of the wrath and judgment of God in the OT, called “the cup of His fury” or “the cup of trembling”, poured out on His enemy:

Isa 51:17 Awake, awake! Stand up, O Jerusalem, You who have drunk at the hand of the LORD The cup of His fury; You have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling, And drained it out.
• Isa 51:22 Thus says your Lord, The LORD and your God, Who pleads the cause of His people: “See, I have taken out of your hand The cup of trembling, The dregs of the cup of My fury; You shall no longer drink it.
• Jer 25:15 For thus the LORD, the God of Israel, says to me, “Take this cup of the wine of wrath from My hand and cause all the nations to whom I send you to drink it.

We as sinners are to drink of God’s cup of fury, but Jesus who knew no sin took our sins upon Himself and became sin on our behalf. He drank our cup i.e. took our punishment so that we do not have to drink it:
2 Co 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

The agony was not due to fear of pain that He was about to suffer from crucifixion, the most cruel form of torture invented by men, as He endured that with joy:

Heb 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

It was due to the weight of the sins of the whole world (1 Jn 2:2) crushing down on Him. Yet throughout His agony His words were “not as I will, but as You will”. He submitted to the Father’s will. He did not shrink back as a result of His human nature. There was no struggle between the two natures, as His humanity was submissive to His deity. That’s my opinion.

Jesus’ Two Natures (1 of 2)

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Q. All Christians should have experienced what Paul felt regarding the struggle between the two laws inside him (Rom 7:21-23). Some say that Jesus appeared to be well aware of His Dual Nature, e.g. Satan repeatedly reminded Him as Son of God in the temptation, but He refused to perform miracles and willingly subjected Himself to the trial as a man. Another example is when Nathaniel affirmed Him as the “Son of God”, He replied using the term “Son of Man” (Jn 1:49, 50). Hence the conclusion is Jesus’ Dual Nature is in perfect harmony, so unlike Paul and us, there is no struggle. Is this true? How about His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane?

A. Paul’s struggles and ours are between the sinful nature (Rom 7:18, 25), the old self (Rom 6:6; Eph 4:22; Col 3:9) and the new self (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10). Jesus had no struggle as He does not have a sin nature by virtue of His Virgin Birth. In theology the union of Christ’s two natures, namely His divinity and His humanity in one substance, is called the hypostatic union. He is 100% God and 100% man.

Your question reminded me of a very controversial movie years ago, “The Last Temptation of Christ“, which depicted a very human Jesus struggling with his self-identity. The film, based on a novel, showed Jesus to be uncertain of his role, and suffered internal conflicts between his being called by God and his human desires. Nothing is further from the truth, as the Gospels indicate that He was never in doubt as to who He was, even at the age of 12 when His parents lost Him in the Temple:
Lk 2:49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

Then what about His agony in Gethsemane? Let’s examine what the Bible says. His agony is recorded in all 3 Synoptic Gospels:

Mt 26:38-39, 42 Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” … He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
• Mk 14:33-36 And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”
• Lk 22:42-44 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

(To be continued)