We know that God is everywhere at once, so it would be impossible for Heaven to be His literal dwelling place. But we’re also taught that He lives in Heaven, that He sits on a throne, that Jesus stands beside Him, and so on.
So I’ve wondered before whether God in Heaven is just a limited manifestation of Him, like a protuberance into our universe that He extends, like He’s reaching an arm into Nature. Sunday’s lesson’s author almost agrees with that, but shows a refined view of it from the Bible.
The Logistics of Being Everywhere and Right Here
God isn’t lying to anyone if He has a local form of Himself while also being everywhere at once, because He most likely just tells everyone something like, “This is just one aspect of my infinite Self. I am actually everywhere at once, and I just give you this appearance of myself here as something for you to understand.”
And actually, they would probably have a direct experience of Him being everywhere in the universe: anywhere they go, I’m sure they can sense His promptings in their minds, so they know that He isn’t just in the throne room in Heaven.
God the Indivisible
Here’s a little-known attribute of God you can use to impress somebody: He’s indivisible. That means He can’t be divided into different parts; He’s not made up of different pieces; He’s a single, indivisible whole. So that appearance of Him in Heaven’s throne room would be totally undiluted; it wouldn’t be a part of Him, because He has no parts!
Keep in mind also that He is infinitely powerful in every place in the universe. And He has infinite attention; nothing can ever use up His attention or divide it.
What this all means is that that aspect of Him in Heaven would be fully Him, have 100% of His attention, and have all His power. It, or He, would be able to create a whole new galaxy with a single word, or whatever else. It’s really Him.
And at the same time, there’s an infinity of Him out there doing other things, such as sustaining the whole universe, keeping every atom and photon in motion, and maybe interacting with strange and exotic beings we know nothing about.
God Has His Own Country We Know Nothing About
God has a whole life we don’t even know about and can never really understand. He’s uncreated. He’s infinite. We are so tiny compared to Him that we’re almost infinitely small: He’s infinite and we’re finite, and any finite number divided by infinity is very, very close to zero.
So we’re like tiny little thoughts off in the corner of His mind somewhere, like a grain of sand on the beach in front of His summer home in His true country that is really Himself. He certainly wouldn’t be obligated by someone above Him to have to come to Earth on that grain of sand to die for our sins, but He did it anyway, because He is principled and loving.
And the appearance of Him in Heaven is another example of that love. He meets beings in a special way there. He is so infinitely immense and different than us that we could never understand Him, but He gives us something we can understand because it is loving to do that for us.
Solomon: God is Uncontainable yet Chooses to be Near
Surprisingly, 1 Kings 8 expresses these concepts perfectly. In verse 27, Solomon (billed as the wisest man who ever lived) states that Heaven can’t contain God (so how much less the temple on Earth that Solomon built, he says). And then in verses 30, 43, and 49, he also asks God to hear them from His special dwelling place in Heaven.
In other words, he acknowledges this strange reality that God is everywhere at once, is also above and beyond our physical reality, and is also specially present in a place that we call Heaven.
His true mode of existence is unimaginable, but because He constantly sustains our universe and also maintains a local home for His people to visit Him, we know that He loves us.
(Praise Team Leader at New Horizons SDA Church in Republic, MO)