Where is Jesus?

resurrection_side_cs_500A friend asks:

Where is Christ’s resurrected body right now?

Fascinating when you think about it. I’ll risk putting my own speculations out there.

I suggest that Christ’s resurrected body is a disposition of all material reality that guarantees creation’s eventual perfection and glorification in him and that this disposition is free to particularize on occasion.

In the One Logos all things are one and so are inseparable both from the Logos in whom they inhere and from each other. We are all connected, and as deeply as our created essences go, we are there equally connected. I think of how entangled quantum particles are immediately implicated in one another’s experiences regardless of the distance that separates them, and their connection is not accountable for any given physical reality within the system.

So what about Jesus’ body? No one of our bodies (because our bodies are each animated by created, finite persons) can mediate life to all other material bodies and bring them to fulfillment. Only the Logos, an infinite Person, in whom all things are sustained, can stand in that kind of relation to material realities. All things inhere in him, not in us. In a real sense, then, Christ’s resurrected body now just is the entire material cosmos (dispositionally speaking), and in a more accomplished sense as the Church embodies God’s intentions for human existence. The Church is that portion of the fallen, material, sentient world being redeemed and brought into union with God.

Thinking of the double-slit experiment. We know that matter fundamentally is a superposition (a wave-function, a disposition for a range of concrete manifestation) which collapses/particularizes under sufficient conditions. Consider thinking of Christ’s glorified body as dispositionally everywhere (superpositioned throughout the cosmos), but which like other created material realities can collapse, in Christ’s case into a ‘particular’ manifestation of the risen Christ in his hypostatic uniqueness. Christ can ‘show up’ here or there. How? Because by virtue of being the Logos, his body is dispositionally-possibly everywhere his Person is, and particularly-concretely anywhere he wills. Can Christ’s body not be ‘particularized’ anywhere and still be a “body”? I think so, yes. The wave function is constitutive of the material order.

So where is Jesus right now? He’s everywhere dispositionally (inherent in all things, a transcendent wave function which is the material world’s receptivity to God and now the universal possibility of his particular manifestation). Where is Jesus’ body ‘collapsed into particularity’? Wherever and whenever he wills it to be. Maybe nowhere right now.

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7 comments on “Where is Jesus?

  1. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    Much, much too speculative. The answer is much simpler: the risen and bodily Jesus is on the altars of the Church, under the sacramental signs of the bread and wine. And that is why we genuflect or prostrate ourselves before these signs.

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    • I would suggest the “easy” answer of Scripture is that he is at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
      “Christ can ‘show up’ here or there. How? Because by virtue of being the Logos, his body is dispositionally-possibly everywhere his Person is, and particularly-concretely anywhere he wills. Can Christ’s body not be ‘particularized’ anywhere and still be a “body”? I think so, yes. The wave function is constitutive of the material order.”

      The Holy Spirit is the here and now who unites us to Christ who is there. I think to say otherwise is comparative to saying that the Father was on the Cross and we risk mixing the distinctives of the Persons.
      While yes, the Logos hold’s everything together, the Holy Spirit becomes superfluous if the ascended Christ could all along just make himself present wherever He wills.

      Based on at least Romans 8:9, you could make the case that we can call the Holy Spirit the “Spirit of Christ” and insofar as the Holy Spirit is present in the world that Christ, in a sense, is then I think I’m comfortable saying “Yes. He is here right now.”
      …but I’m also comfortable saying that I am with Him right now in heavenly places because of the Holy Spirit

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      • Tom says:

        Paul, the Spirit is here – here and now, right. But back up to before the ascension. You have a risen body, Jesus, not subject to death or entropy, not requiring food or even air for its survival, a body that is its life, so to speak, without getting life from the decaying processes of the physical surrounding, and yet it IS this world – fully integrated with the here and now. That “body” interests me. Where is it? Next to the Father. Alright. Where’s that? We’re talking about a body (the body that walked, spoke, was temporally and spatially located post-resurrection, and [Emmaus] apparently vanished into thin air at will, and then ascended).

        Anybody interested in this body (what happened to it, where it is, what, why, when)?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tom says:

      Speculative, yes. Too speculative? Maybe. The question warrants some thought. Jesus showed himself alive for many days after his resurrection discussing matters with his disciples. And let’s not forget the interesting appearance/disappearance of Jesus to the disciples en route to Emmaus. And finally he ascended bodily and…where is that body is simply answered by pointing to the Eucharist? I would agree it is – depending on what one thinks the Eucharist to be. But unless these post resurrection appearances and bodily interactions are a kind of mythology (which I can’t imagine to be your view), an exploration of the question “Where is the glorified body of Jesus?” ought to take us into every conceivable field. Wouldn’t you agree? Jesus’ risen body IS the eschaton. It is this world glorified and perfected in and as a human being. Even Paul has opinions on the nature of glorified embodiment (1Cor 15), and I don’t recall his answer to questions about the nature of that embodiment being, “It’s the Eucharist. Simple.”

      Sophiology is underneath what I was saying. I just didn’t want to be explicit. And it doesn’t get much more speculative than Sophiology. You’ve read Nesteruk as well. His 2nd or 3rd books? Pretty speculative, Christ-centered, dialogue between Science and Theology; cosmology expressed in terms of the same points I raised (the nature of matter, quantum mysteries, entanglement, the unity of all things – and what would a dialogue between the Sciences and Theology tell us both about the nature of the material order and its glorification in/as Jesus). I was encouraged in my thoughts by him. Throw in Sophiology, and well, there you are. It’s speculative, yes. But it helps capture the sacramental truth of all things – always, everywhere.

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  2. I hear your question about where the right hand of the Father is, and I honestly find the Ascension the most difficult thing in the Gospels to swallow for some reason. (I’m not certain I’d saying any sort of Emmaus vanishing has to be different that Stephen’s vanishing with the Ethiopian too)
    But if the flesh and blood, resurrected Jewish man Christ Jesus is the first fruits of our resurrection promise must there be some threshold where bodily resurrection no longer carries any substantive difference than a sort of Platonic, spiritual resurrected state? If this resurrected body can be everywhere at once, etc, what purpose would the person of the Holy Spirit play?

    I’m enjoying this exploration, Tom…don’t get me wrong! Just thinking through some of ramifications if it were true

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    • Tom says:

      Thanks Paul!

      Paul: If the flesh and blood, resurrected Jewish man Christ Jesus is the first fruits of our resurrection promise must there be some threshold where bodily resurrection no longer carries any substantive difference than a sort of Platonic, spiritual resurrected state?

      Tom: Totally agree. But we’re talking ‘body’ here. And Neo-Platonists weren’t interested in a bodily resurrection. To address the problem at Corinth (some believing they had already assumed a mode of existence, perhaps angelic, that did away with the need for bodily resurrection) Paul discusses the need for and nature of the ‘spiritual body’. It’s more than our present bodies, but not so discontinuous of it that it’s no longer ‘this’ world perfected, glorified, etc. So just the fact that we’re talking about this material world being the ‘stuff’ and the context of the final state would put off Platonists.

      Paul: If this resurrected body can be everywhere at once, etc, what purpose would the person of the Holy Spirit play?

      Tom: OK, I see what your concern is. Missed that before. Sorry.

      This gets into the think of trinitarian ontology, and I wouldn’t pretend to be an expert, but in a real sense wherever God is (at all), all that God is is present – Father, Son, and Spirit. There may be dimensions to God’s work or our participating in God, or ways of relating to him that we associate with one of the Persons (i.e., the person of the Son alone is incarnate, for example, the Person of the Spirit is “promised,” etc.). But I don’t think of these unique manifestations or divine acts as removing the other persons to some location ‘out there’, away from the scene, so to speak. Everybody can be equally present in a court room, for example, but the judge is ‘doing’ something unique, the defense lawyer ‘doing’ something else unique to his identity, etc. Just given the absolute unity of the divine nature the three persons together possess, you get all three when you get any one (even in incarnation).

      To get back to what I was trying to describe, when I say Jesus’ body is everywhere at once, I don’t mean to say it is particularized, concretely everywhere at once. That would make every concrete, material thing Jesus’ particular body, and we don’t want to say that. When I say it’s everywhere, I was thinking (scientifically speaking) of the material world in its most fundamental aspects – the probability wave-function of quantum particles. An unobserved quantum particle isn’t ‘anywhere’ and its ‘everywhere’ within the scope of its wave-function. It’s within the full range of its possible locations, but not ‘particularly’ in any one of them until certain relational requirements ‘collapse’ its wave into a single ‘particular’ location. The thing to note is that the probability wave of a quantum particle is limited. It’s not equal to the whole universe. There’s a specific range of possible places a particle’s wave-function might collapse (or particularize).

      I’m wondering if the probability wave of the Incarnate One’s material existence is equal to the entire cosmos given the nature of WHO we’re talking about here (i.e., the Logos in whom the entire universe inheres anyhow). So what I was exploring is the question of the relation between that One’s abiding, permanent incarnate state as a human being, and the created unity of all things in him. All things do indeed inhere in the Logos (Col 1, Heb 10), so what’s it mean now that the One in whom all things exist at all now also has a unique relation to that created unity such that he’s ‘personally’ incarnate/present within it?

      My hunch is that the consequences of this One’s incarnation, the created realities of that incarnation, are immediately present to the entire material creation. They’d have to be IF the entire cosmos is in him and is healed on account of his incarnation. So what’s the relationship between these realities (between the Logos as in whom all things hold together, and his Incarnate reality)? That relationship would have both general-universal aspects, i.e., true throughout the whole (since all things that exist, exist within this Incarnate One), but it would also have some specific, particularities not true throughout the whole (since the Incarnate One is a specific human being who isn’t you, or me, or the chair I’m sitting on). The quantum wave-function vs particularity seems an interesting place to ask the question.

      But maybe I’ve lost my mind!

      Tom

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