How Can God's Fullness "Fit" in Such a Tiny Place as Christ?

Jason Dulle

It is often questioned how it could be that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily (Colossians 2:9). God is too big for such a small place! Trying to get the fullness of the omnipresent God into one man is harder than the wicked stepsisters trying to get their big feet in Cinderella's glass slipper!

Some have conceived of the incarnation as the time at which God ceased inhabiting the heavens in order to dwell in Christ. Then, upon ascension, God returned to His heavenly abode. This is what is commonly called the "Jesus Only" view. Jesus is thought of as the divine Shop Vac that sucked all of God out of heaven and into one man. From Scripture we know that this is not so because Jesus said the Father was in heaven (Matthew 5:16; Mark 11:26, et al). Surely God continued to exist beyond the incarnation. As the Fathers often said, "He remained what He was while becoming what He was not." The same God who began to exist as man in the incarnation continued to exist as He always had as God, beyond the incarnation, and unchanged.

So how is it that God's fullness could dwell in Christ and yet also continue to inhabit the heavens as He always had? Well, how is it that God fills us with His Spirit? Does He only fill us with a portion of His Spirit? Is it a diluted form of His Spirit? Such would not possible. God is fully God no matter where He is. It is not possible for there to be more of God in one place than in another, or for only a part of God to be in one place but not another, or for more of God to dwell in one person than in another. This is because God is a qualitative being, not a quantitative being. God is of a divine quality, not a divine quantity. God is a Spirit and cannot be measured, because as a Spirit being God does not consist of matter.

When we conceive of God we often think of Him in material terms, however. While such terms of conception are in error, it is wholly understandable seeing that we are part of the material world and are bound to such ways of thought. We cannot transcend the material world to understand the true nature of the spiritual. For something to possess the fullness of something in the material world demands that it possess all of the material substance. For the fullness of the coffee in the coffee pot to be in my cup requires that every drop of coffee fit in my cup. If all the coffee will not fit, the cup cannot be said to contain the fullness of the coffee. Why is this so? It is because coffee is a quantitative substance. God, however, is not a quantitative being, and thus cannot be measured like coffee. As a qualitative and omnipresent being God is everywhere, and everywhere God is, He is in His fullness. Jesus does not possess the fullness of God's quantity, for God is not a quantity. Rather, Jesus possesses the fullness of God's quality. Everything that makes God who He is, Jesus is. All of the divine attributes that are peculiar to God dwell in Christ qualitatively. Once we can grasp the fact that God is a qualitative being rather than a quantitative being we will be able to understand, in part, the manner in which Christ can be fully God, and yet at the same time God can continue to inhabit the heavens.

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