In the material world, we directly perceive the existence of space and time. We witness beginnings, ends, growth, and ultimately, change. Change, or movement as it is properly understood, can only be achieved within time. Without time, there can be no beginning, no growth, and no end. There can be no change.
So change requires time. We witness that change exists in space, so we can understand that time exists in space. But what about in the eschatological landscape?
This is where things become foggy. Clearly, it is difficult to find a basis to claim that eschatological landscapes exist as fixed points, because this assumes a type of Cartesian understanding of matter that can only be applied to the physical world. Heaven is not located at x, y. So space does not exist in Heaven.
So can time exist without space? Perhaps. We witness that angels came into existence at one point, and this beginning within an eschatological landscape denotes some form of time. Regardless if it is how we experience it here on Earth, some notion of temporality is eschatologically extant.
Let’s now shift our gaze to Palamism (specifically the essence-energies distinction). A little drastic, I know. But the energies of God, which we are able to perceive and participate in, direct us to His essence. This “movement” is a change in humanity and requires time. If time exists eschatologically, then movement towards God (if absolute communion has not already been achieved) is possible.
Let’s apply this to Hell. God exists in Hell, to some extent, as nothing could exist without God being present. I’m going to assume that most are my readers are not annihilationists and believe that Hell is an actual place of torment.
If the existence of God is to some degree extant in Hell, then this would obviously mean that God’s energies, however minuscule, exist in the realm of damnation. If time exists in Hell as it does in Heaven, then movement towards the essence of God through whatever perceivable energies are present in Hell is possible.
Therefore, since change is possible where there exists time and because the beginning of the angelic host proves the existence of time in the eschatological landscape, movement towards God by the participation in His divine energies is enabled even in the damned, and Hell is understood to be a plane of purgatorial fire.
But let’s address a different issue. Space doesn’t exist in Heaven, as Heaven is not located at x, y. God is in Heaven, and He is also everywhere and present in all things. These two planes (Heaven and omnipresence) can be taken as synonymous. If the saints are fully present with God, then they would also be with God in the context of His omnipresence, rendering the typical argument that, “The saints can’t hear your prayers because they’re dead/ They can’t see us/ They aren’t concerned with us,” rather nonsensical.
Unless, however, you wish to claim that the saints are not “fully” present with God and that salvation means to only experience God’s presence partially, because while we are in Heaven, God is in Heaven and in another place (everywhere).