Omnipresence of God – Can we truly understand it?
The omnipresence of God has caused controversy and concern for many individuals. In the midst of a catastrophic event we may ask, “Where was God?” In response to her children’s demands, a tired mother replies, “I can’t be in two places at the same time!” Even the most advanced technology is unable to physically place us in two locations within a single moment. Surely, if God is everywhere simultaneously, i.e. omnipresent, then nothing escapes His attention. Throughout the Bible, everything created continues to exist under the control of a sovereign God. An omnipresent God “saw all that he had made . . . the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array” (Genesis 1:31–2:1).
If we could fully grasp the concept of eternity, the omnipresence of God might be within our comprehension. The human mind classifies events along a sequential timeline, with specific divisions for the past, present, and future. The constant transition from each classification relies upon an individual’s perception of a given occurrence. God, who is eternal, is not limited by time. As ruler over all mankind’s past, present, and future, God proclaims, “I am the Alpha [Beginning, First] and the Omega [End, Last] . . . who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8, 21:6, 22:13). He rules simultaneously over all human history, beyond the physical limitations of any timeline.
Omnipresence of God – Unrestricted
Since God is eternal, spatial dimensions cannot restrict Him. God’s time is infinite; therefore, God is also unrestricted with respect to space, i.e. omnipresent. King Solomon realized that God greatly transcends containment by anything in all creation. “But will God really dwell on the earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27). Magnificent though a man-made temple may be, Solomon understood that God cannot be confined to any part of space, no matter how vast. “This is what the Lord says: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house that you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?’” (Isaiah 66:1).
The omnipresence of God signifies that He cannot be contained by the largest space possible. While God does not have spatial limitations, He is not a “bigger space” or a layer area surrounding the space of the universe as we comprehend it. He does not simply exist in a kind of infinite, unending space. God is present to all space. This does not mean that “at least a little part of God” is dispersed throughout the infinite reaches of space. Instead, God in His whole being is present at every point of our space. All space is instantly present before Him. The 19th-century theologian, Charles H. Spurgeon, proclaimed:
“We believe that he [God] filleth heaven and earth, and hell; that he is in the very space which his creation seems to claim, for creatures do not displease God; and even the space which is occupied by his handiworks is still filled with himself. The rocky bowels of the unsearched-out depths are full of God; where the sea roars, or where the solid granite leaves no interstice or vacuum, even there is God; not only in the open place, and in the chasm, but penetrating all matter, and abounding everywhere in all, and filling all things with himself.”1
There is an error, however, in thinking of God in merely spatial terms, as if He’s a gigantic being. While God is a being who exists without size and dimensions in space, He is not some shapeless “blob.” In Genesis 1:26, we are told that man is made in the image and likeness of God—words that indicate a sense of shape. When Moses asks to see the glory of God, He responds, “Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen” (Exodus 33:18–23). God speaks of himself in human terms.
Omnipresence of God – God's Reach
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While we may not see the face of our Creator, the omnipresence of God confirms that God continually looks upon mankind. Adam and Eve tried to “hid(e) from the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8). The prophet Jonah attempted to “flee from the Lord.” In reverent awe, David realized, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7-18). In all creation, there is no hiding place from the Lord. Through His Spirit, God’s reach extends to every corner of the universe as well as into the hearts of mankind. “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them” (Psalm 11:4).
1 Charles H. Spurgeon, Sermon: Jacob's Waking Exclamation (July 21, 1861).
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