THE OMNIPRESENT GOD
How well do you know God’s omnipresence?
1) God is present everywhere
a) except Hell
b) in the created but not beyond since nothing else exists
c) including Hell, all of creation, and beyond
2) Because God is spirit
a) He is in and around everything
b) He completely fills all space but is not in solid objects
c) He is everything because spirit and matter are the same thing
3) Beyond the presence of God
a) is emptiness that God can fill if He wants
b) is not a possibility
c) is another universe with another God
4) Before Creation
a) God was not omnipresent because there was nothing for Him to fill
b) There was a previous Creation because God has to be someplace
c) There was only God and He was still omnipresent
5) Though God is omnipresent
a) He still watches everything from a distance from His throne in Heaven
b) Sends out His power from Heaven to wherever He directs it
c) He is always immediately with us and see us, hears us, and interacts with us right were we are at
6) God is omnipresent
a) and everyone of His attributes is likewise everywhere to the fullest
b) but in some places He is more judgmental and other more loving, etc
c) but His main being is in Heaven, everywhere else is just His impersonal spirit
7) Though God is omnipresent
a) His presence is more concentrated in a church
b) We are able to hid from Him at times and He cannot see us as well if it is dark
c) God is equally present and fully aware in every single speck of the Earth and Universe
8) When we sin the best thing to do is to
a) repent, be cleansed by His forgiveness, and obey
b) flee from God’s presence like Jonah did
c) act contrite so that God will think that all is OK
9) In order for our prayers, repentance, or worship to be the most effective we should
a) go to a church
b) set up an altar of some sort of some sort in our house
c) realize that God is equally and fully everywhere and so seek Him right where we are at
10) Some places in the world are extremely evil and so this proves that
a) God has withdrawn His presence from there
b) God allows sin for time being but His judgment will one day be sure
c) God does not see everything
Superficially, the divine omnipresence appears quite easy to understand. Basically, it means that God is everywhere, or where anything is, God is also. This does not mean that He is the object, but that He is nevertheless present there. Yet when pondered further, His omnipresence stretches our capacity of comprehension beyond reason and into a sublime transcendence. How is it that no amount of space can contain God, yet He is seated in heaven? How could Christ say, while He walked upon the earth, that He was at that time present in heaven also? To be ubiquitous is a concept wholly foreign to us and very necessary to the definition of God. This attribute maintains the possibility of His complete sovereignty and omniscience, He could not completely reign where He did not exist, nor could He claim omniscience if there were a place somewhere in the universe where He was not present.
We are confined to a time/space existence; God is not. We can only experience that which enters directly into our sphere of senses. We see only because light comes to us; we hear only those noises which reach our ears. God is not so restrained. Our sphere of presence is wholly limited to that displaced by our physical bodies. God is spirit, and spirit and matter do not compete. They can exist in one space, not side by side, but simultaneously. One error of pantheism, of which there are many, is the confusion of spirit and matter. God created matter, He sustains it, He exists throughout it, but His is not matter. Matter is not necessary for the existence of spirit. The former must be created; the latter can be eternal.
We cannot worship the Lord through objects, regardless of the sincerity of our hearts. They may be used to stimulate us to reverence, but we must always worship the Lord directly. To do otherwise is a form of idolatry. Of course, what need is there then of objects when we are ever before the omnipresent God?
Of course, through the revelation God has given us of Himself, we know that were it true that there should be a place where God did not exist, then in the strictest sense, that place would not and could not exist also. Since God, through His power, holds all things together, were He absent nothing could “hold together.” Therefore, nothing could exist. It would be more that empty space; it would be nonexistent. The question may arise then as to what is beyond God. The answer is that there is no possible concept of “beyond God.” We naturally consider Him to be merely a much larger entity than all else and that His presence has boundaries and limits, the same as ours. Were this true, then no one, including the Lord, could be certain that He is the only God, for could it not be possible for others to exist beyond His limited range of perception? But the realty of His presence is that it is boundless and limitless. It knows no end.
Before creation, there existed nothing save the Eternal Spirit of God. Matter was not created to fill a tremendous void-there was no void; there was only God. The awesome act of creation brought into being, for the first time, something other than the Almighty God. “Apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Before matter there was only God, and beyond creation there is only God.
The full exercise of God’s omnipotence also rests on His iniquitousness. The Almighty does not exert His power by directing it out of some distant source. His power is exercised from His immediate presence. Because He controls, transforms, and influence by His direct presence, all of His interactions with people always involve all that He is. Therefore, as a consequence of His omnipresence, we can be confident that nothing can occur which could not be instantly and completely prevented by Him. All that has occurred has been either permitted by Him or caused by Him. Because of creation’s total impotence, this must necessarily be true. He is in control of all things. A proper grasp of this truth can produce much hope.
All of that which wholly defines God is everywhere that He is. The fullness of the Lord exists in every place. He is not more holy in one place than another, not more concerned, not more just. In no way should omnipresence connote impersonality. Thought there is in scripture the concept of a centralized Godhead, this is not to imply the dispassionateness of the rest of His being. His omnipresence does not consist of a central intelligent personality and an impersonal force or influence. What is seated on throne in the heavens and what holds all things together is the same. Nothing could be God that is not all of God.
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Three.” Heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain God. We must not visualize the presence of God as merely filling only that which He has created, but that His being extends beyond this universe. How awesome this attribute is, can be minutely grasped through the realization of this truth. As we contemplate the heavens and even become slightly aware of its great distances, we begin to realize that what the eye can see is but a small fraction of a much larger whole. We are humbled by the vastness of this expanse and of our inability to even conceptualize its extremities. Yet to the humanly unattainable limits of this space, God reaches, to every end, in every space. Then beyond this created limit of matter, there extends what no man can comprehend. Beyond the special boundary of matter, there exists but God. This created universe is infinitely small compared to God’s being. He has not limited His size to fit His creation. He does not fill the universe like a and does a glove, but He fills it like the ocean would a bottle resting on its bottom. It is not that His presence has seeped into every created thing but that it abundantly fills it.
There are three avenues of comparison in the above illustration. The first has already been stated-though the universe itself is tremendously vast. It is as nothing compared to the immensity of God. The second is of our own extreme minuteness in relation to the universe, the boundaries of which we have yet to discover. Both of these comparisons should overwhelm us as we try to imagine the differences, yet we are still left with the third analogy-that of God’s transfinite being. Comparisons of unimaginable differences have become contrasts of infinite disproportion. There is no obvious need to elaborate. The awesomeness of God when concerning any particular of His calls forth an attitude of fearful reverence.
The omnipresence of God must be reckoned with. Meditation upon this solely divine attribute leaves one with a tremendous awe of how majestic the Lord is, yet even then we are limited by our own finite capacity. To realize that the Lord has all power and strength and that His presence is everywhere lends rest to the believing soul. For what can oppose Him. What can escape Him? To consider that this God has been charged with keeping us safe, how can anyone separate us from Him? “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” All that the almighty God is is determined to keep us as His own.
The omnipresence of God should not be confused with the presence of God as spoken of in the scriptures. One is the positional being of God; whereas, the other is an immediate relationship with that being. In the presence of the Lord, there is fullness of joy, yet it is obvious that there is not fullness of joy everywhere even though God is everywhere. The presence of God is not just an awareness that He is present; the unrighteous can believe that and still be joyless. The presence of the Lord is experiencing what He is, not merely that He is. It is a drawing near to the Most Holy God that He might draw near to us. It is a direct intimacy, communion, and fellowship with Jehovah God. It is not merely an intellectual acknowledgement but a spiritual union. It involves not simply recognizing Him as Creator but of calling Him Father and Friend. It produces a freshness of spirit, a sense of satisfaction, and contentment of just being with an resting in our God. It is the greatest honor and privilege which man can gain. It is also that which is most gratifying to Him, to be with His people and to freely give all that He is.
In Psalm 139 we read, “Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, Thou are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Thy hand will lead me, if I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night.’ Even the darkness is not dark to Thee, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to Thee.” It is an impossibility to escape from God. Though the truth is expounded that God is everywhere, the thrust of this passage is that, consequently, He is always present to lead, to guide, and to govern the righteous. He is forever present to hold us. We shall always have an escape from temptation. We will never fall from His hand because He supports us. We will never be orphaned because we are forever kept by the Father. What other people have so great an assurance? We will never be forgotten by God.
Jonah is exemplarity of this. In Jonah 1:3-4 we read, “But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. And the Lord hurled…” It is twice stated that Jonah was fleeing from the presence of the Lord. Then the very next thing recorded was the action of the Lord against him. Jonah was never farther from God on the ship then when he was being directly spoken to by Him. Since God is fully in every place, there is no where that a man can flee so as to escape from all that God is and from all that He requires and commands. “Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?’ declares the Lord.” How much less our sin and rebellion would be if we would become more conscious of God’s presence; though we may be alone and consider ourselves hidden, the Almighty God, the Holy One, is right there, no more blinded, nor more absent. Men may hide from their emotions. They may hide from their consciences, but they can never hide from God. “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” To where can a person go to avoid the One who fills all in all? The solution of rebellion is not escape, but obedience.
Only the shame our sin would acute us to hide from God. That we cannot hide brings distress to the heart given to evil but relief to the spirit desiring to repent. The first rebels because of its constant accountability and so becomes callous. The second rejoices that God is always available to witness its repentance and restore fellowship. What is despised by the wicked is adored by the righteous.
God’s presence does not occupy any one place more intensely than another. He is not more accessible, and He is not more available at one given location than at another. God equally and abundantly fills everywhere and can be experienced fully anywhere. If we find one place easier to reach God at, it is because we have made it so. He is as readily experienced everywhere because He fills everywhere. Regardless of how great the evil surrounding us may be, how obstructive the physical barrier, how profound the darkness, the Lord can always hear our prayers. That unnatural courage should be the product of this truth is obvious. The realization that He is with us always even to the end of the age and that He will never leave or forsake us should effect a boldness and a fearlessness that can only come from an all powerful and triumphant God. If God is for us, who can be against us; if God is with us who can triumphant over us? He can be worshipped anywhere, prayed to anywhere We can enjoy His fellowship at any time, in any place. The same principle that holds that none can escape from Him, also guarantees that He is always present and available. No other god of man’s device, though it be the zenith of his wisdom and creativity, is as great as our God. He Is the one who reigns, who is true, and who is ever present. We could never mold a God as awesome as the One who has molded us.
As we enter into a saving relationship with the Most High, one thing we notice is a greater awareness of His presence, a sense of His constant immediacy. We realize not only that He always knows and sees us, but that He is always here with us. Indeed, what closer fellowship might we have than for Him to live inside of us, to make us His holy temple and dwelling place? The infinite, majestic God is here in our midst, rejoicing over us with shouts of gladness. Our spirit, which was once dead, how now been made alive to commune with the Holy God and to enter with confidence into the holy place. To be aware of this gives one a great sense of security and hope. The omnipresence of God is not simply an attribute to acknowledge as true, but to also experience as real.
That God exists everywhere is a simple enough concept to grasp at first, but as our mediation plunges further into the depths of revelation, we find ourselves once again dwarfed by the surpassing awesomeness of the Lord God Most High. His omnipresence draws us at once to the unimaginable concept of His self-existence and also to the realization of His constant and immediate presence. He is a personal God who exists everywhere and beyond. He fights for us, supports us, and forever loves us. The declaration of scripture is both awesome and beautiful; “Nevertheless I am continually with Thee; Thou has taken hold of my right hand. With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me, and afterward receive me to glory.” Our destiny is one of forever enjoying the presence of our Lord. Who can devise a greater pleasure?
What does God’s omnipresence mean to us?
He is all around us.
When a solder goes into a war zone he does not want to be exposed and vulnerable. Danger can come from any angle. He prefers to be surrounded by as much armor as possible with the best option being inside an armored vehicle.
There are many ways and angles that life can hurt us. Sometimes our past can haunt us or we may be heading into a bad situation. Other times we may be blindsided by a malicious attack from a colleague, friend, or relative. And often our fall can hurt even worse. But praise God that He is there for us.
God is under us to cushion and comfort us when we fall. Deuteronomy 33:7, “The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
God covers us from those who arrogantly stand above us and make accusations. Psalm 91:4, “He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge.”
God goes before us so that we might make right decisions. Isaiah 45:2, “"I will go before you and make the rough places smooth.”
God protects us from our past. Isaiah 58:8, “The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”
God is to our left and to our right to guard us from unexpected attacks. Psalm 125:2, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.”
Of course, God does allow some attacks to get through but even then He is there to give wisdom, support, and comfort. Wherever we go, God is right there to protect us, guide us, prepare the way for us, and support us when we fall. We are truly surrounded by God.
He is always available to guide us and to hear our prayers.
No matter how horrible the crisis or how confused life may become, God is always right there to help us out. No matter how deep our sin God is always there to give us victory. Even if we are abandoned by all others God is still there for us.
God is not like a lighthouse that we have to move towards to get out of trouble; rather, He is like a shepherd who picks us up and carries us away from danger.
We do not have to go anyplace special to meet with Him.
Many religions have temples that you have to go to in order to be with god. But because God is everywhere equally we don’t have to go anywhere special to worship God, to pray to God, and to be with God. We can meet with God while driving to work, while preparing dinner, or while walking around.
Answers to quiz
Floyd got saved around a year ago and when he started coming to your church you became friends. Though you know that no one completely cleans up every aspect of their life soon after becoming a Christian you have a suspicion that Floyd still regularly indulges in pornography. You have asked him about it and his reply is always that he used to be heavy into it but that stopped immediately after he got saved. Then one day you are at his house and you notice a pornography magazine that was carelessly left on a table. You notice that it is a recent issue. Just then Floyd walks into the room and sees what you have found. He stammers but cannot explain it away. You ask him to sit down. What will you say to him and how might God’s omnipresence prove to be a deterrent?
1) In addition to the ones discussed above, what are some other assurances that God’s omnipresence means to us?
2) If God is everywhere, then why do so many people, including many Christians, feel so abandoned and alone?
3) How does knowing that God is omnipresent help us as we go through life?
4) Because God knows everything and is everywhere what does that mean to us regarding temptation and sin?
5) How will our understanding of God’s relationship to us help us in our relationships with others?
6) If God is all around me and with me then why do not I feel His presence in some special obvious way?
7) Romans 8:9 reads, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you but if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” If God is everywhere then how can someone not have the Spirit of Christ?
8) If God is everywhere then why do some people feel that they need to go to church to pray?
9) Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” If God is omnipresent then is not He already in our midst all of the time anyway? So what does this verse mean?
10) What is the difference between being everywhere and being everything?
11) If God is everywhere then why does the Bible talk about Him being on a throne in Heaven?
12) In a culture where people do not think that God sees their sin, how do you to this type of person that God is everywhere?
13) If God is everywhere then why do we not see Him?