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God is Omnipresent
A series on the nature of God (part 3)

Author's Bias: Interpretation: conservative
Inclination: promise
Seminary: none

Omnipresence describes the ability of God to be everywhere at all times. This is a difficult concept to grasp: God is present everywhere unconstrained by physical limitations and time.

Contributing to the difficulty is that God a spiritual being and is not comprised of physical material as Jesus explains to the Samaritan woman:

Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:21-24)

Yet God Himself provides indications that He has a form - from the very beginning of Creation and through His Son Jesus:

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Gen 1:26-27)

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Phil 2:5-7)

Omnipresence is demonstrated by the Trinity – God as three distinct persons yet One. The triune nature of God adds another layer of complexity to the already difficult to grasp concept of omnipresence.

These difficulties are precisely why God’s omnipresence cannot be confused with pantheism. Though everywhere, God is distinct as a personal being exemplified by human beings who bear His image and Jesus Christ who is God in incarnate form.

The concept of omnipresence arises from several passages in the Bible.

You cannot hide nor escape from God, and He knows our innermost thoughts.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of 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 You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You. (Ps 139:7-12)

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And 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. (Heb 4:12-13)

As a consequence of the New Covenant, each and every Believer is permanently indwelt with the Holy Spirit as an assurance of the indwelling presence of the Jesus Christ. This is seen where the Holy Spirit is equated with the Spirit of Jesus.

"As for Me, this is My covenant with them," says the Lord: "My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring," says the Lord, "from now and forever." (Isa 59:21)

They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; (Acts 16:6-7)

This sampling of biblical passages indicate that God is everywhere at all times especially where human beings are whether Believer or not. While the concept is difficult to fully understand, omnipresence is a necessary attribute of God to fulfill the New Covenant; it is the only way each Believer can be indwelt with the Holy Spirit all the time.

"Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him (Proverbs 2, 3). Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein."

Harvard (1636), Student Guidelines

References

1. Brand C, Draper C, England A, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, (2003).

2. Grudem W, Systematic Theology, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, (2000).

3. Swindoll CR, Zuck RB eds., Understanding Christian Theology, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, (2003).

4. Youngblood RF, ed., Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, (2014).



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Series: The Nature of God
Part 4: God is Omniscient

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Series: The Nature of God
Part 2: God is Omnipotent


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Topical Index: God>Attributes of God>Nature


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