Divine Omnipresence

Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD.”

- Jeremiah 23:23–24

As a being who is beyond measure, God cannot be contained in any finite space (Ps. 147:5). The fact that our Lord has no spatial limitations has certain consequences for how we understand His other attributes, with omnipresence being a logical counterpart to His infinity. If God cannot be confined in any finite space, it makes sense that He would be omnipresent, that is, present everywhere in creation. Today’s passage is one of many texts in Scripture that reveal to us our Creator’s omnipresence. There is no place that we can hide in all creation because God fills all creation. No matter where we go, there our God will be. He is not limited to only one place, so we cannot erect a barrier between ourselves and His presence. He transcends spatial limitations, and He is able to be in many places—indeed, everywhere—all at once.

Like divine infinity, however, divine omnipresence is a difficult concept to grasp. It would be a mistake, for example, to conceive of omnipresence as God’s being like a gas that is diffused throughout the entire universe. In the first place, gases have material form even if they are often invisible to us, and God is immaterial. He is spirit (John 4:24). Moreover, when a gas is diffused throughout a particular area, no one space contains every gas molecule. When we think about oxygen in a room, the full quantity of oxygen is not gathered at one point in the corner. Instead, there are gas molecules throughout the room.

Omnipresence is altogether different because it means that the fullness of God is present everywhere. Everything that God is is fully present at each point in a given room, at every point in the building outside the room, and at every point outside the building. “More” of God is not found at point A than at point B. God and His attributes, including His holiness, wisdom, goodness, justice, knowledge, power, and so on, are fully present in His creation at every point. We often forget that the Lord is right at hand wherever we are, but our forgetfulness does not indicate His absence.

Of course, God reserves the right to make us feel His presence more strongly at certain times and in particular places than at others (see, for example, Ex. 3:1–4:17). But even if God “feels” more present here than He does over there, He is equally present in both places. Thus, He guides us wherever we go (Ps. 23).

Coram Deo

God’s omnipresence is a comforting truth. If God is everywhere, then we know He is never far away and can come quickly to our aid. Because He is present everywhere, we can know that He is acting in each and every place according to His holy will for our good and to achieve His purposes. This is true even when He seems to be far away.

Passages for Further Study

Psalm 89:46–52
Hosea 14
Matthew 18:20
2 Cor. 6:14–7:1

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