Is God Omnipresent?
This is a very difficult subject. The difficulty arises in part from tradition and folks not wanting to part from tradition, as well as the definition of omnipresence itself.
In all honesty, most Christians hold to a definition that is not literal of the word's true meaning, and therefore their belief should not truly be defined as omnipresence.
Let's define it. From Dictionary.com:
present everywhere at the same time
This means God would be everywhere. And part of everywhere, is everything. Space itself is made up of matter. In air, you have oxygen, hydrogen, and so on. Hence for God to be everywhere, He would have to be in the objects that are located everywhere, unless He resided outside of all things by surrounding them. Like oil and water.
Oil and water do not mix, therefore if you spilled oil in water, the water would surround the oil and be present all around it but not in it. Ever see a Lava Lamp? It works by a similar principle.The "lava" does not mix with the liquid.
But even this analogy is not omnipresent, because some objects are thick, and how would God's presence in any way affect or be a part of the inner parts? Unless one believes that He resides on a sub molecular level and resides outside of each atom, thus invading structures without being a part of them.
But consider, does size matter? Is God more in something if He surrounds a tree compared to surrounding the DNA of the tree? In both cases He is not in the something, whether it's the tree or the DNA or atom. Therefore even this analogy fails to show God is everywhere.
One must realize that the place "everywhere", must deal with objects. And thus we can conclude, with the scriptures shown in this page that this is not true.
Some may say omnipresence means all things are in God's presence, like in His view or like a stage for Him. But this is not the definition of omnipresence. This is untrue as well though. Doesn't the Bible teach us sin cannot stand in God's presence? Even the Father was absent when Jesus was on the cross because the sin of the world was on Him.
45: Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
19: And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
20: And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
4: For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.
5: The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
6: Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.
Some would claim this attribute is in the Holy Spirit. He wasn't even poured out until Jesus ascended. In Acts 2 we see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and it is then Peter states that God fulfilled the Old Testament promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, Himself stated:
John 16:7 ¶ Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
So you cannot claim this attribute (omnipresence) is a continuous one (eternal), if He wasn't available until after that time. We also know Jesus never became available to the whole world until after He ascended either. Only after He rose from the dead does each person have the chance to know Christ. This leaves only the Father being available. And Father God only spoke through prophets and certain individuals in the Old Testament, like His choosing Moses.
Some would claim the universe resides within the Father's being, But that would not be right. Because the Father sits on a throne (which is described in scripture). How could He sit on it, if it resides in Him. It would be kind of strange, walking up to the Father, sitting on the throne, peering into His depths and seeing another image of Him, sitting on another throne. This would sort of be like the movie "The 13th Floor". Where folks made a computerized world, with real people inside it. And inside the computerized world, some computerized people made a computerized world therein also. C.S Lewis spoke of such a thing in his last book in the Narnia series. As they all entered into the garden with the Tree, they saw a door, inside the door was another Narnia, and inside that Narnia was another garden with another door to another Narnia. And Aslan kept saying, "Further in, further in!". This reminds me also of a cult that a friend of mine fell into, where he believed Jesus was a christ, not The Christ. He believed there were many christs, he also believed the Bible was like an onion, and it had layered truth, and none of the outer truths had any true substance.
I love C.S. Lewis' work, but I don't buy into any theory that God the Father is some insubstantial being with everything inside Him. In Him is only goodness, and no death, therefore this universe has no part with the Father, but only those things which have been redeemed.
There will come a time when all things will be in God, but that time is not yet.
1 Cor 15:
28: And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
19: For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20: And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
10: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him
This future redemption is NOT just our bodies, but those verses spoke of ALL things.
What many christians are ignorant of is that Adam was given the physical creation to take care of, but when he sinned, he gave it to satan. Now satan is the god of this world. Jesus is working to take it back:
Rev 11:15: And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
So the redemption of man coincides with the redemption of creation, why else does all creation groan?
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22: For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
It is my belief, that these events will not happen simultaneously however, for the wicked will be thrown into the Lake of Fire at a different time, when all the elements of the universe will be consumed by fire and God makes a new creation, but these 2 things are both a future work. If you believe that all people are redeemed already, if you believe God has regenerated the sun so that it will never die out, then you believe in things that are unscriptural. There are some cults that do believe Jesus has already returned a 2nd time, I even had a catholic priest believe this. But this is not scriptural.
2 Pet 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Rev 21:1 ¶ And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away...
If its a future work, how can it be a present reality?
If God does not yet have unbelievers in Him, how is He present in their flesh? Isn't flesh part of everywhere? Omnipresent means present everywhere, isn't flesh part of everywhere? Everywhere is defined by objects and things. Without objects and things, there would be no place. There would be nowhere.
If the earth needs to be redeemed, then if you were to dig a hole in the earth 3 miles deep, is God there? If He is there, then why does the earth need to be redeemed? If the sun is slowly dying, is God in it? If He is, why does it need to be redeemed?
I do not believe God is all powerful either. There are many things He cannot do. God can't lie. God can't do evil. God can't break His word. Many other things He can't do.
Some would say that the universe must be destroyed because of man's sin. So God has to burn the entire universe; animals, suns, stars, planets, because humans sin?
I don't buy it, and that is not what scripture says. It tells me that all the universe has fallen into decay and sin and is absent from God's presence, therefore it must be redeemed. Read Romans 8 again.
Let's deal with some verses that folks use, to try and prove God's omnipresence.
Ps 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If the psalmist (probably David) dug the hole himself, he would be bringing God with him. Because God was with the psalmist. Not because God was there to be visited!
Col:1:17: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Lets look at a more literal translation:
Literal Translation of the Holy Bible
17 And He is before all things, and all things have subsisted in Him.
The important word I think is the word "before". All things were made through Jesus, it is through Him, that they even came to exist. And these things were in His Presence to be seen when He viewed His creation. But once it existed, God set up laws to continue their existence, such as the law of "After its Kind". This verse speaks of origin. Not God's presence in it or around it now.
I want to say I do not believe in gnosticism, but believe that omnipresence in the way it is defined by many, would probably be an offshoot of it, and thus why I disagree with omnipresence.
Adam had a choice in the garden, well actually 3 choices:
1. eat from the Tree of Life
2. eat from the Tree of Knowledge
3. Do neither
God stopped him from doing the 4th, eating both. Therefore it was never an option. He put sent an angel with a sword to protect the Tree of Life after Adam sinned.
If he did # 1, he would have gained eternal life.
If he did # 2, (which he did) we have what we have today, described in detail below.
If he did #3, he would have continued to exist in the same condition he existed in then. A world without sin, but a world without eternal life. His body would never had sickness, but would be subject to damage, via accidents, and the like, although such accidents would be minimized because God was in the garden and there was no sin. C.S. Lewis also toyed with this idea in his Space Trilogy series.
But he chose #2. When he did, all creation fell in sin, and came into satan's authority. Satan is called the god of this world and in Revelation it will be futuristically declared that the kingdoms will now be the Lord's. Because when it is declared, even then all things have yet to be complete, but are near at hand.
I see no reason to believe the universe was created in God. I see no scriptural support. I believe it was created in a neutral state for Adam to choose which way to bring it. If he had eaten at the Tree of Life, then the universe, in his subjection would have been in the subjection of God. God had given Adam full authority over the entire PHYSICAL universe. When he fell, it went to satan.
Here is an example of where and why God was not present to the world in the Old Testament:
II Kings 5:15 says, “And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.”
Here is a New Testament verse to consider:
2 Cor 6:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Next I will use scriptural principles themselves, to testify of these truths.
We know Jesus only did those things which He had seen the Father do, right?
John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
We know Jesus taught that a corn of wheat to bear much fruit has to die (John 12:24). And therefore Jesus had to die, so that the Comforter could come to all the believers (John 16:7 near the top of the page).
Therefore, God the Father did this same principle (because Jesus only did what He saw the Father do (John 5:19). In creating the universe, the Father let it out of His hands, so that it could return back to Him, but Adam chose another path.
This is also called the Isaac principle, from when God asked Abraham to kill Isaac, the gift he so waited for, which God had given him.
I submit to you that since Jesus seen the Father do this principle, it was done with Adam and the universe.
If you love something let it go free. If it doesn't come back, you never had it. If it comes back, love it forever.
The attributes of infinity are another thing that has occurred by tradition. I believe God exists in infinity in time, but I see no reason (by scripture) that He is infinite in space (outward-though He may be infinite inward). God is a being, and in His image we were created. Therefore if we are in His image, He is a being, not some universal Force that exists everywhere.
Some would say God watches the evil and the wicked. But does this watching have to be with His own eyes?
2: And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
16: And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
17: And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
20: And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
21: I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
22: And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
This story tells us that God knew of the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah because of the cries (prayers?). Then God wanted to confirm it by sending angels to report it. We see all through scriptures angels watching, reporting, writing down what they see. Why would God have books (the books of the dead shown in Revelation)? Books of our deeds? God will use such testimony in the judgment. Therefore, God's eyes, are also the eyes of the saints praying as well as angels reporting.
Links of interest:
Links to Evidences & Scientific Arguments
The Truth about Jesus and God
Why do we need God or Jesus?
The Protected & Inspired Word of God
An Answer to Universalism
Eternal Judgment: of the Believer