by Martin G. Collins
Since God is spiritual, He is not restricted to any spatial dimension in the physical realm. He is always present everywhere and at any time with His whole Being. Jeremiah 23:23-24 reads: “‘Am I a God near at hand,’ says the LORD, ‘and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?’ says the LORD; ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the LORD.” This scripture helps to introduce another of God’s non-transmittable attributes, omnipresence, which is the quality of being present in all places at all times. As long as we remain human, we will never possess this ability.
This attribute does not define God as an indescribable, vapor-like entity. Spiritual substance exists in a similar fashion to natural matter, except that it is a much higher form, governed by higher laws. In addition, God’s Word and His creation provide abundant evidence that neither He nor His angels are floating around the universe without bodies. The Bible describes God with body parts—the same body parts as humans—confirming that He has shape and form, which manifests in a specific location (Genesis 1:26-27; Daniel 7:9-10; Isaiah 66:1; Revelation 4). Both the Father and the Son—while being united in mind and purpose—have autonomous bodies (Revelation 5).
Comment: Even though God is said to rule the universe from His throne in the third heaven, Isaiah describes Him as “inhabiting eternity,” and Solomon declares that “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” In Psalm 90:2, Moses writes, “Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” While the noun “omnipresence” never occurs in Scripture, the fact that God is everywhere is presupposed throughout the Bible and sometimes explicitly expressed.
2. By what power is God omnipresent”? Psalm 139:1-7.
David understood and made the connection between God’s presence and His Holy Spirit. “Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11). Because God is everywhere, He sees and hears us—just as He saw and heard David—personally (John 2:24-25). He is always present in all places through His Spirit. God is never confined but is present in all His power at every point in space and time. David addressed this attribute directly when he asked: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7).
Comment: No external force can place any limitation on God (Micah 2:7; Psalm 135:6). He perceives all things in all places and at all times (Hebrews 4:13; Proverbs 5:21; Jeremiah 16:17). No secrets are ever withheld from the all-seeing eyes of the Lord, whether in the highest heights of the heavens, the deepest caves of the earth, or the depths of the sea. David continues:
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell [the grave], behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You. (Psalm 139:8-12)
There is no place in this universe where we can hide or that anyone is obscured from the presence of God (Romans 8:39; Psalm 23:4). The prophet Jonah confirms that it is useless and even unwise to try (Jonah 1:17—2:10)! Through His Spirit, our heavenly Father fills the entirety of our vast universe. He has absolute sovereignty to do anything He wills and to see and hear everything. Nothing is hidden! Because of God’s omnipresence, we can seek Him anywhere. Therefore, regardless of our location, we can be strengthened and encouraged by His presence while facing any circumstance.
In Part Three of our study, we will consider and examine God’s omniscience.