What in the World is God? Part 4 – Omnipresence and Omniscience

“Humans explaining the nature of God is like an ant trying to explain who dropped the sugar.” Trish O’Connor

WDoodle Godhat in the world is God?  He is a Spirit, not just spirit with a small “s,” but a Personality who exists in spiritual form, that is to say no “form” at all.  Jesus announced this to the woman at the well in John 4: God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality).” (4:24 Amplified Bible)   Some have argued from the Greek, “pnuema o theos” that “spirit is god,” or rather spirituality is all that is required.  There is no “Him” in this spirituality but only a vague sense of “something bigger than me,” some type of Buddhism or Star Wars theology that says we are all part of the “spirit of god.”

If this text were the only one about God’s spiritual nature, this would be open to debate.  However, Jesus was dealing with a woman who was using her version of “new age theology” to argue about details of what church to attend.  He drew her instead to the truth that God is not dependent on locations and buildings.  He is not a statue or artifact or relic.  He is One looking for hearts devoted to Him and willing to be His friends.  (As an aside, this is one of those times that Jesus gives grief to those who claim He was a nice guy; here he lays claims to the title Messiah in plain Aramaic, the common language they would have been using; and when the townspeople describe him as “the Savior of the world,” He gives them no rebuttal.)

It was this same Spirit who was on Elijah when Elisha asked for the heir’s privilege (2 Kings 2:9) and on Isaiah when he foretold of Jesus suffering (Isaiah 61-63); it was this Spirit who told Ezekiel that He would act to vindicate His holy name (Ezekiel 36:22-23) and who was in Daniel to give him understanding the magicians of Babylon lacked and caused Nebuchadnezzar to praise (Daniel 2:20-23; 4:9, 34-35); it was this Spirit who stirred men’s hearts to obey Him in Ezra’s day (Ezra 1:5); this was the Spirit that was in the apostles, unschooled men, when they argued effectively against the greatest minds of their day (Acts 5:29-32); it is this Spirit promised to us to help us in weakness, reveal the mind of God, intercede on our behalf, and work everything out for our good (Romans 8:26-28); and it is that same Spirit who speaks to the churches until the end of our time (Revelation 2:8-3:22).  He does not hide in metaphysical jargon, but is a Personality who wants us to be friends with Him.

That He is a formless Spirit allows Him to be everywhere at one time, omnipresent.   David understood this when he penned the beautiful worship poem:
“Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to Heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, 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 cover me,
    and the light about me be night,’
even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.”  (Psalm 139:7-12)

Corrie ten Boom recognized this as well when she said, “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.”  What a wonderful God we serve that He is always with us no matter where we are, no matter what the outward circumstances are.  (See August 20, 2016 and August 27, 2017.)

Add to His Presence everywhere that He knows everything about His creation, omniscience.  The whole of creation is His idea and He is actively involved inhabiting the scientists’ Colossian Space (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3).  DNA and quarks are not confusing to Him, and He understands the stuff of the universe of which we have not yet dreamed!

Beyond this, His mind is so vast and comprehensive of all that exists that He even knows the end from the beginning (Ecclesiastes 3:11; Isaiah 46:9-10; Revelation 21:6).  Now I differ from what some take this to mean.  Many, if not most, think of God as existing somehow beyond or outside of time, as though time would be a constraint on Him.  It is my view that time is to God as love or holiness is to Him.  He is not constrained by time any more than He is “constrained” by love or holiness.  Time is simply what it is, the passing of one age to another.

Before He created any other creatures, time had no meaning, as He always existed forever past.  In the same way, before He created light, dark had no meaning.  But even then, that does not mean He was somehow “outside of time” just as it does not mean He was sitting around in the dark! 😉  At the time He began creative activity (as far as we know), creating the angels, time became measurable.  (We do not know if He created other beings or worlds or “stuff” before creating this universe; maybe Hawking was onto something about God’s creative streak with parallel universes, but this theory is immaterial to living here in this universe.)

His perception of knowing the end from the beginning does not mean He has been there in the future.  It just means His mind comprehends all that exists so thoroughly that nothing in the created universe can surprise Him.  Not war in Heaven (Revelation 12:7), not Adam and Eve’s fall (Genesis 3:15), not yours or my sin or submission to Him (Psalm 139:1-4).  His omnipresence provides Him with more information than any creature (including the devil) and He “[knows] the end from the beginning.” (Isaiah 46:10)

So what does His omnipresence and omniscience mean to us here and now?  Read David’s Psalm again.  In fact, this is one of those to memorize.  The entire Psalm 139 is only 24 verses.  Or if that seems a bit much for you, try verses 7-12.  Then if you ever find yourself doubting that He is God, go back and rehearse these lines.  He is here and He is not silent. (See October 2, 2016 , February 12, 2017 and April 23, 2017.)

Next week, , we will look at His holiness and love and how they interact.

 

3 thoughts on “What in the World is God? Part 4 – Omnipresence and Omniscience

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