Today’s post is one that I have been thinking a lot about for the last several weeks, and I’m excited to publish it. It is about the reality of God’s omnipresence.
God exists everywhere.
Does it then follow that every molecule of the physical universe is a part of or extension of God Himself?
One argument that I have recently been reading about asserts that because God is omnipresent, free will does not exist. Free will would require the existence of a point where God’s being ends, and freedom from God begins.
I contend that this is a rather limited and conflicted understanding of God’s essence that detracts from the awesome nature of His being. It is very much a pantheistic view of reality. Like traditional pantheism, it is internally inconsistent. If all things are a part of God’s being, then God frequently contradicts Himself and uses one part of His being to attack and malign another. What kind of God is that?
Yes, God does exist everywhere, but that does not mean that everything is a part of God. If this were true, God would be constrained by time and space in the same way that we are, living life on a moment by moment basis and orchestrating events as they happen. In such a view, the future is unknown. Yet Scripture regarding prophesy clearly demonstrates God’s knowledge of future events.
Although God has entered into His creation as a physical entity at various times and locations throughout history, He has no essential physical presence. God is spirit and exists on an entirely different dimensional plane than the physical universe.
The dimensional plane on which God exists not only extends to every location in the existing universe but also every time throughout the existence of the physical realm.
When Moses, in the wilderness, asked God for His name, He replied, “I AM WHO I AM…”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14 ESV)
I like this explanation I recently found at www.gotquestions.org:
“I AM is the ultimate statement of self-sufficiency, self-existence, and immediate presence. God’s existence is not contingent upon anyone else. His plans are not contingent upon any circumstances. He promises that He will be what He will be; that is, He will be the eternally constant God. He stands, ever-present and unchangeable, completely sufficient in Himself to do what He wills to do and to accomplish what He wills to accomplish.
When God identified Himself as I AM WHO I AM, He stated that, no matter when or where, He is there. It is similar to the New Testament expression in Revelation 1:8, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” This is true of Him for all time, but it would have been especially appropriate for a message in Moses’ day to a people in slavery and who could see no way out. I AM was promising to free them, and they could count on Him!”1
When questioned by the Jews , Jesus responds by saying, “…before Abraham was, I AM.(John 8:48-59 ESV)” Significantly, he did not say, “…I was,” indicating that He was merely present in the past at that time. By stating, “…I AM,” He is not merely identifying Himself as the same God who brought the Israelites out of Egypt. How He answered indicates that he exists then, now, and at all times simultaneously.
As difficult as it is for temporal beings such as us to wrap our minds around, time is a concept that has no relevant meaning in the eternal realm in which God exists.
God initiated time at the same instant that he created the physical universe and exists outside of both dimensional constructs, overseeing everything that happens everywhere throughout all time and space. Every molecule of the physical universe at every time during the fully intact timeline of universal existence is surrounded by God’s presence but is distinct from His substance.
As I’ve written about in other posts, God created humanity for a relationship with Him (See An Eternal Relationship). The essence of such a relationship is enhanced by the existence of free moral beings choosing to enter into the relationship uncoerced.
Had God desired, He could have created a universe where every nuance, every action, thought, and event is explicitly under God’s divine control. Had He done that, He alone would be directly responsible for everything that happens through all time. Some people believe that this is true. But I think that such a world would undoubtedly be better for us in the short term than our current situation.
A good God controlling even the thoughts of individuals would never allow even a hint of evil. There would be no sin and no need for punishment of any kind. Life would have been heaven on earth.
But such a view diminishes the eternal glory, not only for God but for us sharing in His presence. People would have no choice of whether or not to accept God’s invitation to fellowship with Him. Any relationship with God would then be not a voluntary relationship, but the action of an automaton.
Instead, He did something of greater magnitude and grandeur.
God orchestrated the entire timeline of human existence as an elaborate design, fitting individuals together like an intricately completed puzzle. The resulting creation brings God the greatest glory possible because it features free moral beings willfully acting out God’s wishes and desires uncoerced.
God’s presence is everywhere. There is nowhere that we can go that we can hide from Him. But we can be blinded and disillusioned into thinking that He is not there. Many live their entire lives in such a delusional state.
For countless others, God opens hearts and minds to the truth in His Word and His everlasting presence.
God orchestrates the entire timeline of the physical universe, but He does so by piecing together the uncoerced decisions of free moral beings. He is a master architect, supremely utilizing the resources at His disposal. There is no need for a point where God’s being ends, and freedom from God begins, as God’s being does not include the physical realm. All of His creation is a separate entity under His continuous, interactive, sovereign control.
Such a God is worthy of worship and praise.
Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.