Originally posted in Rabyd Theologian 2.0 on February 28th, 2011.
According to Webster: To be present in all places in all times.
Of all the things that is it most difficult to think on it is omnipresence. To think of God being everywhere and I mean everywhere is on a practical note difficult and from a faith perspective I don’t think people really believe it. If they did would they commit secret sins thinking no one saw?
For God to be present in all places I have no doubt is true. Nothing escapes his notice or presence. No moral condition prevents him from seeing everything from a first hand point of view be it the inside of a church or the most despicable den of iniquity – God is there.
The thing with the Bible is that there are times when God’s presence is said to be there with greater weight, for lack of a better way to describe it. When the children of Israel are walking around the wilderness it is the glorious presence of God that guides them as a pillar of cloud by day or a pillar of fire by night. The the glory of God sets on the mercy-seat. Moses feels the presence of God on the mountain, etc. It is not, that God is not everywhere else, but he manifests himself is stronger presence to show his power and authority.
It is the second part of the traditional definition of omnipresence that has changed for me. Earlier in my post of transcendence and imminence I mentioned that God’s relationship with time changed for me when I started to understand time, not as a creation of God, but as something bound to God’s eternity itself. God is eternal so therefore time has always existed. What changes in omnipresence for me is: if God is the eternal now, does that mean he does indeed exist in the past and future in the same real way as the now? This is much the same as the question about God’s power where I asked what powers do indeed exist for God? In this case, what time exists for God if He in a sense is time? Do the past and future actually exist now for God?
The fact remains that in the Scriptures, very little proof that God exists as much in the future and past as he does in the now is actually there. God never even speaks this way of himself. When he refers to the past, God talks about it as something done and no longer existing and the future he talks as one trying to shape it but not as if he is already there. When I was reading through the scriptures chronologically I simply could not find God using this I am in the past, present and future equally type of language to describe himself and his relationship to time. What I did find is that God did exist in the present because the present is all that really exists as far as time and God go.
God may have a perfect knowledge of the past, but he does not exist in the past because the past no longer really exists. It is spent and done. The future has yet to be formed and does not exist till we get there. God is not present in the future because the future does not yet exists. God will exist in the future when it becomes the present, but until it becomes the present, the future does not exist and God only exists in the time that is.
This changed the definition of omnipresence for me: God is present in every place that exists in the eternal now.