8. Omnipresence

Omnipresence (Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology, Victor Books, 1986,) p. 41.

  1. Meaning. Omnipresence means that God is everywhere present with His whole being at all times.
  2. Scripture. In Psalm 139:7-11 David asks the question if there is anyplace one can escape from the presence of God. His answer is no, for His omnipresence is unlimited by space (v. 8), undaunted by speed (v. 9), and unaffected by darkness (vv. 11-12).
  3. Some Distinctions. a. As stated in the definition, omnipresence does not mean that God’s being is diffused throughout the universe as if part of Him is here and part of Him there. His whole being is in every place, and the presence of the Lord within every believer serves as a good illustration of this.
  4. b. Omnipresence does not mean that the immediacy of His presence does not vary. It does. His presence on His throne (Rev. 4:2), in Solomon’s temple (2 Chron. 7:2), or in the believer (Gal 2:20) certainly differs in its immediacy from His presence in the lake of fire (Rev. 4:2). Though in the lake of fire people will be separated from the face-presence of God (2 Thes. 1:9, prosopon),they will never be separated from Him who is omnipresent (Rev. 14:10, enopion). There is obviously no presence of fellowship (for his face will be turned away from the wicked in the lake of fire) as exists when He indwells believers. Omnipresence differs from pantheism which identifies the universe with God. The term was first used by English deist, John Toland (1670-1722) in 1705 when he taught that “God is the mind or soul of the universe.” This heresy fails to distinguish the Creator from the created, a distinction taught in the very first verse of the Bible.
  5. c. Omnipresence also differs from pantheism as used by process theologians to mean that God’s being penetrates the whole universe yet is not exhausted by the universe. Omnipresence does mean that God is everywhere present but not diffused throughout or penetrating the universe. Furthermore, God is not developing as process theology teaches
  1. Some Ramifications. No person can escape the presence of God. This warns unbelievers and comforts believers who, because God is omnipresent, can practice the experience of His presence in every circumstance of life.