What does “God is omnipresent” mean? Literally, it means that God is present everywhere. That sounds simple enough — until you seek to apply this definition. Especially when you seek to apply it to concepts like the appearances of God, evil cannot enter God’s presence, heaven, and God’s throne, hell’s reality, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ.
So, seven important questions and answers are in order… and then three practical applications for you and me.
Omnipresent: 7 Important Questions and Answers
1. Is the word “omnipresent” in the Bible? No.
2. Who invented the word “omnipresent”? According to the Oxford Dictionary, it was coined 1600-1610, coming over rather easily from Medieval Latin.
3. What other “omni” words describe God? First, “omnipotent” means all-powerful. Second, “omniscient” means all-knowing.
5. Does the Bible put any limits on God’s omnipresence? No. Just the opposite. God is everywhere and can appear in any form He chooses to anyone He chooses.
First, God appeared to some Old Testament believers, as taught in Genesis 3:8, Genesis 18:1, Genesis 26:23, Exodus 3:2, Exodus 33:11, Exodus 33:21-23, Numbers 11:16, Joshua 5:13-14, Judges 6:12, 1 Kings 3:5, 1 Kings 19:5-9, Isaiah 6:1, Ezekiel 1:1, Acts 7:2, and Acts 7:30.
Second, God appeared to His people during the exodus from Egypt, as taught in Exodus 19:11, Exodus 20:20, Leviticus 9:23, Numbers 9:15, Numbers 14:10, Numbers 14:14, Numbers 16:19, Numbers 16:42, Numbers 20:6, and Deuteronomy 31:15.
Fourth, Jesus repeatedly appeared to His disciples after His resurrection from the dead, as taught in Matthew 28:16, Luke 24:36, John 20:19, John 20:26, John 21:1, Acts 10:40, and 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.
6. Doesn’t the Bible say God cannot enter the presence of evil? No. God has appeared on this fallen planet an untold number of times as shown above. Then again, evil cannot enter God’s presence without His permission.
This is how Satan approached God in heaven in Job 1:6-12 and Job 2:1-7 and then had to leave. And this is how all people will appear before the Lord someday, as taught in Matthew 25:31-32, Matthew 25:41-46, and Revelation 21:11-15.
7. Doesn’t the Bible say God is on His throne in heaven? Yes. This doesn’t mean, however, that He’s there only. This is true of every appearance of God in heaven and earth.
8. Does omnipresence apply to the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ? Yes. With God the Father, they form the Trinity — the Trinitarian Godhead — and are equally omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
3 Practical Applications of God's Omnipresence
1. Because God is omnipresent, you and I are never alone. Jesus Christ promises to be with us always and everywhere (Matthew 28:18-20). The Holy Spirit indwells everyone who is a true Christian (Romans 8:9).
2. Because God is omnipresent, you and I can travel the earth courageously. It’s easy for us to want to cocoon, to remain close to home, to refuse to venture outside our comfort zones into this vast world of ours. Yet God promises He will never leave us or forsake us, as taught in Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, and Hebrews 13:5.
I’ve claimed this wonderful promise and traveled through the Amazon jungles, Andes mountains, Africa’s sub-Saharan desert, and elsewhere around the globe. Was it safe? Absolutely not, but I was never alone. God was always with me.
3. Because God is omnipresent, you and I are called to reshape our view of the universe. Thanks to the diligent work of hundreds of astrophysicists, working in scores of locations around the world, we’re learning more about the universe every year. For instance, did you know that light across the entire universe is captured by each black hole in a nested series of rings?
Essentially, the universe appears more complex, more paradoxical, and more designed every year. It shows God’s fingerprints everywhere — even black holes, which scientists believe contain light from near the beginning of creation.
Meaning of God's Omnipresence
When the Bible teaches that the Lord God created the heavens and earth, and is everywhere present, we can believe it!
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. ~ Proverbs 15:3
Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 23:24
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. ~ Psalm 139:7-10
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. ~ Isaiah 57:15
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! ~ 1 Kings 8:27
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. ~ Colossians 1:17
©iStock/Getty Images Plus/ipopba
David Sanford’s book and Bible projects have been published by Zondervan, Tyndale, Thomas Nelson, Doubleday, Barbour, and Amazon. His newest book is Life Map Devotional for Men published concurrently with his wife Renee’s new book, Life Map Devotional for Women.