The Omnipresence of God

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If God is omnipresent in space – present everywhere, is He also omnipresent in time – present in all times at the same time?

Do we have evidence for it, and what are the implications if God is also omnipresent in time?

The Judeo-Christian understanding of God:

In the scriptures He is portrayed as all-powerful (omnipotent), present everywhere (omnipresent), all-knowing (omniscient), all loving and good (omnibenevolent), self-existent, eternal, spirit (i.e. immaterial), perfect in beauty and, personal.

I.        What does it mean when we say that God is omnipresent? 

And specifically, omnipresent in time?

The definition of omnipresent depends on the source one consults.

1. Present everywhere at the same time – space.

2. Present in all places at all times – space and time.

In general terms we mostly understand omnipresence as present everywhere in space. Though many Christians instinctively believe that God knows our future so well, that He knows our every moment, from before birth, now and till the day of our death. (My mother loves to say ‘Don’t worry about your future, God is already there’). Also omnipresent in time.

If God is God and He created time (see below), He cannot be kept captive by time. Just as He is omnipresent in this universe, He is omnipresent in time; present in yesterday, today & tomorrow, at all times at the same time. Present ‘now’ in every second since creation of time till the end of time. Not bound by space neither by time – present in all space and all time.

Being omnipresent in space, ‘present everywhere at the same time’, is hard enough to try and get some understanding of. But God is profoundly more. He can neither be confined to space nor can He be controlled or limited by time, lest He is not God and did not create time and space. He is, therefore, also omnipresent in time – ‘present everywhere in space and time’.

II.       But do we have good reasons to believe that God is indeed omnipresent in time?

1.        Science based reason

God as the first and uncaused cause of the universe:

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

God is the most reasonable explanation for the first (uncaused) cause of the universe. In fact, there is no other reasonable explanation, neither in science nor in philosophy.

As the first and uncaused cause of the universe, God necessarily and logically must have been outside of the universe to have caused it.  Put differently, to create time, matter, space and energy, God cannot consist of, or be subject to time, matter, space and energy. He could not have had any of these four named attributes as part of Himself (otherwise He would have had to create something of Himself – and being imperfect).

Genesis 1:1 (NLT) ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’

It was only in the last century that scientists discovered and now accept it as fact that the universe had a beginning and is not eternal as was thought and accepted for millennia by scientists, especially non-believing scientists (hoping the Bible was wrong). This first, and very significant verse of the Bible, is supported by scientific discovery.

God, separate from space, time, and matter, must rationally be all-powerful (omnipotent), enormously wise and infinitely intelligent (omniscient), not bound by time and space (omnipresent and eternal), immaterial (spirit), and personal (to have willed) to have created the universe, and us. Exactly our understanding who the Biblical God is and a logical explanation for the existence of the universe.

We can conclude that if God created time, He must be outside of time, (as He is outside of space) and therefore not bound by it and must be omnipresent in time, present in all times all the time.

2.        Theological basis for God’s omnipresence in time

Continual Existence;

a.        Genesis 1:1 (NLT) ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’

From John 1: 1-4 (AMP) ‘In the beginning, before all time, was the Word, Christ, and the Word (Christ) was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He (Christ) was, continually existing, in the beginning, co-eternally, with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being….’ Always existing, always present (continually and eternally).

Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.’ Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow because He exists in all time and space, He is unchangeable. Not Christ ‘was’ the same yesterday and ‘will be’ in future but ‘is’.

b.       God answered Moses, on the question ‘Who should I say sent me’, ‘I am’, God said. Exodus 3:14 ‘God replied to Moses, “I am who I am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me (Moses) to you.” God declared Himself as the ever-existing ‘I am’ … the one present everywhere in space and time with no history or future but omnipresent in time, ever existing.

So did Jesus Christ, Son in the triune God, declare in John 8:58 “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am!” Present in all times.

c.        Psalm 90:2 ‘Before You created the whole world and the mountains were made, from the beginning to the end You are God.’ Not ‘was’ or ‘will be’, but ‘are’ God – present tense, eternal.

III.     If He is omnipresent (in time), what does this mean for how we view Him, and how we understand His view of us?

a.        God’s knowledge of us

Being separate (outside) of space, He is omnipresent in space, – present everywhere in the universe and in the hearts of men. Being separate (outside) of time, He is omnipresent in time, – present from the moment the universe came into existence to when everything will come to an end (scientific evidence points to a cosmos that will eventually burn out as predicted in the book of Revelation). God is present ‘now’ in every second from the beginning to the end. The eternal God will continue to exist when time comes to an end (with people who trust and believe Him) just as He existed before He created time. 1 Corinthians 2:7 ‘No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.’ Confirming that time had a beginning.

Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.’ Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow because He exists in all time and space, therefore unchangeable. He is what He is, the I am, unchangeable, present everywhere and in time, present in our past, in our present and in our future, and therefore all knowing. He is ‘now’, this moment, present in all our future, present and past decisions – all-knowing (omniscient).

b.       It is impossible for God’s to lie or not to fulfil His promises

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, …”

Hebrews 6:18 ‘… it is impossible for God to lie’

Samuel 15:29 ‘Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.

Because He is ever-present in all times at the same time, it makes it impossible for Him to go ‘back on His word (promises) or decisions’ like humans can who move on in time.

c.        Free will

God is love. Love per definition, in essence, has to be free. Man is created in the image of God – Genesis 1:27. We can love and have a free will to choose (there is no such thing as forced love).

God being omnipresent in time and present when we make decisions, and also present in our future decisions as we will make them, He knows it in the ‘now’, our now, but He is present at the time of our future decisions because He is not bound by time. Because He is in our future, He knows what we will decide or choose, therefore not predetermined but His concurrent omniscience and omnipresence.

(The materialistic atheistic worldview forces one to discard the possibility of free will – humans are the result of unguided processes and our thoughts and actions the result of and based on our genes, chemical processes and environment with nothing higher/apart from the brain. Atheist Sam Harris ‘Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.’ ‘Yes, free will is an illusion,’ Richard Dawkins )

d.       The Reliability of Prophecy

Isaiah 9:6 ‘For a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’ God being present in all times, does not predict the future as in this passage written approximately 700 years before the birth of Christ, but Him being present in the future, also when this happened, revealed it to Isaiah 700 years before the birth. He was present when He told Isaiah and at the same time present when the Child was born because of His omnipresence. This is equally true for all the prophesies in the Bible, Old and New Testament, and therefore no surprise that not one of them turned out not to be true. His concurrent omniscience and omnipresence.

e.        God’s “current” presence on the cross (Enormous grace and humility)

And the frightening realization is that God, being present all the time throughout the past, the present and the future, is present at this moment on the cross. This should humble us to an unparalleled level of thankfulness for His infinite love and grace.

f.        Fear and awe of His Majesty and Glory

Isaiah 40:26 (NLT) ‘Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? … calling each by its name. Because of His great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.’

God, present everywhere, aware of every star (by name) and cosmology tells us that new stars are born and old ones die almost daily as we observe them millions of lightyears from earth, and therefore occurrences that happened hundreds of thousands, even millions of years ago by the time we observe the changes – when light reaches earth. And God is present in this entire span of time of the ever-changing cosmos, all the time knowing each star.

God is infinitely more majestic, more magnificent, more wonderful, amazing, astounding, incredible, more than what our minds can ever comprehend. He is more majestic than the universe is vast. We know the universe is big, massive, more than we can comprehend, yet we also know the universe is still bigger than the ideas we try to form in our minds about the universe’s vastness. And God who created it, is infinitely bigger.

Psalm 105:1

‘Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness.

Let the whole world know what He has done.’

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