Is God really omnipresent?


#1

A few questions:

  • Is ‘God’ (all three of Trinity?) really omnipresent?

  • If He is seated in Heaven, how can He also be everywhere else?

  • Hell is ‘where God isn’t’. Is he not, therefore, in Hell?

Thanks!


#2

God is not like us. We are bound by space He is not.

As I understand quantum mechanics, you can say that a particle is in two places. How can one particle be in two places? We don’t know but thats what the evidence shows us. Its because we’re used to looking at things from our point of view. Similarly how can God be one substance three persons. Here what we’re used to is one person one substance. Not everything is how we understand it.

God is a fire.

24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

for our “God is a consuming fire.”

And the day of judgment:

Those who go through Christ to heaven are purified through fire, but for those who turn away from God what effect would that fire have?

I think that the fires of Hell are precisely the fact that those in hell still exist. They hate God so much, but at the same time no matter how much they hate God they can’t not exist. God keeps them in existence. Is Hell where God is not or where those who hate God flee to to avoid him, yet are still plagued with his creation, themselves?


#3

Thanks for your reply. You’ve answered the hell question; now for the other two!

  • Are all three of Trinity omnipresent?

  • If God the Father is seated in Heaven, how can He also be everywhere else?

Thanks.


#4

Yes. God cannot be divided thus where One Person of the Trinity is, there are the Other Persons. Not to be omnipresent would be a negation of His Divinity. He is present to all He has created and sustains in existence.

  • If He is seated in Heaven, how can He also be everywhere else?

God is Pure Spirit, thus has no body parts with which to sit (not addressing the glorified Body of Our Lord, but the spiritual nature of the Godhead). Being “seated in Heaven” is an image used to help the human mind comprehend God’s sovereign majesty over all that He has created, the least bit of which He is present to.

  • Hell is ‘where God isn’t’. Is he not, therefore, in Hell?

Those in Hell have freely chosen to separate themselves from God. God is present to them, but solely as Justice. Further, His love for all He has created never changes, but His love for those in Hell can only be experienced by them as eternal fire and torment; because they have chosen to be separated from Him for there is nothing in them that corresponds to His love. Perhaps another way to express this is to consider Scripture’s words that “our God is a consuming fire” - in order to survive in and find joy and salvation in that fire one has to himself become one with the fire of Divine Love - this the damned cannot do.

“I say,” writes Saint Isaac the Syrian, “that those who are suffering in hell, are suffering in being scourged by love… It is totally false to think that the sinners in hell are deprived of God’s love. Love is a child of the knowledge of truth, and is unquestionably given commonly to all. But love’s power acts in two ways: it torments sinners, while at the same time it delights those who have lived in accord with it” (Homily 84).

“hell is the ultimate consequence of sin itself… Rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy”. John Paul II

Frank Sheed’s Theology for Beginners would be a great help to you in understanding more fully God’s omnipresence and His other attributes.


#5

So when we say that Jesus “ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father”… there’s no spatial truth in that whatsoever?


#6

It’s a metaphor. We know that stars and planets are all there is upwards from here; there isn’t really a pearly-gated city in the clouds. Heaven is considered a state of complete closeness to God (just as Hell is separation), not a literal place.


#7

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives the answer:

663
Henceforth Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father: "By ‘the Father’s right hand’ we understand the glory and honor of divinity, where he who exists as Son of God before all ages, indeed as God, of one being with the Father, is seated bodily after he became incarnate and his flesh was glorified."546

664
Being seated at the Father’s right hand signifies the inauguration of the Messiah’s kingdom, the fulfillment of the prophet Daniel’s vision concerning the Son of man: "To him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and LANGUAGEs should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed."547 After this event the apostles became witnesses of the "kingdom [that] will have no end."548

Thus Christ’s Resurrected Body is in Heaven physically but in a glorified state, the meaning of which cannot be fully known and appreciated until we ourselves are there in our own glorified bodies (so we pray!). The Father, however, has no “right hand” physically, so the meaning is not a literal one, but figurative to indicate Christ’s authority.


#8

God’s Omnipresence or spiritual immensity is entirely different from the mode of “presence” whereby finite objects “occupy” a defined place and sustain a relative position in regard to each other. The Infinite is “present” according to its subsistent mode of being. All that is related to the infinite is related to the whole of infinity, for no partial relation is possible in regard to that which is indivisible. To be restricted to any spatial position is itself a limitation. The human mind, though finite, is in some respects superior to material or spatial restrictions, and Infinite Spirit transcends them all. It is by uniting the idea of spiritual life with the negation of all limitations that we can attain the most adequate mental “analogue” of the positive infinity of supreme being. The phrase “infinite matter” would be self-contradictory, for matter is essentially finite. Subsistent Mind can alone be consistently thought of as Infinity, as the philosophies of East and West abundantly illustrate.


#9

CCC: 663
Henceforth Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father: “By ‘the Father’s right hand’ we understand the glory and honor of divinity, where he who exists as Son of God before all ages, indeed as God, of one being with the Father, is seated bodily after he became incarnate and his flesh was glorified.”

:confused: :confused: :confused:


#10

No contradiction; Jesus has a glorified body; but the Father (unless one posits a Mormon god), has no physical, glorified body that would have a physical right hand. Jesus being seated at the Father’s right hand signifies His equality with God (Jesus is not prostrate in worship) and His authority.

Please do some reading of basic theology such as the book I earlier recommended.


#11

::gets Thomistic::

This is how I understand it…

God’s essence (or nature) is existence. He is the only being whose nature contains existence. As such, any other thing that exists must receive its attribute of existence from/through God. Since “nature” isn’t merely some idea, but the nature OF a substance, to say that “God’s essence is (but is not limited to) existence”, is the same as saying “God is everywhere in existence”.

If anything exists, God is there AT LEAST in his essence as existence. Everything literally is in God.

I think the confusion comes from viewing the perception of God, the ability to be seen, as being part of God’s nature as well. I don’t think that it is. Throughout scripture, we are told that God is a hidden God. Any vision of him, any ability to perceive him at all, is a grace. It can be taken away, but God remains. This is what I think is being referred to when people say “Hell is the absence of God.” That’s a metaphor. It’s not meant to be understood in philosophical, highly precise, logical semantics.

So, for the people of hell. God is there and fully aware of their suffering, for they exist and all things exist within his being, but this doesn’t mean that they have any perception of him whatsoever. They definitely don’t have the beatific vision of God, and they don’t have any other temporal aspect of God in their lives as well.


#12

I was going to chip in, but I think you all covered most everything. Nice answers.


#13

When you say omnipresent that means being present at all times and in every place right?

Well, I can name one place where God is not. If he is not that place, then God is not omnipresent, right? I can name a verse wherein God cannot be found, therefore God is not omnipresent. :slight_smile:


#14

CAUSALLY present, right. God, as far as I can tell from scripture and tradition, is not PHYSICALLY present in any physical place.


#15

sorry if I’ll be repetitive no, but can you please define “causally present”? Just a short definition will do. Coz I don’t want to go back to the other posts. I’m new here in this forum by the way. :slight_smile:


#16

Welcome, Pooch. :slight_smile: Do go back to the other posts; I think you will find them helpful. (There aren’t that many of them, unlike in other threads.)


#17

Welcome; it’s a lot of fun here. (Not all the threads are as theological as this one.)

If you go back to post 11 and read just the first two paragraphs, that explains pretty well what I mean by “causally present.” Put it this way: Without God’s presence, nothing that exists would exist. But that doesn’t mean we could point southeast (for example) and say, “God is physically over there,” or anywhere else, for that matter.


#18

hmm. I read post 11 and I understand! Thanks…

I was about to post
Acts 17:24 a while ago,
“God does not dwell in the temple made with hands”…

It says God does not dwell…therefore, He is not omnipresent. hehe…

But after reading post 11, it becomes clearer that the grace is not there… :slight_smile: Anyways, I am just playing devil’s advocate and I want to clarify my beliefs. Thanks again. :slight_smile:


#19

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