While God used apologetics to bring me back to faith, God uses theology to humble, awe, and comfort me before his amazing presence. Theology is a passion of mine. My resume will show how much I love theology. As I mentioned in a previous post, I realized that schools hiring teachers desire applicants to possess 18 hours of graduate study in a chosen field. Curious as to what hours I held, I began to investigate how many hours I possess in different fields. I realized that by the time I finish my Ph.D., I will carry 30 hours of theological study. I guess you could call me an overachiever. I certainly don’t say this to sound braggadocios. I merely mention this to note the great impact theology has made in my life.
Even while I have devoted much of my time to theological studies, I still find the words of Dr. Daniel Mitchell, Professor of Theology at Liberty University, to ring true, “The more we study God, the bigger God becomes.” I asked him about what he meant by that statement in a class that I had with him. Mitchell noted that he did not mean to say that we make God bigger in our imaginations, but rather we begin to understand how big God truly is the more we study him. When we understand the grandeur of God, our worries tend to fade away in the warm, strong arms of God.
One divine attribute that provides both awe and serenity is God’s divine omnipresence. The word omnus means “all.” We all understand what the term presence means. Thus, God has the capacity to be in all places at all points of time. There is not a place where God’s presence is not found. Scripture indicates the omnipresent nature of God in many locations, but it is most explicitly found in Psalm 139. David writes as he speaks to God,
“Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there your hand will lead me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night’—even the darkness is not dark to you. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to you” (Ps. 139:7–12, CSB).
From the text at hand, God is shown to be present in every location at the same point in time. Wayne Grudem defines God’s omnipresence as the following: “God does not have size or spatial dimensions and is present at every point of space with his whole being, yet God acts differently in different places” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 173). Divine omnipresence impacts the believer in multiple ways, but for the sake of space, I will concentrate on only five.
- God is with you when no one else can be. Often, people feel alone. Widowers who lost their spouses may feel an overwhelming sense of loss. When my wife left on a business trip, I was overwhelmed with the sense of loneliness that overtook me, even if for a little while. People who must reside in assisted living homes or nursing facilities may feel like they are the loneliest people on earth. However, when we understand God’s omnipresent nature, we understand that none of us are ever truly alone. God promises that he will be with you now and for all eternity. Jesus says, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, CSB). God promised Abraham to be with him, saying, “Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go” (Gen. 28:15, CSB). God’s presence accompanies us wherever we may go. This is only possible because of God’s omnipresent nature.
- God is with your loved ones when you cannot. God’s omnipresent nature holds that God can protect your loved ones from afar. Israel (aka., Jacob) told his son Joseph that he knew that God would look after him even though he was about to die (Gen. 48:21). Consider also the Roman centurion. He had faith that Jesus could heal his servant even when Jesus was not present (Matt. 8:5–14). The centurion had faith in God’s omnipresent power to heal. Perhaps this was one of the things that startled Jesus about the depth of the centurion’s faith. Even when you are not present with your family members, God is. God can help those who suffer in distant areas far greater than you or I ever could.
- God is with your loved ones who have already passed. God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 3:6). Jesus uses this argument to defend the reality of the afterlife (Matt. 22:32). Jesus understood that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were still alive in the spiritual watch care of God. Some of your loved ones may have died. However, with God, death has died. For those who died in Christ, they live in eternity. This indicates that God is with our loved ones in eternity. If we grasped this reality, even the fear of death dies in the omnipresent love of God.
- God is working in creation even when you cannot see it. God is beyond the scope of creation but is always working in creation (Ps. 147:4). God is the One who established the sun, the moon, the stars, the galaxies, and even the universe itself (Jer. 31:35). God’s omnipresent nature indicates that he is in all places at all times in the universe and even beyond the universe. He does not depend on the universe, but the universe depends on God. There is not a molecular change in the far reaches of the universe that leaves God unaware. God knows when, if, how, and where the star Betelgeuse will explode into a supernova or transform into a neutron star.
- God’s presence is with the believer in a personal fashion. While God is everywhere, God personally relates to those who receive Christ (John 5:38; 8:31; 15:4-9). Consider this: The God of all creation—the transcendent, magnificent, holy, righteous, loving, omnipresent Creator of all things—desires to have a relationship with you. Oh, that is so profound yet so difficult to grasp. What would God desire to love someone like us? I don’t know. But God does.
I write this being unaware of what you the reader faces as you read this post. But the amazing facet of this divine attribute is that no matter where you are, God is there with you. Paul said to the Athenians at the Areopagus that God had established from one man every person, nation, and language. God established boundaries and determined appointed times and seasons. God did this, Paul says, “so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27, CSB). Amazingly, God has blessed Bellator Christi Ministries to reach almost all the nations on our beloved Earth. No matter where you may be reading this, God is near you. God is willing to receive your worship. God is willing to forgive you by the sacrifice that Jesus made on your behalf. By his omnipresent nature, God can fill you with God’s Spirit. God is with you. God is always near you. What could be better than that?
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Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com, the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast, and the author of the Layman’s Manual on Christian Apologetics. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction), his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors), and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Brian has been in the ministry for nearly 20 years and serves as the Senior Pastor of Westfield Baptist Church in northwestern North Carolina.
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