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Wednesday
Jul292009

Theological Term of the Week

omnipresence
That perfection of God whereby he is infinite with respect to space, with his whole being present everywhere all the time, yet he cannot be contained by space. (See immanence.)

  • From scripture:

    Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? 2Can 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 23:23-24 ESV)

    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 ESV)
  • From Omnipresence by Isaac Watts:
    In all my vast concerns with Thee,
    In vain my soul would try
    To shun Thy presence, Lord, or flee
    The notice of Thine eye.

    Thy all-surrounding sight surveys
    My rising and my rest;
    My public walks, my private ways,
    And secrets of my breast.

    My thoughts lie open to the Lord,
    Before they’re form’d within;
    And ere my lips pronounce the word
    He knows the sense! mean.

    Oh wondrous knowledge, deep, and high;
    Where can a creature hide?
    Within Thy circling arms I lie,
    Beset on every side.

    So let Thy grace surround me still,
    And like a bulwark prove,
    To guard my soul from every ill,
    Secured by sovereign love.

    Lord, where shall guilty souls retire,
    Forgotten and unknown?
    In hell they meet Thy dreadful fire,
    In heaven Thy glorious throne.

    Should I suppress my vital breath
    To ‘scape Thy wrath divine;
    Thy voice would break the bars of death,
    And make the grave resign.

    If wing’d with beams of morning light,
    I fly beyond the west;
    Thy hand, which must support my flight,
    Would soon betray my rest.

    If o’er my sins I think to draw
    The curtains of the night;
    Those flaming eyes that guard Thy law
    Would turn the shades to light.

    The beams of noon, the midnight hour,
    Are both alike to Thee:
    Oh, may I ne’er provoke that power
    From which I cannot flee!
  • From Body of Divinity by Thomas Watson:

    If God is everywhere present, then for a Christian to walk with God is not impossible.God is not only in heaven—but he is in earth too. Heaven is his throne, there he sits; the earth is his footstool, there he stands. He is everywhere present, therefore we may come to walk with God. “Enoch walked with God.” If God was confined to heaven, a trembling soul might think, “How can I converse with God, how can I walk with him who lives above the upper region?” But God is not confined to heaven; he is omnipresent; he is above us—yet he is about us, he is near to us. “He is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:27. He is not far from the assembly of the saints, “God has taken His place in the divine assembly,” Psalm 82:1. He is present with us, God is in everyone of us; so that here on earth we may walk with God.

     

    In heaven the saints rest with him, on earth they walk with him. To walk with God is to walk by faith. We are said to “draw near to God,” Heb 10:22, and to see him, Heb 11:27, “As seeing him who is invisible,” and to have fellowship with him. 1 John 1:3, “Our fellowship is with the Father.” Thus we may take a turn with him every day by faith. It is slighting God not to walk with him. If a king was in our presence, it would be slighting him to neglect him, and play with the pet. There is no walk in the world so sweet as to walk with God. “They shall walk in the light of your countenance.” “Yes, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord.” It is like walking among beds of spices, which send forth a fragrant perfume.

Learn more:

  1. Blue Letter Bible, Don Stewart: Is God Everywhere at Once?
  2. Notes on Attributes of God: Omnipresent
  3. David Legge: The Omnipresence Of God (mp3)
  4. From my attributes of God posts: God’s Omnipresence

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it.

I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. I’ll give you credit and a link back to your blog if I use your suggestion.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.

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