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Jeremiah 23:24

“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.”

Infinite spirit—that is one of the most succinct descriptions of the being of God that we can use to summarize the teaching of Scripture on divine ontology, or the being and essence of our Creator. As we have seen in our consideration of texts such as Psalm 145:3 and John 4:24, that the Lord is infinite means that He has no limitations whatsoever. His power, love, goodness, knowledge, holiness, and so forth have no boundaries or limitations. Today we will finish our brief study of the attributes of God by looking specifically at the Lord’s infinity with respect to His spatial presence. God is omnipresent—that is, present everywhere in creation and beyond.

Like the other aspects of divine infinity, God’s omnipresence is difficult for us to conceive of. Part of that is due to how we are accustomed to thinking of spirits. In popular culture, we often see things such as ghosts depicted as gaseous in form. Whether we see these “ghosts” on television, in movies, on amusement park rides, or in haunted houses, spirit beings often look like steam, smoke, or another gas. Coupled with our natural tendency to think of all reality as physical, these depictions can lead us to conceive of spirit not as immaterial but as a material entity of some kind.

From what we know about the states of matter, we also know that gases fill the spaces where they are found. Consequently, if only unconsciously, we are apt to think of the Lord as like a gas that expands to fill every physical space. It is very easy for us to conceive of divine omnipresence as meaning that God’s being is diffused throughout all creation. After all, do not texts such as Jeremiah 23:24 tell us that God “fills” heaven and earth? But of course, Jeremiah does not mean that creation puts some kind of boundary on the Lord, that He is not present beyond the edges of the universe. His point is that there is nowhere we can go in creation to escape from God. The Lord, in fact, is present beyond creation, as noted in texts such as 1 Kings 8:27, which notes that even the highest heaven cannot contain God.

Furthermore, when we speak of God’s omnipresence, we do not mean that part of Him is in one place in creation and the other parts of Him are in other places in creation. The Lord is not made up of parts; rather, He is pure being and is fully present everywhere. He can make us feel His presence more or less in different times and places, but that does not mean He is more or less present in different times and places.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

God’s omnipresence is awe-inspiring, but it should also help motivate our sanctification. Whenever we sin, we are sinning in the presence of God because He is present everywhere. If we were more conscious of that, we might be more hesitant to transgress His commandments and might be more eager to aim only at that which is fully pleasing to Him.

For Further Study
  • 2 Chronicles 6:18
  • Psalm 139:7–12
  • Proverbs 15:3
  • Acts 17:24

God in His Infinite Greatness

Moses and the Burning Bush

Keep Reading Jewish Life in the Days of Jesus

From the February 2022 Issue
Feb 2022 Issue