What does it mean to say that God is omnipresent?

This article is from Hank Hanegraaff, The Complete Bible Answer Book—Collector’s Edition (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008)
Get the Book

The Bible clearly portrays God’s omnipresence. But what exactly does that mean? Is God dispersed throughout the universe? Or does omnipresence refer to God’s nearness to all of creation all of the time?

First, when Scripture speaks of God as omnipresent or present everywhere (Psalm 139), it is not communicating that he is physically distributed throughout the universe, but that he is simultaneously present (with all his fullness) to every part of creation. Thus Scripture communicates God’s creative and sustaining relationship to the cosmos rather than his physical location in the cosmos.

Furthermore, to speak of God’s omnipresence in terms of his physical location in the world rather than his relationship to the world has more in common with the panentheism of heretical process theology (currently popular in liberal circles) than with classical Christian theism. Panentheism holds that God is intrinsically “in” the world (like a hand in a glove), while classical theism holds that God properly exists outside of time and space (Isaiah 57:15).

Finally, the danger of speaking about God in locational terms is that it logically implies that he is by nature a material being. The apostle John clearly communicates that “God is Spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

For further study, see Gordon R. Lewis, “Attributes of God,” in Walter A. Elwell, ed., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 492–499.


“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”

Psalm 139:7–10

More Bible Answers with Hank

Will the Created Cosmos Be Resurrected or Annihilated?

How Can the Eternal Son of God Be the “Firstborn over All Creation”?

Will Adam and Eve Receive Brand-New Bodies in Eternity?

Do Naturalists Consider Chance the Singular Cause of Evolution?

Why Did Heliocentrism Triumph over Geocentrism?

MENU