This the 4th installment of a review of RA Torrey’s 1898 publication What The Bible Teaches. See all of Lex’s posts here. A PDF copy of the book can be downloaded here. You are welcome and encouraged to join the discussion.
Chapter 4. THE OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD
I. GOD IS EVERYWHERE
He knows when you are sleeping; he knows when you’re awake; he knows when you’ve been bad or good . . . no, I’m talking about God. Sure, for a lot of people I might as well be talking about Santa Claus since to some they represent the same level of mythology, from the likes of so-called funny man Bill Maher to intellectual Steven Hawking. There are those who find the concept of a super intelligent entity who is everywhere and knows everything and reads everyone’s thoughts and intentions either amusing or dangerous. Amusing in childlike gullibility; dangerous in that it breeds hostile fanaticism. We can at least all agree it is incomprehensible.
Scriptures are replete with references to the omnipresence of the Lord. From Psalm 139 asking where in the universe one could go to escape His presence – answer, nowhere – to Jeremiah 23:24, “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD. And yet even as God fills the vastness of the universe still He is close to everyone of us, as Paul tells the Athenians, that “they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist . . .” (Acts 17:27,28)
Thus the dilemma for the human mind, how can someone so vast be so personal and intimate with mankind. How can He be everywhere and yet localized in the person of Jesus Christ walking the earth two thousand years ago, or sitting on a throne in Heaven in eternity amidst a Heavenly throng? We ask aghast like Nicodemus, “How can these things be?”
Perhaps a child can perceive God’s omnipresence most easily, after all Jesus did say “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” (Mark 10:15), possibly because the young don’t have all the baggage and cynicism and trust issues that seems to be an inevitable outcome of growing up. Adults have seem to have skepticism programmed into them, the effect of years of battling with this life; kind of like the theme of Ecclesiastes, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecc. 1:2) which I paraphrase as, “What a Waste.”
As a child I looked up at the night sky, similarly as As Lex mentioned last week, awed and amazed at the immensity of the visible universe, perceiving there was a lot more to existence than met the eye. I read enough astronomy books to be completely astonished at the myriads of galaxies flung throughout creation, and instinctively knew there was someone who must have designed, engineered and created it all, that it just couldn’t come into existence by itself. Yet even today the brilliant Steven Hawking has the “faith” to say that something can create nothing (as reported in this article in The Telegraph. How brilliant do you have to be to believe that nothing could contain something with which it is able to create? Talk about incomprehensible!
II. GOD IS NOT EVERYWHERE IN THE SAME SENSE
But there really are things that are just too incomprehensible to the human mind. That God could create all that is and exist outside of His creation and yet that He could be so intimately involved in His creation to walk among us, like He has since The Garden up to and including the Nativity, that He could care enough for our lost little world to visit us and pay the ultimate price for our redemption . . . it just boggles the mind! Many give it little thought, blindly going about one’s business, going to Church on Sunday and living like the devil the rest of the week, wrapped up in their own little world. I hate to admit that even reading His word daily and leaning on Him constantly for survival in this constant struggle called life, I sometimes strain in really grasping the immensity of such a great God, too easily distracted by less important things. I think if I only had half the faith that I know I should have I’d have less trouble surrendering control of everything I have to His will.
God dwells in the Believer. This is why it should be an especially powerful influence in our behavior, in our desires, in thought, word, and deed. God Himself in the Holy Spirit actually dwells in those who have invited Him in! (John 14:17) How is that not an earth shattering prospect? I am convinced that we tend to have a poor realization of this Biblical fact. Otherwise we would more convincingly manifest God’s grace internally and externally, and would really be salt and light to our communities. Wouldn’t this world be a better place if only the Holy Spirit could more effectively work through us?
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]