Previously, we saw that God is unlimited with regard to time. Even though we – as humans – are bound by the limits of time, He is not. There is another arena in which we are limited while God is not, and that is the arena of space. As human beings we can be in only one place at a time. We must make choices because of the limits of our nature. God, however, is left with no such choices. The Bible is clear that He is “omnipresent” – that is, He is present in all places all the time.
The reason this can be so is because God is a Spirit (John 4:24). He does not a physical body like us – which means He does not have physical limitations like us either. The Bible does speak of God’s “body parts” in numerous places (i.e. His hand or His arm or His eye), but these are not literal body parts. They are images meant to highlight certain aspects of His character and care. In reality, God does not “take up space”, so He is not limited by space. In fact, He cannot be measured because He does not have “dimensions” or “size” at all. As Spirit, He is present at every point in space all the time.
We see this put forth in various ways in the Bible. In Jeremiah 23:23-24, God Himself says, “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?…Do I not fill heaven and earth?” The Lord “fills” all places. There is not a place we can go and be “away” from Him. David makes this very clear in Psalm 139:7-10. There is nowhere we can flee from God’s presence. He is in heaven…and in Sheol…and in the uttermost parts of the earth as well. He cannot be escaped or avoided. He is fully present everywhere.
At the same time, the Scriptures also make this point by highlighting that God cannot be contained by any single place. At the dedication of the Temple, Solomon says, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” (1 Kin. 8:27). Solomon recognized that God cannot be contained by any location or dwelling. In Isaiah 66:1, likewise, God says, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is place of my rest?” The point of this imagery is that God cannot be contained – especially by a “house” built by men. Stephen also declares that “the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands” (Acts 7:48). God cannot be contained. He is everywhere.
But what about the times in Scripture when God is said to “be” somewhere or have His “presence” somewhere – like the tabernacle or the Temple or Jerusalem? We should recognize that in those instances, the Bible is not saying that God was present in one place but not in another. Rather, it is highlighting the special nature of His presence in one place as opposed to another. Even though God is present everywhere, that does not mean He manifests Himself in the same way in every location. Based on what is happening and who is present, God can be present to punish (Amos 9:1-4) or to bless (Ps. 16:11; John 14:23; Rom. 8:9-10; 2 Cor. 3:17). Obviously, in one instance, God’s presence would be welcomed while in the other it would be feared. God manifests Himself differently based on the situation, but He is always present everywhere.
But is this really that important? What does it matter that God is everywhere? There are two main applications. First, as David made clear in Psalm 139, it means that we cannot escape God’s presence. Even when we think no one knows what we are doing or thinking, God does. He sees and knows and is watching. We should always keep in mind that God is with us, so that we will seek to do what pleases Him. The next time you are tempted, consider that God is with you so that you will flee from sin and honor Him. You cannot escape His presence.
On the other hand, for those who are God’s children, the fact that God is everywhere means there is never a moment of life when we are alone. God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). Even when we are persecuted, we are not forsaken (2 Cor. 4:9). God is present at all times. And since God is full of every perfect quality – strength, wisdom, grace, etc. – we can have confidence that we will always have what we need regardless of the situation in which we find ourselves. God is present – which means He is always there for us…in the truest sense of that phrase. We should rest in this truth and rejoice in the God who is everywhere.