Kings 8:27, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You,
how much less this house which I have built!”
Acts 17:27-28, “…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, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’”
Psalms 139:7-10, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.”
Today we attempt to address the immanence of God and in so doing we have to consider a branch of philosophy known as “metaphysics.” We know that God is “omnipresent” – He is everywhere. His immanence is an indication of His presence in and around all things. He literally penetrates all that is and all that is, exists within Him. A very basic illustration might be that a bucket cast into the sea is full of the ocean. Also, simultaneously, the ocean contains the bucket. God both dwells within the universe and, at the same time, contains the universe. He dwells within us, and yet we exist within Him.
The concept of omnipresence deals with the remoteness of man. Man is often distant from and dissimilar to God. Hell is reserved for those who are so unholy and dissimilar to God. We are lost, and even dead in a spiritual sense. For those who are similar to God, heaven awaits because that is where their being belongs. Atonement to God occurs through the saving grace of The Loving God, and a repentant response to the merciful message of the Gospel of Jesus.
That concurrent act of atonement is found through the grace of God in Jesus’ sacrifice. It was planned for us before we were born. It was contemplated before the first brick of creation was laid. It is an act which occurs for the sake of those who are dead in their sins and needing to be raised to newness of life. Theologically, atonement is the transference of guilt from a guilty party to an innocent sacrificial individual. In early Judaism the image is found in the “Judas goat” or scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:9-10) The priest would lay upon the animal the sins the sins of the Jewish people and release that same innocent animal to be devoured by the predators of the forest into which it was released.
Leviticus 16:9-10, “Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the LORD fell, and make it a sin offering.
(10) “But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make
atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.”
It is difficult for man to understand the place of God in this world. We barely understand our own place. It
might be said that man totally misses God’s existence. We argue over His material abilities and yet He stands in
witness to all of this. Much like people who talk about a hospital patient while standing the presence of the patient, forgetting that they are actually still present.
The point is that God is with us. He is around us. So many of His attributes exist within us – He states we are
made in His image. (Genesis 1:26) Yet, we have the complete ability to defy that created purpose. To be created
in the image of God speaks more to our purpose than any physical representations. We are to be “holy” as He is
holy. (Leviticus 20:7; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Hebrews 3:1, 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Ephesians 1:4) We are called to
be merciful. (James 2:13, 3:17) We are called to be lights in darkness. (John 1:1-5, 6-9, 29-30; 8:12; Matthew 5:14-
16) We are called to be salt in an unsavory world. (Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34) We are called to be
pure amidst the defiled and disgraced. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
Godspeed on your journey to better understand the place of God in your life!