Is God Everywhere All Of the Time?
Genesis 18:21, I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
Genesis 11:7, Go to let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
The above verses are very interesting to look at in light of the view that God is omnipresent, (meaning God is always everywhere all the time.) God says that he will go down “now”, implying that he is not already there. Since he was going “down”, it seems that he was not there when he said this. He was going to see, to verify, what he had heard. He said “if not I will know.” His words reveal that he didn’t know at the time he said this. Why would God state something that was not true? If God is omnipresent like some say, then God would be telling us something that was false. What purpose would it serve for God to claim that he did not know, when he did know? We should conclude that God was telling the truth. I believe God could certainly distance himself from any place he chooses. In the second verse he says something similar: “let us go down”. How do we make sense of this statement if it were not a literal statement?
It has been said that it would be limiting God to say he is not everywhere all the time and that he knows everything all the time. I could turn that around and say it is limiting God to say he can’t choose not to be somewhere if he wishes, or to say that God has to know something. God can know what he wants to know and I think if he chooses not to know the details of the wickedness in a certain place he can refuse to know.
God’s Dwelling Place is in Heaven.
The Scriptures say many times that heaven is God’s dwelling place. Here are a few examples:
Matt 6:9, After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Deut 26:15, Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
2 Chr 30:27, Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.
1 Kings 8:30, “And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.”
There are quite a few more mentioning God’s dwelling place in heaven, which is one location. It seems we should take these words literally, that God resides in Heaven.
Job 1:6-7, Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
This verse seems to portray God being in one location at the time, and Satan having come from somewhere that God wasn’t. Satan came from roaming the earth and he came to God. It appears that God was not on Earth at that moment.
God Has a Form
Exodus 33:22-23, And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
Was God everywhere in heaven and earth? Or was he right here talking to Moses, even letting Moses see his hind parts?
Genesis 3:8, And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3 states that God was walking in the garden. It is true that no one can escape God, but Adam and Eve hid themselves from his presence. That is not to say that God didn’t know where they were, but that his presence was in one location. Was God’s presence not there in the garden? What reason do we have to believe that God was everywhere else at the same time?
Those who hold to the belief that God is everywhere sometimes use the following verses in favor of it. My thoughts follow:
Psalm 139:8, Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Saying that you cannot hide from God and saying that he is omnipresent are two very different things. David was saying that nowhere he could go would hide him from God, which is not the same as saying that God is everywhere at once.
Deuteronomy 4:39, Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, he is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.
This verse and similar ones have been used to say God is always present everywhere on earth and heaven at the same time. This is not a very thorough explanation of this verse. It is simply saying that God is God in heaven and on earth. He is God of everything.
Proverbs 15: 3 “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
Nothing escapes the attention of God. He sees everything that he wants to see. There is no hiding from God.
Jeremiah 23:24, Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD
Yet another verse confirming that there is nothing and nowhere that you can hide from God. There is no place off limits to God.
There is nothing in the Bible that leads me to believe that God is everywhere present at all times. In my opinion, the scriptures used to argue for the view are weak. A thorough examination of the scriptures finds that God dwells in heaven and comes down to interact with his creation when he deems it necessary.