Here and Everywhere



Scripture teaches us that God is omnipresent, meaning that “God is everywhere.” Solomon proclaimed, “the heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.” And the psalmist praised God by proclaiming, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Ps 139:7) In Saint Augustine’s words, “everything that you fill, you fill with all your being” (Confessions 1.3). God’s presence is inescapable because he is everywhere.

However, there is a difference between saying “God is everywhere,” and saying “God is here.” Both are true, but they are not the same thing. The former is our default way of thinking, which is fine, but if that is all that it is then his presence is impersonal. When we say “God is here” we are emphasizing an important theological concept: immanence. Meaning, God is close and intimate. Scripture emphasizes God’s manifest presence more than his omnipresence because his presence manifests in relationship and redemption. This is why Jesus is called Emmanuel, "God with us," because in Christ God became incarnate flesh in order to make "his dwelling among us" (John 1:14).

Read Psalm 139 again and pay attention to how the psalmist praises God not merely for being omnipresent, but for being present everywhere that he is. The psalmist is confident that from the time he was knit in the womb till his death, God has been and will be intimately close. God was immanent when he manifested with his people in the tabernacle/temple, God is immanent with us now through the incarnation of Christ, and will continue to be immanent in the new heaven and new earth. Yes, God is everywhere, but he is also here.

High King of Heaven, you are here, near to the brokenhearted. (Ps 34:18)


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