God’s Attributes: God’s Omnipresence and Eternality

///God’s Attributes: God’s Omnipresence and Eternality

 

God is infinite regarding space. He is larger, greater, above and beyond the physical universe. Another aspect of the infinity of God regarding space is described by the omnipresence of God. The word “present” means “here,” “close to,” or “next to,” and the prefix “omni” means “all” and gives it universality. God is everywhere here. He is close to everything. He is next to everyone. God is bigger than the universe, and beyond it, and yet at the same time He is “Immanuel” – God with us.

The finite mind has a problem with the omnipresence of God. Material things occupy some part of space, but not all of it. All other beings, including angels, are restricted to a given place at a given time. When they are here, they are not there. But God can’t be limited by space. The Lord is infinite and He knows no limits. There can be no limits to His presence. There is no place beyond Him. In His infinitude He surrounds the finite creation and contains it. God is our environment as water is to the fish and air is to the birds. Rabbi Paul declared to the philosophers at Athens: In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). “God is over all things” wrote one ancient writer, “under all things; outside all; within but not enclosed; without but not excluded; above but not raised up; below but not depressed; wholly above, presiding; wholly beneath, sustaining; wholly within, filling. Few truths are taught in the Scriptures with a greater clarity than the omnipresence of God. Where can I go from Your Spirit? asked King David. 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 (Psalm 139:7-10).

People of almost every culture and age have wondered what kind of universe we live in. Is it a material world running all by itself? Or is it spiritual and run by unseen powers? Does the stream of existence begin and end in itself? Is there a connection between spirit and matter? The belief that God is all present within His universe answers many of our deepest questions. The Holy Scriptures declare that the universe is ultimately spiritual in nature. It originated in spirit, and it flows out of spirit. Life is meaningless apart from the Spirit that inhabits it. God created the world by His Word. The Word made all things and then the Word remained in the universe to uphold it and sustain it. The universe does not operate by impersonal laws, but by the creative voice of the immanent and universal presence of the Word of God. One day, if scientists are able to get to the smallest subatomic particles, beyond the atom, beyond the proton and electron, beyond the quark, and beyond what may be beyond the quark, perhaps they will find that the ultimate building blocks of the material universe are spiritual in nature.

God is not only the Creator, but He is also the Sustainer of the universe. He is everywhere present, everywhere imparting life. He is present in every blade of grass, yet at the same time He is guiding giant Betelguese in its course, leading the stars as a host, and calling them all by name. He is present in every human soul, giving it wisdom and understanding, endowing it with gifts, and working in it both to will and to do according to His good pleasure. He is in all things, and over all things, yet different from all things, and not to be confused with any created thing, because He is infinitely exalted over all things.

Knowing the omnipresence of God should change our behavior for the better“You are a God who sees”(Gen.16:13) is both a warning to the wicked and a comfort to the righteous. There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13). Am I a God who is near, declares the Lord, and not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill the heavens and the earth? declares the Lordthrough the prophet Jeremiah to every human being. Are you yielding to sin too easily? You need to meditate on the omnipresence of God.

The knowledge of God’s omnipresence should also bring us comfort because He is always present to save and help us. What great nation is there that has a God so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? (Deut 4:7). The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth(Psalm 145:18) asserted King David. The knowledge that we are never alone, that He will never leave us or forsake us, should bring us supernatural peace when we do go through the most difficult of situations. The truth of God’s omnipresence imparts supreme value to man. Immanuel is present with us. He is near us, He is next to us, and this God see us and knows us better than we know ourselves. God is closer to us than our own thoughts, and His thoughts toward us are full of love and mercy. Are you lacking in joy? You need to meditate on the omnipresence of God, because in His presence is fullness of joy. At His right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Each Person of the tri-une God is everywhere present at all times. There is one God and Father who is above all, and through all, and in all. The Messiah is present wherever two or three are gathered together in His name and fills all things. The Spirit indwells every child of God. God is everywhere here, and through Messiah He is immediately accessible to every human mind and heart. But He must be invited in. He is with you right now as you read this. Even though God is present everywhere does not mean that He is equally present everywhere in all His creatures. His indwelling is in harmony with His nature. He does not dwell on earth as He does in heaven. He does not dwell in animals as He does in men. He does not dwell in the wicked as He does in the righteous. Have you invited Him into your life? You need to invite Him into the very center, the heart and core of your being. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

THE ETERNITY OF GOD

Just as God is infinite regarding space, He is also infinite regarding time. As the Eternal One is free from the limitations of space, He is also free from the limitations of time. The eternity of God may be defined as that perfection of God whereby He is beyond all limitations of time and all succession of moments, and possesses the whole of His existence in one indivisible present. As He is able to be in more than one place at one time, so regarding time He is equally present in the past, the present and the future. All things are equally and always present to Him.

Time is the way we account for changes in the universe. We perceive time as a consecutive series of events. From our perspective, changes don’t take place all at once, but in succession, one after the other. It is the relationship of “after” to “before” that gives us our idea of time. We wait for the seconds to tick on a clock, or the sun to move from east to west. Our existence is marked off by days and weeks, months and years. It is not so with the existence of God. God is not affected by that succession of changes that we call time. The Rock of Ages is not compelled to wait. He waits for nothing! For Him everything that will happen has happened. God is far beyond all time limitations. Time and space are part of the “all things” that came into being through Him. He created time, He fills all time, but He is beyond all time. He is the eternal “I Am.”

That God appears at time’s beginning is not too difficult for us to understand, but that He appears at the beginning and at the end simultaneously is not so easy for us to grasp. He is the Alpha and the Omega at the same time! He is always the Alpha, and He is always the Omega, and He will be the Alpha and the Omega simultaneously forever! He was, He is, and He is to come.

The normal life span of a man is seventy to eighty years. Try to think of your life lasting another seventy or eighty years beyond that. Next try to imagine a thousand years into the future, or a hundred thousand years, or ten million years, or a billion years, or a trillion years. The mind looks backward in time to ages past, then turns and looks forward until thought and imagination collapse from exhaustion; and God is at both points, unaffected by either. When we’ve been there ten billion years, bright shining as the sun, the Ancient of Days will still be there, perfect and unchanged, because time does not change Him. Of old You founded the earth; and the heavens are the works of Your hands. Even they will perish, but You endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end(Psalm 102:25-27).

The Scriptures are full of the truth of God’s eternity. He is the El Olam, the God of Eternity (Gen. 21:33). He is the everlasting King whose years and dominion shall have no end (Daniel 4:34). Of the only true God, Moses was able to write: Before the mountains were born, or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God (Psalm 90:2). Only God is eternal in this sense. No angel is eternal. No man is eternal. All created things, be they men or angels, have a starting point in time. But the Scriptures teach that Messiah Yeshua is also eternal. He too is without beginning and will be without end. His goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity (Micah 5:1). In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-3). He is Avi Ad, the Father of Eternity (Isaiah 9:6-7). He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Rev. 1:8).

We live in time but we were made for eternityHe has set eternity in their hearts says Kohelet in Ecclesiastes 3:11. Might it not be that part of being made in the image of God may be man’s insatiable craving for immortality? The ancient image of God which is deep in the heart of every man hopes that he will continue to exist forever. Deep within us we feel that something is wrong, something is out of place, whenever a human being dies. To be made for eternity and forced to live in time is very difficult for us. We human creatures are constantly frustrated by the limitations imposed on us by time. Life is so short; the years of our lives are so few. We are here today and gone tomorrow. Just when we have finally learned our jobs, just when we master our trades, it is time to retire. There simply is not enough time to think, to do, and to become all that we are capable of thinking, doing and becoming. There isn’t enough time to climb every mountain, cross every sea, explore every land, raise a family, read every good book, see every decent movie, or enjoy every friend that we desire. Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble (Isaiah 40:24).

For those outside of Messiah, time is a terrible, relentless, unconquerable enemy. It is a devouring beast. People of the world know that time is short. Many people spend billions of dollars each year to overcome the effects of time. They worry about not accomplishing everything they would like to do before they die. But before the sons of the eternal time crouches and purrs and licks their hands. We live in an extremely busy age when time seems to be speeding up faster and faster, and we seem to have less time to do the things that are most important. To get a better perspective on life we would do well to meditate on the length of our days in light of eternity. It is good to think about our mortality and God’s immortality. Teach us to number our days that we might present to You a heart of wisdom was a good prayer for Moses thirty five hundred years ago, and it is still a good prayer for those of us living in the last decade of the twentieth century.

Since we were made for time as well as for eternity, we would be well advised to deal with both. Everything within us cries for life and continued existence and permanence. Yet everything around us reminds us of mortality and change. The fact that God has set eternity in our hearts is a prophecy yet to be fulfilled for those who love the eternal God. Because God is eternal, that which He loves and those to whom he has covenanted to be their God also become eternal. God’s eternity and man’s mortality join to persuade us that faith in Messiah Yeshua is not optional, but essential. Out of the depths of eternity King Messiah came into the reaches of time to rescue His human brothers and sisters who had made themselves slaves to death and time. When Messiah Yeshua appeared, He abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News. So wrote Rabbi Paul, shortly before he went out to meet his executioner.

Eternal years lie with God. Those who are united to Him will share all the riches of limitless time and endless years. We will have the opportunity to do, think, become, explore everything we are capable of. There will be no deadlines. To know this truth can comfort and quiet our minds and hearts. The free gift of God is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord. That gift is as limitless as the Giver. The Messianic Believer possesses God’s own life, and will share His infinitude over time with Him. In God there is life enough for all, and time enough for all to enjoy it. The person who understands his mortality and the eternity of God is at once relieved of a million problems and anxieties. He understands that many of these problems have to do with matters which cannot concern him for very long. Therefore He can give up his anxieties and leave his worries to the eternal God.

For every man it must be Messiah or eternal tragedy. It must be eternal life or eternal death. This is life eternal, to know the only true God, and Messiah Yeshua whom He sent. Do you have that life? He who has the Messiah has that eternal life and will never die. I ask you, do you have Messiah?

I am indebted to The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer for this article.

By |2017-01-30T21:44:04+00:00May 28th, 2013|Categories: Theology|Tags: |Comments Off on God’s Attributes: God’s Omnipresence and Eternality

About the Author:

Rabbi Loren Jacobs is the senior rabbi and founder of “Congregation Shema Yisrael” (which means “Hear O Israel”). Congregation Shema Yisrael is a Messianic synagogue which was started in 1986 when Rabbi Loren and his wife Martha moved to Michigan to proclaim the Good News about the Messiah to the Jewish people living in the metro Detroit area.Rabbi Loren was raised in a Jewish home in the Chicago area, and became a Messianic Jew in 1975. He graduated from Moody Bible Institute’s Jewish Studies program in 1979 and received a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Literature from Northeastern Bible College in New Jersey in 1986. His wife Martha is a fifth generation Messianic Jew, which is quite unusual. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.