"Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you."
God is everywhere. This should be a great comfort to us who believe in Him. When we say “God is everywhere,” we mean something very different than what some people mean when they assert this. Paul says in Acts 17 that the ancients rightly said, “we live and move and have our being in God.” In other words, God is not contained in nature. Rather, all that is not God is separate from God in its being. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that God upholds all things by the word of His power. So the God who made all things keeps all things in existence. In fact, the New Testament assigns this activity to the reigning Christ Jesus. This gives us a very different view of reality. Everything that “is” depends on the personal God and is especially given to our mediator, the Lord Jesus, to oversee for the purposes of bringing all of created reality to its intended conclusion for the glory of God and the salvation of His people. Reality then is personal, not just simply a matter of molecules colliding. Everything is designed and unfolding to a purpose and it is controlled by a Someone, not a something. In this sense then, God is everywhere. He doesn’t have to come in here, He already is here – everywhere. And since God is a spirit, He is not material. Therefore we do not think of God as being a mist sprinkled throughout the world and the universe. In theology, we say God is everywhere all at once and in all His being.
This explains why it is not a horrifying thought to realize that we live as material beings alone in the universe. Because, of course, we are not alone – God is there and the angels and other spiritual beings exist and some are even present quietly, mysteriously, and unknown to us working on our behalf who believe and trust in God. But as creatures made in the image of God, mankind was given the only inhabitable place in the universe. God made this planet to be our habitation and home. It was to be a place of blessed fellowship between God and His man designed especially for that purpose. So while we say with complete assurance that God is everywhere, even in the remotest stretches of the universe, still and all we must say with added emphasis that God has a special interest and presence by His Holy Spirit in this world.
Let me put it in the simplest of form: God is here. And wherever you are, God is here. After Adam sinned this became a statement that is not universally comfortable. Because this world has been tainted with sin, God pronounced a curse on mankind and the world that God made for man to inhabit. So nature is red in tooth and claw, so to speak. Death reigns in a world designed to be our home resplendent with life. Both elements are still discernable in the world we behold. God’s wisdom, power, and majesty are still apparent in the world He made. Everything around us testifies to the manifold wisdom, beauty, and ongoing goodness of God. However, it is no longer a place unmixed with sorrow, fear, and pain. But there is a man who now lives in unspeakable majestic glory. He is the person Jesus who died and rose from the dead and is alive today at the right hand of God in heaven. He says he went to glory in order to prepare a place for us. A place where we could live with God. And that place will descend with Jesus and make this world a new habitation for God and man to dwell together. A new heaven and a new earth!
Until then, Jesus is alive and bringing the special attention of God right to us each one who believes. In this sense then, when we say “God is everywhere” we are not saying that God merely exists but we are saying that He is here with us from heaven focusing His eye upon us. He knows us, He loves us, He is near us, even in us. He is around us. He is caring for us, protecting us, providing for us, sustaining us. Jesus lives. Wherever we are it is always true, “I am with you.” In this sense there is great comfort in knowing that the infinite, all-knowing, all-powerful God is everywhere present. In every chemical and magnetic and electrical function of every cell in our body – God is there. He knows every material interaction in the universe of your body, and of the moons of Jupiter. He is there. But in a special way, God made us to know Him. And there is a strange, almost unknowable distinction in reality between what is truly material and the mind and soul of man. God is not just out there. He is IN here.
Do you not have some sense of this? When Helen Keller was told of God by her teacher, Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller said “Oh, that’s who He is.” In her blind darkness and in the deep silence of her deafness, she was always aware of another presence within her. Have you not felt the same thing, even as a little child? But it is even more so for the believer in Jesus Christ for He said that when we believe in Him, the Father and the Son make us His home by the Holy Spirit. So in this world we can know God with us in a very intimate, inner way. We abide in Christ and Christ Jesus abides in us if we abide in His word. Everywhere is therefore not just an extensive idea, but also an intensive idea. Psalm 139 quoted above reminds us that anywhere in God’s created reality, whether spiritual or physical in nature, God is there. And we cannot escape Him. Those who do not love Him would like to escape Him. But those of us who love Him and need His forgiveness long for His presence and He supplies it. He may not be tangible in the strictest sense of that word, but God is there and God is here. Paul exclaims in Romans 8:35-39 – “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” To put a fine point on it, Paul is saying nothing, nowhere can separate us from the love of God. In this way we say “God is everywhere.” When you are tempted to sin, we need to remember this. When we are lonely, we need to remember this. When we are dying, we need to remember this. When we are looking to the future, we need to remember this. God is everywhere. He will never leave us or forsake us.
Furthermore, the Bible teaches us we are to seek His face and the psalmist says “Lord, your face I will seek.” Nothing, nowhere can prevent us from knowing that blessing. Seek the Lord when He may be found and call upon Him when He is near. And the promise of Scripture is draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Then you will say with the psalmist in Psalm 73 “It is good to be near the Lord.” This is a comfort that God is everywhere for the believer in whatever state or place he finds himself to be.