The Bible’s Viewpoint
Is God Omnipresent?
MANY people believe that God is omnipresent, meaning that he is literally everywhere and in everything. Wise King Solomon made this request to Jehovah in prayer: “May you yourself hear from the heavens, your established place of dwelling.” (1 Kings 8:30, 39) According to the Bible, then, Jehovah God has a place of dwelling. Solomon referred to that place as “the heavens.” But what does that mean?
The Bible sometimes uses the words “heaven” and “heavens” to refer to the physical realm surrounding the earth. (Genesis 2:1, 4) However, since God created all things, his dwelling place must have existed before he formed the material universe. Hence, God must exist in a realm that is not bound by material things. Therefore, when the Bible speaks of heaven as the dwelling place of Jehovah God, it is referring, not to a location in the sky or in outer space, but to a spirit realm.
A Stunning Vision
The Bible provides us with a captivating glimpse of Jehovah’s dwelling place through a vision that was given to the apostle John. In that vision, John saw an opened door in the heavens and then heard a voice say to him: “Come on up here.”—Revelation 4:1.
Next, John was presented with a stunning vision of Jehovah God himself. In part, this is what he saw: “A throne was in its position in heaven . . . The one seated is, in appearance, like a jasper stone and a precious red-colored stone, and round about the throne there is a rainbow like an emerald in appearance. . . . Out of the throne there are proceeding lightnings and voices and thunders . . . And before the throne there is, as it were, a glassy sea like crystal.”—Revelation 4:2-6.
Here is a vivid description of Jehovah’s resplendent beauty and incomparable magnificence. And notice the environment that surrounds Jehovah’s throne. The rainbow suggests serenity and peace. The lightnings, voices, and thunders emphasize God’s power. The glassy sea draws attention to the clean standing of all those in God’s presence.
Although the imagery presented here is symbolic, it tells us much about God’s dwelling place. Jehovah maintains perfect order in heaven. His dwelling place is not in chaos.
In All Places at All Times?
The fact that Jehovah has a place of dwelling indicates that he is not in all places at all times. How, then, can he be aware of what is happening? (2 Chronicles 6:39) One way is through his holy spirit, or active force. The psalmist wrote: “Where can I go from your spirit, and where can I run away from your face? If I should ascend to heaven, there you would be; and if I should spread out my couch in Sheol, look! you would be there.”—Psalm 139:7-10.
To understand the pervasive effect of God’s holy spirit, picture the sun. It is at a specific location but distributes energy to a vast portion of the earth. Similarly, Jehovah God has a place of dwelling. But he can perform whatever his will is anywhere in the universe. Furthermore, Jehovah can use his holy spirit to perceive what is happening anywhere and at any time. Thus, 2 Chronicles 16:9 states: “As regards Jehovah, his eyes are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.”
God also has under his control an organization of spirit creatures called angels. The Bible indicates that those spirits may number into the hundreds of millions—perhaps billions or more.a (Daniel 7:10) The Bible record contains numerous instances where angels acted as God’s representatives and came to earth, spoke to humans, and reported back to God. For example, in the days of Abraham, angels investigated a cry of complaint about Sodom and Gomorrah. God decided to destroy those cities, evidently after receiving the report from those angels.—Genesis 18:20, 21, 33; 19:1, 13.
The Bible therefore indicates that there is no need for Jehovah God literally to be everywhere. Through the operation of his holy spirit and through his angelic forces, he is able to be fully aware of what is happening with regard to his creation.
Clearly, the Bible can help us to get better acquainted with our Creator. In it we learn that God lives in an established place called heaven, a spirit realm outside the physical heavens. With him, there are myriads of mighty spirit creatures who also reside in the spirit realm. And his abode is characterized by serenity, power, and purity. The Bible assures us that in due time mankind will enjoy on earth peaceful conditions such as those that exist in the heavens.—Matthew 6:10.
a Revelation 5:11 depicts “myriads of myriads” of angels around God’s throne. A myriad is 10,000. One myriad times one myriad (10,000 x 10,000) is 100 million. Yet, this scripture uses the term “myriads of myriads,” thus allowing for the possibility of many billions of spirit creatures.
HAVE YOU WONDERED?
● How far-reaching is God’s spirit?—Psalm 139:7-10.
[Blurb on page 29]
The sun is in a fixed location, but its energy can be felt over a vast area. Similarly, God has a place of dwelling, but his holy spirit can be felt anywhere in the universe that he chooses