Version: v1, Published online: 1998
Retrieved February 22, 2024, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/omnipresence/v-1
Western Scripture and religious experience find God present everywhere. Western thinkers make sense of this as their concepts of God dictate. Pantheists hold that God’s being everywhere is every bit of matter’s being a part or an aspect of God. Panentheists say that as God is the soul of the universe, God’s being everywhere is his enlivening the whole universe as souls enliven bodies. But most theists reject these views, as most think that if God is perfect, he cannot be, be made of, or be embodied in a flawed and material universe. Most theists think God intrinsically spaceless, that is, able to exist even if no space exists. Still, theists argue that God’s knowledge of and power over creation make him present within it without occupying space or being embodied in matter. Some add that God is present in space not just by power and knowledge but in his very being. These try to explain a spaceless God’s presence in space by likening it to the presence of a universal attribute like hardness. Hardness is not spread over hard surfaces, occupying them by having parts of itself in parts of them. Each part of a hard surface is hard. So all of hardness is in each part of a hard surface. So too, theists say, God is not spread out over space, filling parts of it with parts of himself. Rather, all of God is wholly present at each point in space and in each spatial thing.
Leftow, Brian. Omnipresence, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-K060-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/omnipresence/v-1.
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