Article by: BK. T. D. Joseph, Bangalore, India tdjaum(AT)gmail.com – If you have questions or remarks about this article, please contact the author.
There are many people who believe that God is omnipresent. Is He really present everywhere? If yes, can the following questions satisfactorily be answered?
1.If He is omnipresent, how will He distinguish Himself and others—inanimate and animate?
2.If He is omnipresent, where will evil or sin exist, as He is the source of all goodness and holiness?
3.When hard-core sadists enjoy inflicting pain on others, or carnivorous animals hunt and eat innocent animals like lambs, what happens to His presence in the pain-giver and the recipient?
4.If God is omnipresent, before breathing his last why should Jesus cry out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”? (Mark 15:33; Luke 23:46)
5.The English word ‘religion’ comes from Latin word ‘religare’ which means to re-unite. Religions are helping people [who were separated from God] to re-unite with Him. How can the separation and re-union with God be possible, if He is omnipresent? Hence can religions really teach He is omnipresent?
Bible says God resides in a particular place (Mathew 6:9). So does the Quran (Surah al-Mulk 67:17) God is quoted as saying He is “the minutest of the minute,” and yet He is the “Supreme Divine Being” residing in “Supreme Abode.” – Gita 8:9, 10, 21.
This is a fact supported by our experience too. Supreme Soul, our Heavenly Father is “SPIRIT,” declare the Bible and the Bhagavat Gita. (John 4:24; Gita 14:3, 4) Hence we, His children, are the exact representation of His very being, and are spirits or souls in this costume called bodies. (Gita 8:3) Just like the Supreme Soul resides in a particular place, our souls too reside in a particular place, something that everyone can feel for themselves. Close your eyes and be aware of your true Self. You can easily experience the body as the human (container) where the Being resides.
The Being, which is YOU, situated just above and behind the eyes (center of the forehead) within the brain. This is like driver’s seat from where You do your thinking, analyzing, and directing every movement of the vehicle—your body—through the 5 physical sense organs. You are the POINT OF CONSCIOUSNESS within the body, which is called by many names: Soul, Spirit, Atma, Inner-Self, Pure-Consciousness … etc. Thus what is true of our Heavenly Father is true of us also—He is not present everywhere in the macro universe, just as one’s soul is not present everywhere in his body, the micro universe.
Still, why do some people believe that God is omnipresent? This and variant of this teaching Tat Tvam Asi [Sanskrit] which means “You are THAT (God),” may have originated from an innocent desire to fight egoism and to help people to view everyone equally, and thus to instill in them compassion towards one another. However, was that extreme assertion really necessary as others too—including atheists—can show compassion towards fellow humans? These teachings may have helped a very few.
However, their unforeseen results eclipse all their benefits. Look at the opposite fruitage of these teachings on those who believe it. These teachings obviously imply that God and sin are INSEPARABLY connected. ‘If God is omnipresent, or I am THAT, then sin should also exist in God, just as it does in me,’ one may feel. Hence instead of feeling motivated to fight against vices, one may feel licentious to do whatever he feels like! This may also be fanned by stories of gods whose lust and greed make interesting reading. As a result, people go casual about everything, and become self-centered, which is called “sin.” (Gita 3:13) If God resides within everyone, how can one [in whom God resides] perform wicked acts against another human [in whom too God resides]?
Any belief should be tested by the fruits it produces. The above two teachings are prevalent in Bharat. What have they produced? Very few may have become more spiritual believing God is everywhere or they are Gods, whereas vast majority are gone opposite. For example, Bharath is synonymous with over-population. At the root of over-population lie lust, instant gratification and utter disregard for the welfare of others / future generation. If LUST is not fulfilled, ANGER arises; if it is fulfilled GREED arises. And it is these three vices—“lust, anger, and greed”—that Holy Lord calls as “gate of hell.” —Gita 16:21.
Certain qualities can be omnipresent, but their source need not be all-pervasive. Sun, even while it is not omnipresent, its qualities such as heat and light are pervasive in all direction. Similarly, God is not omnipresent, but His qualities are omnipresent. For example, His wisdom is seen in all His works; His power is seen in each and every atom; and His justice is seen in never-failing mechanism, Law of Causation, functioning everywhere in Nature. Knowing this can make people responsible-minded, not licentious!