Expert Answer Forum
Omnipresence QUESTION from Leo Barker February 14, 2000 I am a 20 year old University student and a member of the Church of England. This is the first time I have ever seen the forum and I have to say that it is an excellent idea - using modern technology such as the internet to aid Christians in their strife or search for theological knowledge.
My question is thus (and I pray that you regard this question as a theological dilemma and not some sort of blasphemous attack on the Church or anything): God's omniscience and omnipotence I can understand. He knows all our hopes and our fears, He sees us through the suffering in our lives, and shines His love and light around us always. But what of his omnipresence? If God exists in each one of us, in each animal, in each flower and tree, His spirit burning in every joyful thought that fills our heads, then what of daemons? Is God inside all the daemons too? Or every evil thought? Or sinful deed? I cannot contemplate any of this, and yet omnipresence, 'being present in all places at the same time'seems to suggest that this is indeed the case.
Please could you put my beating mind to rest?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on Monday, February 21, 2000 Dear Mr. Barker:
It is not so much that God is not in hell, it is that the demons and the souls in hell are not in Him.
The state of mind of demons is such, and the state of mind of those in hell is such, that the light of God doesn’t reach them. It is there, but they do not see it. They have chosen to no see it.
It can be like the old soap opera dilemma: boy is surrounded by the love of the girl. EVERYONE else sees it, but the boy can’t see it in front of his eyes. God is all around us but we just don’t notice. For demons and the souls in hell, they refuse to notice what is right in front of their eyes.
In terms of God being in us, in one sense God is in all things. He is the sustainer of all things. If God was not sustaining us the very molecules of our body would fall apart.
But in terms of a more complete way, God does not intrude upon us. He comes when He is invited. When we are baptized we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. But if we refuse that Sacrament or any other Sacrament, then we tell God we don’t want Him in us. He respects that.
He has given his creatures, Angels and humans, the ability to think. Our thoughts are our own, but are allowed only by God’s permissive will. God does not inspire evil thoughts, but he allows them to exist due to His gift of free will.
I don’t know if any of this is helping. You actually touch on a highly theological issue of which I did not give justice to in my answer here. I am talking off the top of my pointed head.
I am short on time here today, but the one source that I would spend some time with if I were to answer this question more thoroughly is Thomas Aquinas. I would suggest looking in that direction.
If I get some more time, I may come back to this. Forgive me for not being more thorough. I usually like giving thorough answers, but this one is heavy and my illness has put me nearly 20 questions behind. If I can remember, I will try to come back to this.
Hopefully, what I have touched on here will help you a little.
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