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“Thou shalt have no other god before me.”  (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

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If God Is Here -

Where Is He?

March 10, 2012

Every month there are people who end up at this site looking for answers to questions like these two:

What does God want?

Does God cry when we die?

These are people that believe that at least God is here -
but maybe wondering whether he still cares.

There are also times when people are searching for the exact two questions that this section is all about:

Is God still here?
Does God still care?


From the way the questions were worded -
there's still a belief that, at least at some point, God must have existed.
If one is asking "Does God
still..." -
then there's an assumption that He did exist -
at least at some point -
and the question is whether or not He still does.


So - this begs the question -
Where is God?


It's not just coincidence that this question came to my mind now.

In the Screwtape Letters study that we're doing now, we just went over Letter #18. In that letter, Screwtape - the devil who is writing these letters - tells his Nephew:

The whole philosophy of Hell rests on recognition of the axiom that one thing is not another thing, and, specially, that one self is not another self. My good is my good and your good is yours. What one gains another loses. Even an inanimate object is what it is by excluding all other objects from the space it occupies; if it expands, it does so by thrusting other objects aside or by absorbing them. A self does the same. With beasts the absorption takes the form of eating; for us, it means the sucking of will and freedom out of a weaker self into a stronger. ‘To be’ means ‘to be in competition’.

The key part of that, for purposes of this article is -

Even an inanimate object is what it is by excluding all other objects from the space it occupies; if it expands, it does so by thrusting other objects aside or by absorbing them. A self does the same.

Screwtape is assuming that we - human people - are the same as inanimate objects.
In some regards - he is correct.
If we take two objects - put one in place and try to put the other in the same place - it's not going to work. Maybe the original one will be moved out of place by the act of putting the second one in the same space. Maybe the first one won't budge - and the second will fail to take it's place. Maybe the second one has enough force that the first will be destroyed, making room for the second. The possibilities are numerous - but in no case can two solid objects both occupy the same space at the same time and remain the same two distinct solid objects.
It's not possible for two people to occupy the exact same space either. If two people want to sit on the same chair - it has to be either next to each other or on top of each other. However - unlike two inanimate objects - two people can manage to figure out how to manage to occupy adjoining spaces without the same outcomes as the two inanimate objects.


So - what about God?

Does He figure out how to exist in a different space from us - but still be "in the same area" as us?


I have to say right up front - I am not going to tell you where He is - other than to say everywhere. I'm also not going to tell you exactly how this can be true - that He is everywhere. My goal is to give you a possible way that He can be.


Let's see what the Bible says about this " where is God" question.

From Defending your Faith by Dan Story, we see the diagram below:














So God is omnipresent - everywhere - at all times.

Let's see the references to omnipresent -

For God, The Father - Jeremiah 23:23-24

Jer 23:23 “Am I only a God nearby,”
declares the LORD,
“and not a God far away?

Jer 23:24 Can anyone hide in secret places
so that I cannot see him?”
declares the LORD.
“Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the LORD.


For God, The Son - Matthew 28:16-20

Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


For God, The Holy Spirit - Psalms 139:7-10

Ps 139:7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

Ps 139:8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

Ps 139:9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

Ps 139:10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.


This is all well and good for the person who has the understanding of what this is all about - and for someone who has the faith that God is in fact three persons in one.

But then - that person isn't likely to be asking the questions that we're examining here. They aren't going to be asking does God exist - and if He does exist - where is He?
How do we simplify this but not lose the point and the meaning?

I think that Jesus answered this question of where is God in a simpler way - one that His disciples would understand.


God the Father -
In Matthew 6:9-15 - Jesus tells us how to pray -

Mt 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Notice the first line of this prayer - ‘Our Father in heaven,…’
At this time, Jesus didn't get into the details of how God is "three in one" - and didn't try to explain how God the Father is everywhere. He made it very simple -
‘Our Father in heaven,…’

If you're asking the question - where is God - this would seem to be a good starting place for where is God The Father - in Heaven. At this point - don't even worry about where is Heaven. Keep it simple. God the Father is in Heaven.

This may seem odd - maybe you think I'm asking for a leap of faith that you're not ready for. Actually - that's exactly what Jesus told His disciples :

Jn 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.

<More on this verse later>.


So - what about God, The Son?
He was here on earth - He was crucified - He rose from the dead - and ascended to Heaven. When Jesus appeared to the Disciples after rising from the dead, we have this account of what happened from Luke 24:36-53 -

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

Lk 24:36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

Lk 24:37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

Lk 24:40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

Lk 24:44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Lk 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

The Ascension

Lk 24:50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Notice the part about - Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. If you're still asking the "Where is God" question - don't worry about the deeper questions yet.

Take what Jesus has said here at face value for now.
God The Father is in Heaven.
God The Son (Jesus) was in Heaven - came to earth - and returned to Heaven.


This leaves God, The Holy Spirit.
Where is the Holy Spirit?

In John 14:15-31 - Jesus talks to His Disciples about the Holy Spirit -

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

Jn 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

Jn 14:22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jn 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Jn 14:25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Jn 14:28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.


Let's look at a couple of these statements in more detail -

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.
...
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

On that day - when the Holy Spirit is in us - then we will begin to understand the true relationship between The Father, The Son, and us. On that day - when the Holy Spirit is in you and you have an acceptable answer to "Where is God" - then we will understand more - but until then, look at the words Jesus had for those who didn't yet have the Holy Spirit in them.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

OK - so -
we have God The Father - in Heaven.
we have God The Son - also in Heaven after a brief stay as a human here on earth.
we have the Counselor - God The Holy Spirit somehow here with us to teach and remind us.


Now - we're left with one question -
where is The Holy Spirit?
He's going to teach us and remind us - where is He?


Earlier this week I was reading an article while waiting in the doctor's office. It's from the April 2012 issue of Discover Magazine. (Yes - the doctor's office actually had a current magazine! Amazing, isn't it?) Anyway - the article was titled Physicists Carve a Niche in Time.

The article starts off with -

Physicists routinely baffle reporters, but for once things went the other way. Alexander Gaeta was sitting in his Cornell University office in the fall of 2010 when a reporter called to ask his opinion of a strange new paper in the Journal of Optics. What did he think about the claim that it might be possible to create a time cloak, a device that could render events undetectable?

Gaeta was caught off guard. He was still grappling with the invisibility cloak, a wild idea that turned into reality in 2006, when physicists demonstrated that a class of synthetic materials could bend light completely around an object. (Think of water in a stream flowing around a rock.) Without light bouncing off the object, it would essentially disappear.

If we wonder about things like where is Heaven - where are angels (including the fallen ones) - why don't we see any of them - that's like in another "world". If you go back to the home page of this site - there are other articles on parallel universes, quantum physics, Etc. to talk about those things. But - this is our world - our universe - our point in time. How can God do things that we can't see - how can He be all around us - how can He be in us - and we can't see Him?

I guess the question comes down to - how can these other universes - other times - other dimensions - coexist with ours - in the same space at the same time?

With the inanimate objects - we saw that they can't.
With people - we saw that we can work it out - negotiate - so that we can share a larger space without having to deal with the issue of occupying the exact same smaller space - like who sits on which end of a couch instead of both people wanting the right side.

But what about this spirit thing?

Defending Your Faith says the Holy Spirit is omnipresent - everywhere all the time.

Jesus said the Holy Spirit cannot be seen, but will be in us.

The article in Discover Magazine talks about how physicists are able to hide objects that most definitely exist - but we can't see them. It's real - they did it. Only for the tiniest fraction of a second - but they did it.

If we can do that - people - human physicists - think what the ultimate physicist - God - can do. I can't even begin to imagine what else occupies the same time and space as us. There's no limit as to what He can do.

Our physicists know that there are gaps in the laws of science as we "know" them. Alternate dimensions and universes must exist, they say. That's the only thing that would explain why the current laws don't quite work - they explain the differences.


I would think that at some point - God has to come into the equation.

There is so much order to the universe.
There are so many unanswered questions.
There are so many gaps in our knowledge - but we "know" there are some laws that must control them too.
There is way too much order to just be random.
It has to be controlled - well controlled - or the universe couldn't exist - but it does.

Every time I read an article like this, I hope to see some mention of God.
Every time we learn something new -
learn more to fill in the gaps in our knowledge -
learn that things are even more complex and more ordered than we thought -
I keep hoping to see that God is seen as the guiding hand behind all of this.


Was it in this article?

No.


Here's what they concluded with -

One can't help but wonder whether back robbers and terrorists could use the technology to conceal their activities. ... They'd be able to hide not only what they are doing but that they are doing anything at all.


I read that article and think of the possibility that we have yet another "law of nature" that was built in by God - for God - and for us. This one could possibly be a way for God The Holy Spirit to interact with us. And all they can think of is whether it can be used by crooks and terrorists.


Rather than close with that thought - let me add a few more words from Jesus - from John chapter 16 -

The Work of the Holy Spirit

Jn 16:5 “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.


Let me repeat part of that -

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

In the words for the disciples - who did not yet have The Holy Spirit - who did not yet truly understand - Jesus told them He had to go, so that the Holy Spirit could come to them.

After that - then they would begin to understand.

If this is where you're at - don't try to "get" the deep stuff.

Take Jesus words the way they were given -
take the invitation for the Holy Spirit - The Counselor - to be in you.
Then begin to understand the deeper issues.


As I said - this article isn't to say for sure that The Holy Spirit works thought the concepts brought out in the Discovery Magazine article.
To say that would be to put God in a box - to say that we actually know how He works.
It's merely to propose a possibility - to show that saying "It's not possible" isn't really an option.
To say that God can't exists not only around us - but in us - that's to say that our human physicists can do something that God cannot do. That's not only saying we are "like" God - but that we're better than God.


Jesus Himself tells us that there's more to know. He tells us that we will be guided on this journey by The Holy Spirit. Not that we will know it all - that's not possible. But that He will guide us "into all truth".


Jn 16:12“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.


“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.
...
That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

It's a great journey.

It's the ability to see what the greatest minds in science can come up with -
and then to use that to see how God is even that much greater than we can ever imagine.


So - what about the original questions -

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

I believe that all these scientific advances just provide more and more evidence that the answer to both questions is the same.

Is God still here? - Oh yeah - He's still here. If He wasn't here, we wouldn't be.

Does God still care? - Yes to that too. If He didn't care - we wouldn't be.


Jesus asked His disciples one time -

Mark 8:18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?


How are your eyes and ears?