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How do we know there's a God? What is he like?

If God is immaterial, what is the presence of God?

Postby Dango » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:47 pm

People often report that they feel the presence of God while in church, or while reading the Bible, or while in nature, and so on. People also say that heaven is a place where God's presence is immediate and greater than it is on Earth. They also say that hell is a place that lacks God's presence, at least relative to heaven.

If God is immaterial, then what exactly is his presence? It obviously cannot be a physical presence, so in what sense is it a presence? How are we to make sense of the idea that God's presence can be greater or lesser depending on place?

Re: If God is immaterial, what is the presence of God?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:44 am

God's presence can denote several different things. The term varies according to context.

1. God is omnipresent, which means there is no spatial area where God is not.

2. God is present in some places with more intensity than in others. His presence could descend on the temple, for instance, rest on the atonement seat in a different way than he was omnipresent. We might think of it as in concentration or intensity. God was present there in a hyper-special sense.

3. God is present in some people's lives via the Holy Spirit. He is present in the lives of believers but not so in unbelievers. It describes that God indwells has whatever control He has been given by that individual (He never overrides free will). His presence in their lives denotes an actual kind of unity or fellowship between God and humanity.

4. God is present in places (rooms, events, assemblies) of believers in a different sense than his omnipresence. It means that He makes His presence able to be sensed by those present, and His manipulation of events and circumstances more obvious.

5. God reveals Himself through His Word, the Bible. When people read the Bible, God can bring thoughts to their mind, feelings to their emotions, or insights to their souls. God's activity is so obvious we describe it as God's presence.

6. Heaven is not really a place, per se, but being in God's presence. In heaven, this will mean an actual visual (though not a human form) experience and distinct knowledge of God's reality and immediacy. In hell, though God is omnipresent, there will be a sharp sense of a broken relationship (separation from God) along with the consequent emptiness and agony.

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