Friday, July 14, 2017

Does God Have All Omni-properties? (Short Thought)

Theists often tick off certain properties that purportedly identify God as the maximal being or greatest possible being, etc. As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, I have been taught that God is omnipotent (almighty), omniscient (all-knowing), infinite (though we have to carefully define that term), and he is all-wise and is love (1 John 4:8).

Other properties could be added to the list, but it is common to say that God has all omni-properties and that such properties are compossible, which means that said properties jointly exist. Moreover, if God has one omni-property, then God has all. Otherwise, God (Jehovah) would not be God--the maximal being, who possesses all great-making or deific properties.

While most of the omni-properties don't seem problematic from a Witnesses standpoint, I always have to remember that we do not believe omnipresence is a divine property. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jehovah God resides in one location (as it were)--namely, heaven itself (1 Kings 8:27, 30, 32, 36, 43, 45, 49). By "heaven," I am referring to a realm that apparently transcends the physical spacetime universe: Paul spoke of the third heaven in 2 Cor. 12:2. Although he dwells in heaven along with spirit creatures known as angels, his power and spirit are manifested everywhere.

So is God omnipresent? Does he have all omni-properties? So far, it seems that omnipresence is a divine property, yet God is still God.

6 comments:

Philip Fletcher said...

In Daniel we read particularly in chapter 7 that someone like the son of man is brought into the presence of the ancient of Days,(Jehovah). Brought him up close before that one. Daniel 7:13. It certainly seems he has a limited place, the book of Daniel refers to Jehovah as a person. However we know that the Spirit searches into all things even the deep things of God -1 Cor 2:10. Which would make it seem like he is everywhere. He certainly can know what is going on everywhere if he wanted to. My eyes can see into the night sky I know what is up there, but I am not there. That is the way it is with Jehovah and his holy spirit. But according to Daniel he has his own dwelling place on a throne in heaven.

Edgar Foster said...

Just to be clear, I am not seriously challenging our belief that Jehovah is stationed in one place, but some of the biblical language has to be metaphorical. So Jehovah doesn't literally sit on a throne, nor does he apparently have eyes--at least, not as we usually think of eyes.

You used an illustration of looking into space, which is a fine example. The WT publications have compared Jehovah to a power plant: he exists in one location, but his power is manifested everywhere and he sees all (Heb 4:13). Admittedly, it is difficult for me to understand Jehovah God being constrained by a finite space (1 Kings 8:27). Does his body have length, width or height? Probably not.

What really motivated my post was this question: Is there an acceptable way that omnipresence can be understood, so that we don't have to limit the omni-properties of God? Could omnipresence be interpreted to mean that Jehovah dwells in the heavens, but his power, influence, and spirit are manifested everywhere?

Philip Fletcher said...

Yes I agree with that, but the question lies with dealing with, we very limited humans. If he only has to deal with just this earth, it wouldn't take much for his influence to permeate everything, at least here on earth.

Edgar Foster said...

Jehovah's power, spirit, and influence likely extend throughout the entire cosmos. He and Christ sustain everything, right? I base the statement partly on Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3.

Philip Fletcher said...

That is correct, based on the bible there is no confusion, But for men who really don't except the bible, then we have the issue of Omni-properties, can he be everywhere at once, seems a little far fetched saying he is in the trees or rocks, or the animals is far fetched to say the least. Really everything God created is good as Genesis says. As the expression goes, he really put himself into it. However there is no evidences of his presence in them. Just someones imagination.

Edgar Foster said...

Philip, I see what you mean and concur. I believe 1 Kings 19:11, 12 helps us understand that Jehovah is not literally in material objects: that would be panentheism. But most sources I consult do not use omnipresence that way. I need to post quotes one day to illustrate my point.