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Unread 09-20-2006, 11:08 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by ApparentlyNothing View Post

Mmmm... kinda. But panentheism speaks a bit more towards the immanence of God, because it's not just God's power or word that sustains existence, but his very real presence.
how can a spirit have presence?

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Unread 09-20-2006, 11:22 AM   #17
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how can a spirit have presence?
How can a spirit have existence?
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Unread 09-20-2006, 11:37 AM   #18
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How can a spirit have existence?
good question, I don't know. I think it is obvious that a spirit does exist as they talk about them all the time in the bible. The Spirit of the Lord is mentioned several times, so it apparantly exists.

I'm trying to learn and expand my understanding of God, although it seems like you aren't attempting to answer my question and not taking it seriously. That was a serious question. And I would like to have a discussion about this.

How does a spirit have presence. I've done a quick search of the word Spirit in the Bible and it does seem like a spirit can have presence.

2 Chronicles 20:14
Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.
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Unread 09-20-2006, 11:49 AM   #19
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good question, I don't know. I think it is obvious that a spirit does exist as they talk about them all the time in the bible. The Spirit of the Lord is mentioned several times, so it apparantly exists.

I'm trying to learn and expand my understanding of God, although it seems like you aren't attempting to answer my question and not taking it seriously. That was a serious question. And I would like to have a discussion about this.

How does a spirit have presence. I've done a quick search of the word Spirit in the Bible and it does seem like a spirit can have presence.

2 Chronicles 20:14
Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.
No no, don't get me wrong. I was taking your question seriously. I merely answered your question with my own question. To answer how a spirit has presence is just about as easy as answering how a spirit has existence. You seemed to say that God's spirit has no real presence because he is by definition spirit, when this definition of spirit not having presence doesn't seem to be true. Like you said, the Bible speaks of God's spirit being present many times.
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Unread 09-20-2006, 11:57 AM   #20
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No no, don't get me wrong. I was taking your question seriously. I merely answered your question with my own question. To answer how a spirit has presence is just about as easy as answering how a spirit has existence. You seemed to say that God's spirit has no real presence because he is by definition spirit, when this definition of spirit not having presence doesn't seem to be true. Like you said, the Bible speaks of God's spirit being present many times.
in what way is God's spirit present? Is it taking up volume? I doubt it. Is it more that God has focused his attention on Jahaziel and singled him out from the rest? What do you think?
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Unread 09-20-2006, 02:12 PM   #21
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in what way is God's spirit present? Is it taking up volume? I doubt it. Is it more that God has focused his attention on Jahaziel and singled him out from the rest? What do you think?
In the same way that I do not understand exactly how God exists scientifically, I do not understand how he is present in something scientifically. It's not necessarily a cop out or defaulting to ignorance to support my point, as I'm never one for that. Just being honest about what I know at the moment.

A friend of mine once said he believes that God does not exist. But his belief was not an atheistic view, but that God is beyond existence. If to exist, one must meet certain criteria, God does not meet these because he is beyond them. In the same way, I think God's presence is like this. For something to have presence, they have to take up volume, like you mentioned. But then this leads me to ask how something can exist if it has no physical presence? It then must exist in the same way an ideal exists. But God is more than an ideal.

So basically, I'm saying that in the same way a being can exist without any physical evidence because it is spirit, what makes you think that a spirit cannot be present without taking up volume?
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Unread 09-20-2006, 05:35 PM   #22
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Ahhh, existential can of worms!

What have I done?!

Just kidding - seriously, though. Interesting stuff. Those 2 year olds and their unanswerable questions...
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Unread 09-21-2006, 06:42 PM   #23
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Dallas Willard in The Divine Conspiracy has the best explanation of omnipresence I have ever heard. God's relation to the universe is much like our soul's relation to our bodies. We can at anytime exert our influence over any part of our body to make it do something. Right now I am exerting influence over my fingers to type. I am exerting influence on my brain to think. God's relation to the universe is much the same way. He exerted influence over the universe and created light, water, land, etc etc. He exerts influence over our hearts to create life where there was once death.


I read that and it hit me like a ton of bricks, never had I though of God's omnipresence like that and never before had any explanation ever made so much sense.
Excellent, Bryan. I hadn't read Willard on omnipresence before, but this is indeed a pretty good analysis. (Although, I would want to make it clear that God has complete control over everything and is outside of time, so the analogy doesn't really go through completely.) Typically, the way reflective Christian theologians and philosophers cash out omnipresence is indeed in terms of omnipotence, and this seems, from your summary, to be what Willard is getting at. Indeed, saying that God is actually everywhere would lead us to pantheism, and an immaterial beings like God cannot be present in any spatial location.

(Sidenote: I really don't have time to deal with stupid questions like, "Can a spirit have existence?" and other such physicalism-presupposing nonsense on a Christian forum. [Answer, because physicalism is false. Duh.] I was just surprised and encouraged that Bryan had read Willard and that the two of them have it right, and I wanted to make that known.)
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Unread 09-21-2006, 07:31 PM   #24
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Very Interesting

Two points that may help is to study--A) What exactly is Creation? B) Who is Jesus Christ?

A) Dr. Ravi Zacharias wisely said, "Whatever you make at best will be somewhat like you." It won't be you, but will be at best, somewhat like you.

Hebrews 11:3 (ESV) 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

In order for a created something to exist, "nothing" (being the total absence of anything) can-not be present correct? The Bible says that God made "the things that are". Therefore, the creation calls out for a Creator.

Even mathematically, nothing does not exist. Man cannot think of "nothing" without using something to try. So God being something greater than anything man is, [also being outside of the physical [corporeal] "something"], Whom alone is self-existent (the Cause of all things), existed prior to all things that He created. Does that make sense?

God is not what He created; therefore pantheism [nor panentheism] cannot and does not work, philosophically, mathematically, nor especially theologically.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (NKJV) 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.

Romans 1:20 (NKJV) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

This one humbles even further:
1 Timothy 6:7 (NKJV) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

B) Jesus before He "came in the flesh", "born of a Virgin" "God-Incarnate", "Immanuel", already existed. He is, was and always shall be Deity.

Jesus prays in The Garden of Gethsemane


HUGE: John 17:5 (NKJV) "And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed."

John 17:24 (NASB) 24"Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."

John 1:9-10 (NKJV) 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10 He (Jesus) was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

John 3:17 (NKJV) "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."

Another key is found in 1 John 4:1-6 (ESV) 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Does any of this help? I hope so.
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TOOLS to use for your study in Q & A --www.bible.gospelcom.net [35 lang. with 50 versions];www.blueletterbible.org [Hebrew & Greek Lexicon];www.onelook.com; www.ask.com And get a real hard back Concordance on your desk, I find it's faster and easier than the online ones.

Study Evangelism FREE: www.WayOfTheMaster.com PM me and let me know what you think about this. P.S. Thank you to those of you who have been responding!


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Unread 09-21-2006, 10:05 PM   #25
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Nathan,

I apologize for not answering this earlier. My internet cut out just as I was writing my response to your post (as the successor to my response to ApparentlyNothing). Here ya' go:

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Hi John, thanks for the info. So panentheism isn't so much "God is in everything" as it is "everything is in God"?
'In' is a complicated preposition, but yeah, that's basically what I'm saying.

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Ok, I can see what you mean, though I guess that I really don't get the traditional concept of "omnipresence" then. Maybe I've been speaking to 2 year olds too much, but I'm trying to fit this into a mold that anyone can grasp - where *is* God? Is He everywhere? Omnicience is different to omnipresence - the Bible definitely affirms that God knows everything - that "His eyes roam to and fro over the face of the earth"... but does it actually say that God is everywhere?
"Where is God?" can ask several questions. To illustrate the difference, let me use the example of Jesus. Where is Jesus? At the right hand of God. But, doesn't Jesus meet with His people? Yes, Jesus is present all over the place. Well, how can Jesus be both at the right hand of God and present with His people? Because Jesus' presence with His people is not presence in the sense of physical location, but instead it is presence in the sense of the exertion of covenantal power/authority -- Jesus is present with His people in the Spirit. (This Jesus-Spirit notion is all over Paul, and Luke-Acts.)

Something similar can be said by God's "presence." Where does God hang out? Where is God? Well, God isn't anywhere here in the world; God is totally beyond and distinct from the world. But, where can I go to get away from God? Nowhere, because wherever I go, He's there -- He's not there in the sense that that is His physical location, but in, say, the sense that He hasn't lost me and His power still holds there. Where does God's power reach? Everywhere; there is nowhere that we can go and be afraid that God has lost me.

When we ask "Where is God?" and answer that He's not anywhere in the world, we have a tendency to interpret this in deistic terms because of our intellectual heritage. We have a tendency to think that God is terribly far away and doesn't really concern Himself with the world. But the doctrine of divine omnipresence denies this, saying instead that God is here, concerned and at work and so on.
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Unread 09-21-2006, 10:42 PM   #26
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Nathan,

I apologize for not answering this earlier. My internet cut out just as I was writing my response to your post.
That's cool, John. Glad to have you back

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'In' is a complicated preposition, but yeah, that's basically what I'm saying.
I'm realising that now... I'm still trying to condense all of this into a form that not-so-theologically-minded people can at least "get". Like 3 year olds...

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"Where is God?" can ask several questions. To illustrate the difference, let me use the example of Jesus. Where is Jesus? At the right hand of God. But, doesn't Jesus meet with His people? Yes, Jesus is present all over the place. Well, how can Jesus be both at the right hand of God and present with His people? Because Jesus' presence with His people is not presence in the sense of physical location, but instead it is presence in the sense of the exertion of covenantal power/authority -- Jesus is present with His people in the Spirit. (This Jesus-Spirit notion is all over Paul, and Luke-Acts.)

Something similar can be said by God's "presence." Where does God hang out? Where is God? Well, God isn't anywhere here in the world; God is totally beyond and distinct from the world. But, where can I go to get away from God? Nowhere, because wherever I go, He's there -- He's not there in the sense that that is His physical location, but in, say, the sense that He hasn't lost me and His power still holds there. Where does God's power reach? Everywhere; there is nowhere that we can go and be afraid that God has lost me.
Hmmmm, I like that. Not sure if I get it, but I definitely like it...

But... what exactly do you mean by "God isn't anywhere here in the world; God is totally beyond and distinct from the world"? Doesn't that contradict His "immanence" (which I admit I don't really know specifics on) and the very meaning of "omnipresence"?

Did you mean as in the earlier discussion on "taking up space", etc? He is Spirit, so can't be said to be "present" in the literal, physical sense? I don't really want to get too theoretical, but it's not really "omnipresence" if it's only in the sense of exerting "covenantal power/authority", right? As in, a king can still have power and authority, and can wield it, while being on the other side of the world... If God can see, hear and affect what's going on everywhere, does that not mean that He is present everywhere...?

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When we ask "Where is God?" and answer that He's not anywhere in the world, we have a tendency to interpret this in deistic terms because of our intellectual heritage. We have a tendency to think that God is terribly far away and doesn't really concern Himself with the world. But the doctrine of divine omnipresence denies this, saying instead that God is here, concerned and at work and so on.
I like that, and definitely agree with you there. However it works out, God is here, concerned and at work in the world. Yay!

As an aside, what does everybody think of the terms that get thrown around like "manifest presence", "you could really feel His presence", etc? I guess that carries over into higher church concepts like the "real presence" during communion, too, hmmm? Can He be "more" present than He always is? The passage Bryan quoted would seem to suggest so...

Thanks again, and God bless

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Unread 09-21-2006, 10:58 PM   #27
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(Although, I would want to make it clear that God has complete control over everything and is outside of time, so the analogy doesn't really go through completely.)
oh, absolutely, all analogy's fall short at some point. An analogy is usually designed to illustrate one idea and when you go beyond that idea it falls apart and goes past what the speaker /author intended.

Quote:
I was just surprised and encouraged that Bryan had read Willard and that the two of them have it right, and I wanted to make that known.)
thanks. I suggest you read more of Willard. The Divine conspiracy is a wonderful book.
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Unread 09-22-2006, 02:53 PM   #28
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Cool Hello--[an aside]

Bryan,
Bear with me, I am not sure if I asked already, but curiously, what does a "Christian Hedonist" actually mean?

Oh and P.S. I tried to check out your profile web-link but it's not up or something...

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Unread 09-22-2006, 04:14 PM   #29
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That's cool, John. Glad to have you back
I'm never truly "back." I just... happen to be around for a few minutes. Sometimes I'm able to stick around for an entire week, sometimes once every few weeks... It's odd that way.....

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I'm realising that now... I'm still trying to condense all of this into a form that not-so-theologically-minded people can at least "get". Like 3 year olds...
Yeah, exactly. That's why things work in gradations; people speak and think in more or less developed forms, and tend to be able to communicate best with people whose speech-development is close to their own, so we have people all over the spectrum of development so that we can talk to each other and live together and so on. It's absolutely beautiful -- Paul's "Body" analogy for Christian community is informative every time.


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But... what exactly do you mean by "God isn't anywhere here in the world; God is totally beyond and distinct from the world"? Doesn't that contradict His "immanence" (which I admit I don't really know specifics on) and the very meaning of "omnipresence"?
That's exactly why we've got to understand what kinds of questions we're answering when we talk about omnipresence. E.g., if we're talking about where God is right now, what "place" God is hanging out in, then God isn't in the world at all (transcendence). But if we're talking about where God is exerting authority, or something like that, then God "is" everywhere (immanence). God's omnipresence doesn't mean that you might say, "I just saw God down at the pub." It means, "No matter where I ran, God was still there."

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Did you mean as in the earlier discussion on "taking up space", etc? He is Spirit, so can't be said to be "present" in the literal, physical sense? I don't really want to get too theoretical, but it's not really "omnipresence" if it's only in the sense of exerting "covenantal power/authority", right? As in, a king can still have power and authority, and can wield it, while being on the other side of the world... If God can see, hear and affect what's going on everywhere, does that not mean that He is present everywhere...?
Well, remember that God doesn't see, hear, etc. in the way that we do. God doesn't use sense organs to experience the world (this pushes us more toward process theology, where God is experiencing the world along with us). Along this line of thought, it's not "omnipresence" in the way that people today would probably be accustomed to understanding "presence" (i.e., God is not located anywhere in the world). However, God does in fact "hear" and "see" all, and God is indeed at work in all situations at all times, so God is indeed "present" in this sense.

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As an aside, what does everybody think of the terms that get thrown around like "manifest presence", "you could really feel His presence", etc? I guess that carries over into higher church concepts like the "real presence" during communion, too, hmmm? Can He be "more" present than He always is?
"I could really feel God's presence" is almost universally code for "I felt really emotional there today." If people were truly "feeling" God's presence then chances are that they would all fall down on the ground prostrate like everyone in the Bible who ever "felt" God's presence did.

Now, can God be "more present" (obviously that's crude language, but I personally like crude language unless it causes unnecessary confusion) than He always is? Yes. God was "more present" in the Temple than He was anywhere else, because that was His dwelling place. Jesus was the true Temple (John 2:21; cp. Rev 21:22), and the Church is now God's new Temple (Eph 2:19-22). The Sabbath-gathering of the Church, then, is our gathering at God's holy mountain, the place where He dwells, to partake of His feast (Heb 12:22-23; cp. Is 25:6-8). God's being "more" present at some times/places is only understandable in light of the fact that God's presence is not merely about where He is located, but instead is about where His covenant "presence" -- redemptive power and exercised lordship -- is.
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Unread 09-22-2006, 05:01 PM   #30
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I asked my pastor this question early this year in one of a series of meetings we had. He proceeded to have me walk into the closet in his bedroom... and locked me in.
Bob: Jason?
Jason: Uhh... yeah?
Bob: You're in the closet.
Jason: Yes, sir. I wasn't going to mention it, but, uh...
Bob: No, no. You're in the closet.
Jason: Yes.
Bob: Are you the closet?
Jason: ... no?
Bob: Good! Are you the studs in the walls, the bars that the clothing hangs from, or the lightbulb over your head?
Jason: No.
Bob: But you're in the closet?
Jason: Yes.

Then he let me out, shook my hand and said, "How very interesting!"

Just thought I would share that. Felt like there were too many big words in here. On a side note, as well as in retrospect, I think my pastor may well be insane. Perhaps even what rich people call, "Eccentric."
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