If God is everywhere, and God is in heaven, then where are you?

I think my favorite phrase in the Nicene Creed is “light from light.” It’s not just a poetic way to say that God is brilliant (well, maybe it is a poetic way to say that, but it’s so much more than that as well). God is not only the light by which we apprehend God, truth, love, life; God is also the creator of physical light (the pure wave/particle energy that our eyes feast on, and indeed even our skin and our psyches — seasonal affective disorder recognizes that not enough light can lead to depression) and, perhaps most important of all, God is the light beyond light, the truth beyond truth, the being beyond being, the essence beyond existence. God, so it is said, “dwells in unapproachable light,” but the creed suggests that God is unapproachable light.

When I was a little boy my parents always stressed the transcendence of God; God was far away. Thunder would rumble overhead and they’d say, “It’s the angels, bowling up in heaven.” So the angels were “up there,” and God was even beyond the angels. Eventually I came to see that this was a very limited way to think about God, for it denied the nearness, the closeness, the knit-into-all-things-ness of God. But I think maybe today’s generation is suffering from the opposite problem: we tell our children how close God is to them, that they are one with God, that we see God when we look into each other’s eyes. And that’s just as true as the idea that God is beyond the beyond. But we need both. We need to wrap our feeble little minds around both the ideas that in him we live and move and have our being — God is closer to us than we are to ourselves — and also that God is truly, wholly, uncapturably “other” to us, greater than the greatest, lighter than the lightest, higher than the highest, more Sovereign that the most sovereign. Only when we hold both God’s immanence and God’s transcendence do we even begin to lay the groundwork for a mystical life.

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  • http://sahajapower.wordpress.com/ Peter

    You can find some answers in Bhagavad Gita:
    Chapter 9

    4. All this world is pervaded by Me in My unmanifest aspect; all beings exist in Me, but I do not dwell in them.
    5. Nor do beings exist in Me (in reality): behold My divine Yoga, supporting all beings, but not dwelling in them, is My Self, the efficient cause of beings
    6. As the mighty wind, moving everywhere, rests always in the ether, even so, know thou that all beings rest in Me. :-)

  • http://mikecrowlsscribblepad.blogspot.com/ Mike Crowl

    Immanent and Intimate. Getting the balance right is the trick!

  • Peter


    I’m not the other Peter (above) so maybe I need to start using a different name.

    Also I have a disagreement or at least a different perspective than what he just wrote: the unmanifest divine figure he is quoting claims (twice in this brief quote) that neither he nor his Self dwells in (us) manifest beings: we are invited to rest in him, but he is not willing to rest in us. But Jesus in the Gospels claimed that if anyone would love him and do his commandments, both he and the Father would come to take up their abode in that vessel (John 12).

    I may seem contentious on this point (though I am usually considered conciliatory); but I think it is important to look at such differences openly and without hostility.

    Peter (should I say 2Peter??)

  • judith collier

    Isn’t the kingdom of heaven within,in the Spirit? Didn’t Jesus say,”if you love me my father in heaven will love you and I will manifest myself to you? God is other,you wouldn’t believe or you probably know,that some people think all their wisdom, all their goodness,all their everything is themselves.After I told my nephew that I had an experience of all situations,events, everything and everbody continually in an act of balancing,he said that was all me doing it.I’m no where near that smart! God is every and in everything and in us and us in HIM. judy