God is Not Everywhere and He Does Not Know
by Kent Owen
The idea of God being everywhere at once and knowing all things from eternity past, present, and future is not an idea that is supported by scripture. This is sometimes referred to as God’s omnipresence and foreknowledge or omniscience. To prove that He is not everywhere, all we must do is find one place where He is not. To prove that He does not know everything, all we must do is find one thing in scripture that He doesn’t know.
God Is NOT Everywhere
“YES HE IS! AND IF GOD ISN’T EVERYWHERE THEN GOD ISN’T GOD!” is what I’ve heard so many times. It does seem much easier to believe that God is everywhere, at least at first, but the more you search the scriptures, the more you will find proof against it; and out of God’s own mouth at that. The scriptures don’t contradict. Ask your pastor to supply you with bible verses on this topic and not opinions. The purpose of showing these verses IS NOT to expose some weakness in God, but on the contrary, it clears up some issues of accountability… If God is everywhere, then He obviously knows everything; the two ideas go hand in hand.
God Does NOT Know Everything
“Billions of years ago, God already knew that you would be right where you are now, reading this paragraph” Right? God never said He knew everything. The word “omniscience” cannot be found in the bible. He knows the number of hair on your head, He knows the sparrows that fall to the ground (Luke 12:6-7), but the bible doesn’t say He knows the sparrows that will fall to the ground millions of years from now or how many hairs will be on your head in the future. This doesn’t mean that God is any less God. Knowledge makes a person accountable. Anyone who knows that something is going to happen but fails to act is guilty of inaction. Knowledge is power, and with great power comes great responsibility. Luke 12:48 says, “…to whom much is given, much is required…” If everything is in God’s hands, then He is required of everything. If anyone knows 100% of everything that has happened, is happening, or will happen, they are responsible for everything past present and future.
Would God Have Created Lucifer?
Would God have created Lucifer, knowing he would one day become Satan (His worst enemy) and be the result of billions of human deaths AND countless angels (1/3 of the angels in heaven) falling from grace and burning in The Lake of Fire for eternity? Would God have created him if He knew it would end with His own son being tortured on the cross?
Would God Not Prevent Tragedy?
A little child was crossing the road and got hit by a car. There was a person watching the whole time because he was right next to the child, AND he knew exactly what was going to happen. He had 100% control to prevent the situation and yet made a conscious decision NOT to prevent it. In fact, he also had control over the car that hit the child. Now, that man has become responsible for what has happened.
Where God Is & What God Knows
Matthew 6:9 – “Our Father, which art in heaven…” (Also in Luke 11:2)
[in heaven] – Did Jesus say, “Our Father, which art EVERYWHERE”? No. Our Father which art in heaven. Heaven is where God is coming down from in the following verses:
Genesis 18:21 – “I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.”
[I will: go down, see, and know] – This was from God’s own mouth. How stupid do we make God sound when we say He is everywhere, sees, and knows everything? Under that theory, this verse would read, “I will go down now to where I already am, and see what I’m already there looking at, and if not, then I will know what I’ve already known this whole time”.
Genesis 11:5 – “And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower….”
[came down to see] – If the Lord was already there, then He wouldn’t have to come down, and if He’s already looking at it, then He doesn’t need to come to see; He would have been there the whole time seeing every brick that was laid.
2 Corinthians 3:17 – “… and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
[where the Spirit of the Lord is] – Is liberty everywhere? No. Neither is the Spirit of the Lord. Where the spirit of the Lord is not, there is captivity and bondage. Is the Spirit of the Lord in a non-Christian? No. That’s what Christians try to accomplish through preaching.
Psalms 14:2 – “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.”
[to see] – Once again, if God knew/saw everything and was everywhere, this verse would say something like, “The Lord looked down to see what He was already looking at to know what He already knew.”
Jeremiah 8:21 – “For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.”
[astonishment] – If God had foreknowledge prior to this event, it would not have astonished God.
Matthew 7:23 – “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
[depart from me] – How can God, being everywhere, say depart from Me?
Acts 17:24 – “…God… dwelleth not in temples made with hands”
GOD SEARCHES TO FIND
Why would God search if He already knows everything? Would you search for something if you already knew where it was? Can you learn something that you already know? Study the following verses:
Genesis 18:26 – “And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”
Genesis 18:28 – “Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.”
[if I find] – Not that I already know, but if I find when I go there. God’s response would have been different had He known how many righteous men were in Sodom. “I am already there looking at everyone and I already know how many righteous people there are in that city; there aren’t forty-five there.”
Numbers 10:33 – “And they departed from the mount of the Lord three days’ journey: and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them in the three days’ journey, to search out a resting place for them.”
[to search] – The ark of the Lord was the presence of God. If God was everywhere He wouldn’t have to search for a resting place! He would already be everywhere and know every resting place on earth.
Deuteronomy 1:33 – “Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day.”
[to search] – Why should He search out a place? If He had foreknowledge, He would have known millions of years ago exactly where they should have set their tents.
1 Chronicles 28:9 – “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.”
[the Lord seracheth] – Why does God search the heart if He already knows what’s inside? The answer is simply that God does not know what is in a person’s heart UNTIL He searches it.
Jeremiah 17:10 – “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
[I search] – If we contend that God already knows what’s in the heart before He searches , aren’t we saying that He’s stupid for looking for something that He has already found? It would be as if someone was looking all over their house for their car keys when they knew it was in their pocket the entire time.
Hosea 7:1 – “When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.”
[Iniquity was discovered] – If God knew everything then He couldn’t discover anything.
Romans 8:27 – “…He that searcheth the hearts…”
1Corinthians 2:10 – “…The Spirit searcheth all things…”
Revelation 2:23 – “…I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts…”
Psalms 139:23-24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
[search me, try me, see if] – All of these statements indicate no foreknowledge.
GOD TESTS TO KNOW
If you are a student, and a teacher gives you a test, is the test meant to teach you something? No, it’s meant for the teacher to know what you’ve already learned or how well you’ve learned it; knowledge that the teacher didn’t have before. God doesn’t test with evil (James 1:13), but He does test (1Th 2:4).
Deuteronomy 8:2 – “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.”
[to know] – Here, scripture said that God didn’t know whether they would keep His commandments or not, therefore in order to know, God tested them.
Genesis 22:11-12 – “And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”
[now I know] – God did not say that He knew what Abraham would do before He tested him. On the contrary, He said NOW I KNOW.
GOD REGRETS THINGS AND GETS ANGRY
Genesis 6:7 – “And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
Jeremiah 15:6 – “Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.”
2Samuel 6:7 – “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.”
[I repent] – “I regret” and “I am sorry”. Why do something you know you’ll regret?
[anger of the Lord] – If God had foreknowledge and knew Uzzah would touch the ark millions of years before he did, did God get angry millions of years before Uzzah actually touched the ark just so He could kill him when it came time? Did God repent for all eternity up until Genesis 6:7 actually happened?
GOD ASKS QUESTIONS
God DOES ask questions to get information. This doesn’t mean every question God asks is a question He doesn’t have the answer to. All of Job 38 and on are series of questions that He asked Job that He knew the answers to. Every teacher asks questions they already have the answers to, but that doesn’t mean that they have the answer to EVERY question they ask.
Genesis 3:9 – “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”
Genesis 3:11 – “And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”
[Where art thou? Who told thee?] – Consider that God was everywhere and knew everything… As Adam and Eve were hiding, God would have been right behind them while at the same time approaching from several feet away asking, “Where are you”. Then as He was behind the tree with them He asked a question that He knew the answer to trillions of years prior. The truth is, God went through the process of elimination: the only way you could know that you’re naked is if someone told you or if you found out yourselves by eating from the tree. Why would God ask, “Who told you that thou wast naked” if God knew that THEY knew they were naked because they ate the fruit?
Job 1:7 & Job 2:2 – “And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”
[whence comest thou] – I find this point more debatable than the rest because perhaps God knew where Satan was coming from. We can assume He’s just making conversation… But if God knew everything and was everywhere, I suppose this would be a strange question to ask. Imagine that the angels (Sons of God) who were gathered around at that time and asked each other, “Is something wrong with God? Why is He asking questions He knew the answers to millions of years ago? Didn’t God already know where Satan was? Isn’t He everywhere, and wouldn’t He have been where Satan was if Satan was walking around the Earth?”
God Is Light, He Is Not Darkness
God is light as Satan is darkness (Acts 26:18). There is no light in darkness, and there is no darkness in light. Light and darkness cannot be present at the same time. Why say this? Because since God is light, it shows another place where God is not; in the dark! If God were in the darkness it would become light because God is light. Here are some supporting verses.
1 John 1:5 – “…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
2 Corinthians 6:14 – “…what communion hath light with darkness?”
Acts 26:18 – “…turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God…”
How Do We Use This Knowledge?
The first thing I want to say is that I originally didn’t have any motivation to look for verses that said God didn’t know everything or wasn’t everywhere. I casually found these verses while reading the bible and a mentor of mine showed them to me again and made them more clear. I started out with the common belief that He was everywhere and knew everything. I certainly tried to find verses about God being everywhere and knowing everything, but I can’t ignore the verses listed above and many like it in other places. It changed my way of thinking while reading the bible.
Now that you have this knowledge, how do you use it? Well, it’s not as much about using the knowledge as it is having a different understanding of how things work. It explains why some things are the way they are. It makes God’s will more clear, understanding that not everything that happens is because God wants it to. Some people don’t pray because they think because they believe God knows all their thoughts. Many people blame God for ALL the evil in the world because they think He knew about it beforehand and didn’t prevent it, was right there and didn’t stop it, and had all control and power and still did nothing.
Verses on God Being Everywhere & Knowing Everything
While trying to find the truth in a matter, it’s always wise to examine both sides of the case carefully. If a person believes God is everywhere, they should not only try to find scripture that supports their belief, but find scripture that could also have them prove the God not being everywhere to be true. If a person believes God is not everywhere, they should try to find verses on God being everywhere. In the end, the truth will be exposed. While proving scripture, make sure to always have 2 or 3 passages of scripture to support a point. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matt 18:16). Here are some common verses that are used to teach that God knows everything and is everywhere.
1 John 3:20 – “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”
[knoweth all things] – This is as close as it comes to saying God knows everything. This is not saying that God just generally knows everything about everything, even the choices that unborn people are going to make a million years from now. This verse is talking about the heart. By saying “God knoweth all things”, what it is saying is that God knows all things about the heart, which is the topic of the verse. How does He know everything about the heart? Because he searches all hearts (1Chr 28:9 and Acts 1:24). However, He doesn’t know what’s in the heart until He searches it.
John 21:17 – “…Peter… said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things”
[thou knowest all things] – For one thing Jesus doesn’t know, see Mark 13:32 – “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.“ The conclusion is that Peter was wrong because here. There is one thing that Jesus said He didn’t know, so He doesn’t know ALL things. This was part of Peter’s 3rd confession for Christ. In contrast, Jesus DID predict that Peter would deny Him 3 times previous to this (Matt 26:34, Mark 14:30, Luke 22:61 & John 13:38). How did Jesus know that Peter would deny Him? First, He knew Peter’s heart (Acts 1:24) and second, He knew the situation Satan would put him in (Luke 22:31) that Peter would have 3 opportunities to accept or deny. By putting Peter in a position to deny Jesus three times, Satan really wanted to establish that Peter was genuinely denying Jesus (Matt 18:16).
Should we accept Peter saying, “thou knowest all things” as fact? Should we accept Peter’s denial that he knew Jesus before Jesus was crucified as a fact (Matt 26:74, Mark 14:72, Luke 22:57, John 18:27)? No. That’s why this statement is also questionable and needs more similar scripture to be proved, but it would conflict with the above verses where God says He “will know”.
In other parts of the gospels, Jesus perceives, knows thoughts, and knew things from the beginning” (Matt 12:25, Luke 5:22, John 2:24-25, 6:64, 21:17). Once again though, those verses talk about individual things that Jesus knew. Was the knowledge supernatural? Most likely, yes. I’m not saying Jesus doesn’t have power to know what He wants, just that scripture shows that He doesn’t know EVERYTHING. To prove that God does not know everything, we mustn’t find all the individual things that He does know; we only need to find one thing that He doesn’t know like Genesis 18:21.
Luke 12:7 – “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
[the hairs of your head are all numbered] – That God knows all the numbers of hairs on everyone’s head shows 1 thing He knows. Does it imply that God knows everything? No. Does it imply that God has great knowledge and is the most intelligent being in the universe? Yes.
Psalms 139:7-10 – “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
[Whither shall I go from thy spirit?] – This alone must be the main verse that most turn to when supporting the idea that God is everywhere. Of course, Father God is in Heaven (Matt 6:9). God is not in hell; Hell is the absence of God because Jesus says, “depart from me” (Matt 7:23). How this can be understood is that Jesus did descend to hell and took the righteous captives (like David) up to heaven (Eph 4:8-9). Why did David say to God, “Don’t leave me, don’t forsake me” (Psalms 27:9 & 38:21) if it were not possible for God to leave him? If God is everywhere, then God can’t leave David. If David said, “Don’t leave me”, then he must not believe that God is everywhere, and neither should we.
Jesus Predicts Events of Revelation
How can God say what’s going to happen in Revelation if He doesn’t know everything? There are a few reasons… Most of the things that happen in the book of Revelation are what God makes happen. It’s the Lamb (Jesus) who will open the seals (Rev 6:1). If He never breaks the seals, most things from Revelation will never happen. He knows the results of His actions. He is also supernaturally powerful to make it happen. In part He has predicted what He will cause to happen through His awesome power…
God has searched and knows the heart and thoughts of every living creature, whether mortal or immortal, flesh or spirit, me, you, Satan, angels, demons, all souls in heaven, all souls in Hell, and all hearts of everyone in the universe (1 Chronicles 28:9). He knows that if evil is in a person’s heart, and they are faced with a choice to choose a path of good or evil that they will likely choose evil. He also knows that a good heart will generally choose good. This is another likely way God knows how things will go during that time.
Many people believe the word omnipresent to mean “everywhere at all times”. However, “omni” means several or multiple, not everywhere! God has a body like men because man was created in His image (Gen 1:26). Actually, men have a body like God, but whatever, you understand… God has body parts that are all confined to one place. For example, God has hands and fingers (Ps 8:3-6), a mouth (Num 12:8), eyes (Ps 33:18), back parts & a face (Ex 33:23), etc. God goes from place to place in a body as in Gen 3:8, 11:5, 18:21, and so on. God is a spirit (John 4:24). Here’s how He can be omni-present:
Luke 17:21 – “… the kingdom of God is within you.”
1 Corinthians 3:16 – “… ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you…”
John 15:4 – “… Abide in me, and I in you…”
[the Spirit of God dwelleth in you] – The same Spirit dwells in all born again believers. This is how God (The Holy Spirit) can be in several places at once; by dwelling in believers! It must have been God’s plan to put the Holy Spirit in His children. Imagine the power… If the devil was afraid of 1 Jesus, Imagine that the world had 2 or 3 Jesus’. Imagine thousands! Could this be part of destroying the devil (Heb 2:14)?
Does God Hear & See Everything?
Proverbs 15:3 – “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
Psalms 94:9 – “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?”
[Shall He not hear? Shall He not see?] – God SHALL hear and He SHALL see. This doesn’t mean He always hears and sees things before they happen or even right when they begin happening (Gen 11:5, 18:21). It also doesn’t mean that He sees and hears things years before they happen. What it does mean is that you will never be able to hide from God. You can’t keep secrets from God. God has an angel that records your actions (Ecc 5:6), assigned to “little ones” (Matt 18:10), as well as angels follow the righteous (Ps 91:12). Why would God have hosts of angels to do His work and be messengers for Him if He is everywhere?