Omni

The three “omni” attributes of God characterize
Him as
all-powerful,
all-knowing &
everywhere present.

Each of these involves the other two & each
provides a perspective on the all-embracing
lordship of our true God.

Omnipotence means that God is in total control
of Himself & His creation.

Omniscience means that He is the ultimate
criterion of truth & falsity, so that his ideas
are always true.

Omnipresence means that since God’s power
and knowledge extend to all parts of His creation,
He Himself is present everywhere.

Together they define God’s lordship, and they
yield a rich understanding of
creation,
providence &
salvation.

The prefix omni means “all,” so the three divine
attributes in our title can be paraphrased by
saying that God is
all-powerful,
all-knowing &
everywhere present.

Omnipotence

Scripture affirms God’s omnipotence by saying
that God does whatever He is pleased to do
Psa 115:3; cf. Isa 55:11, Jer 32:17

Nothing is too hard for Him
Gen 18:14

His word is never void of power, so when
He speaks, everything in creation obeys Him
Isa 55:11

Except, creatures do disobey Him in one sense;
that is the essence of sin.

But God has control even over sinful actions
Psa 105:24-25, Gen 45:5-8, Exod 4:21, Psa 105:24-25,
Rom 9:18, Acts 2:23, 4:28

It’s an odd mystery how He ordains sinful, disobedient actions for His good purposes. So his word always
prevails & we can trust that His prophecies always
come to pass
Deut 18:21-22

Often we infer from these passages that God
“can do anything.”

But that doesn’t quite reflect the full biblical
teaching.

There are things that God cannot do.
He cannot lie Titus 1:2, cf. Num 23:19
nor, similarly, can he perform any
immoral action.

Since God is perfectly holy and good,
He cannot do anything evil. And, since He is
perfect truth, He cannot do things that are
logically contradictory, like making round
squares.

His truth is a perfect consistency of
thought & action.

Nor can God do things inappropriate to
His nature as God

So how should we define God’s omnipotence
more precisely?

I think the most helpful definition of God’s
omnipotence is this: that he has complete
and total control over everything.

This includes the smallest details of the
natural world, like the falling of a sparrow
or the number of hairs that grow on our head
Matt 6:26-30, 10:29-30

Even the events we call random, that we
ascribe to chance, are really God at work
Prov 16:33

That includes not only the small things,
but also the big things (which, after all,
are accumulations of small things).

He determines what nations will dwell in
which territory
Acts 17:26
He decides what king is to rule & when,
and where Isa 44:28

He decides whether the purposes of a ruler
will stand or fall Psa 33:10-11

And He decided, once, that wicked people
would take the life of His Son, so that we
sinners might live Acts 2:23-24

God rules not only the important events of
human history but also the lives of individual
people.

He knits us together in our mothers’ wombs
Psa 139:13-16

He decides whether we will travel or stay home
Jas 4:13-17

He controls even the decisions of wicked people,
as we saw above. But he also exerts his power
to save sinners, to bring forgiveness & new life
Eph 2:8-10

Our salvation is entirely the work of God’s power,
not at all our own work.

We believe in Christ because He has appointed
us to eternal life Acts 13:48

and because he has opened our hearts to
believe
Acts 16:14-15; cf. John 6:44, 65, Phil 1:29

So his power is universal: it controls everything in
the universe
Lam 3:37-38, Rom 8:28, Eph 1:11, Rom 11:33-36

Omniscience

Now let us look at God’s omniscience.

God’s power is not a blind power.
Everything God does has an intelligent purpose,
a definite goal.

And since, as we’ve seen, God’s power is universal,
so also is his knowledge.

In knowing his own intentions,

God knows everything in Himself, in his creation,
and throughout history.

Scripture often refers to the universality
of God’s knowledge
Psa 147:5, John 21:17, Heb 4:12-13, 1Jn 3:20

It often mentions that God knows detailed
happenings on earth, even in the future
1Sam 10:2, 1Kgs 13:1-4, 2Kgs 8:12,
Psa 139:4, Acts 2:23, 4:27-28

Scripture assumes God’s omniscience
pervasively
In Gen 18:20-21, for example, God does not
admit ignorance, but declares that he is
gathering facts for an indictment,
preparing the wicked cities of Sodom & Gomorrah
for judgment.

God’s omniscience is based on his authority,
for He is the supreme judge of all things,
and He is the ultimate standard of what is
true & false.

Not only does God know what is true, but
He is the very nature of truth.
Truth is what He is John 14:6

So it is inconceivable that He could be wrong
about anything.

God’s knowledge is a precious blessing to us.

Psa 139 emphasizes how deeply God knows us,
wherever we are.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for us;
it is high; we cannot attain it”

God’s knowledge of us pursues us wherever
we may go: to heaven, to the grave,
to great distances, to dark places vv. 7-12

He knew us when he was forming us in our
mother’s womb vv. 13-16

and He knew, even back then, every day of
our lifetime on earth v. 16

Wicked people should well be terrorized
by this doctrine; but to the Psalmist God’s
knowledge of us is wonderful & good vv. 17-18

and he prays that God will draw on this
knowledge to lead him to repentance
and forgiveness of sin vv. 23-24

Omnipresence

God’s omnipresence—
His presence in every place & time.

To say that God is “present” is to say
that He is here with us, really here, not absent.

Sometimes we connect a person’s presence
with his body, as when a teacher takes attendance
and says that Jimmy is “present” because his body
is in his seat.

But God does not have a body; he is immaterial.
So how can we tell when God is present or absent?

God is present everywhere, because, as we have
seen, His power & knowledge are everywhere.

If every event, everywhere, takes place by
God’s power & if He has exhaustive knowledge
of everything His power has brought to pass,
then certainly He is not absent, but present
in each event, though His presence is not quite
the same as the presence of physical beings.

So God’s omnipotence & omniscience imply His omnipresence.

His omnipresence is a presence both in place
and in time.
Psalm 139 indicates that God is present in every place.

He is the creator of the heavens & the earth & so
He is in every location.
He is also the creator of time & the one without
beginning or end.

So He has been present in the world since its
creation & there will never be a time from which
He is absent.

He freely enters history & interacts with creatures. Supremely, He entered human history in Jesus Christ, where He died & rose again to save us from our sins.

So God’s omnipresence is not just a theoretical conclusion.

It is a precious truth of redemption.

Although we have sinned & deserve God’s judgment,

God comes to His faithful people & declares to them

“I will be with you.”

This means that God is here, wherever we are,

but also that God is on our side.

He is with us, not to destroy us, but to forgive & to save us from sin.

So this “with you,” this redeeming divine presence,

is found often in Scripture as his gracious promise.

To Isaac, God said, “I will be with you and will bless you” Gen 26:3

and that language often forms the basis of God’s redemptive covenant.

The heart of God’s redemptive promise, is that

“I will be your God, and you will be my people,”

a precious togetherness of God with his people

Exod 6:7, 2Cor 6:16; cf. Gen 17:7, Exod 6:7, 29:45, Lev 26:12, Jer 7:23, 11:4, 24:7, 30:22, Ezek 11:20, 14:11, 36:28, 37:27, Heb 11:16, Rev 21:3).

It should not surprise us that a biblical name for Jesus is Immanuel,

God with us Isa 7:14, Matt 1:23

As the Old Testament tabernacle was a place for God to dwell with his people, so Jesus, the Son of God, “tabernacled among us”

John 1:14

Of course, God also can be said to be present to the wicked,

and that is a fearsome and awful thing

Rev 1:7

But whether for good or for ill,

God is present throughout heaven & earth,

to carry out his own purposes.

Unity of the Omni-Attributes


We have seen that the three omni-attributes of God are quite inseparable. Since God’s power is purposeful and universal, it implies his omniscience.

And since God’s omnipotence and omniscience are universal, we must conclude that he is omnipresent.

We could note further that since God is omnipresent, all his attributes are omnipresent as well—his power and knowledge, as well as his truth, love, grace, eternity, infinity, and so on.

So the omni-attributes are like the other attributes of God, inseparable from each other and from him. As theologians say, God is “simple.”

His attributes are not separable parts of him.

Rather they are ways of characterizing God as a whole, ways of describing his nature.

Therefore, the omni-attributes are ways of speaking of God’s Lordship.

“Lord” is the word that Scripture uses over 7,000 times to name him.

The term “sovereignty” is equivalent to lordship.

God’s lordship is his “control, authority & presence.”

As we have seen, this triad is equivalent to the three omni-attributes.

God’s omnipotence is his control over all things.

His omniscience is his authority to declare what is true.

And his omnipresence is his real existence in every time and place.

So when we talk about God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, we are talking about his lordship.

John Frame, The Doctrine of God

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