Where is God?

Where is God?

People sometimes ask that question when bad things happen. The underlying question is 'why doesn't God do something to stop it?' I think that's a question that never has a fully satisfactory answer. I tried and failed in 'Bird-watcher sets cat among pigeons' among other posts about suffering. The best I can do is to find ways to live with the question,with all its accompanying tensions and paradoxes. This post is about 'where is God?' That's also a hard question to answer, unless your god is one you have managed to neatly package to fit in your pocket. In which case, to use John Bertram Phillips' term, 'Your God is too small'.

Where is God?

At its simplest, that question may be posed by a child or someone expecting a literalistic answer, as if God is only located in a particular place, like 'in heaven'.

When one of our children was about 4 he wondered about the idea of God being everywhere and wanted to check it out. 'Is God everywhere?' he asked. 'Yes' I replied. 4 year old children never stop at one question. There followed a series: is God in heaven? is God in church? is God here? To all I replied, 'yes'. He thought for a while, then came the really difficult question, 'If God is everywhere, is he in my tummy?' I didn't much like where that was going, but I was busy at the time, so I took the easy way out and said, 'yes'. I realized my mistake immediately. He was recovering from a vomiting bug at the time. The inevitable killer question followed, 'if God is in my tummy, what happens to God when I'm sick?' Reader - I was speechless.

Where is God?

For Christians the metaphysical answer is that God is both immanent and transcendent. In other words God is both here and beyond, both now here and nowhere, both close and far above all that there is, both findable and unsearchable. This worship song 'Everyday God' by Bernadette Farrell captures something of this  paradox.

Image Credit: Pixaby, Public Domain


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