When I was in grade school, we learned a lot of big words about God. There were a lot of “omni”s. God was omniscient. God was omnipotent. And God was omnipresent.
Omnipresent. Although I don’t tend to use the word anymore, I am convinced that God is present in all things, that there is no one and nothing in the world that is not suffused with the presence of God. That God is truly everywhere.
If that is the case, asked my friend Frank, then how can we not know it? Or, as he rephrased it on another occasion, how can we not be better than we are – how can we not be more, well, God-like? It is not a bad question and I’m not sure I can give a satisfactory answer to my friend, but I’ll toss our some thoughts that I think bear on the issue.
We know that we have a tremendous capacity to ignore what is right before our eyes. I sit in the car driving to work with my radio or CD player blasting and can get so engrossed in my private thoughts that I realize I have no idea what I listened to. My daughter can be sitting right next to me as I’m talking to her and not hear a word I’m saying. We can read the same page in a book several times and still have no idea what we read.
We also know that God created us with free will. God gave us the gift of allowing us to choose life with God or life without. God continuously offers love and union with us, but always leaves it to our choice whether to accept that love and union. God does not force Godself upon us. It is always up to us.
Somehow we lose sight of the presence of God within us. I’m not sure I can give a good explanation of how that happened. I suppose the traditional Catholic explanation for that would be original sin, what Protestants would term the fall. Somehow or another we lost sight of who we are in relation to God and our spiritual path and spiritual development involve more and more (re)gaining awareness of that presence. Thomas Merton might frame it in term of our false self and our true self, the latter being the self that recognizes our true nature as being infused with God’s presence.
I don’t know if any of that helps give a satisfactory explanation to my friend. Anyone else want to take a crack at is? If God suffuses all things, how do we miss it? Why aren’t we God, or at least more God-like?