Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent God: Definition & Overview - Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com

Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent God: Definition & Overview

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Nate Sullivan

Nate Sullivan holds a M.A. in History and a M.Ed. He is an adjunct history professor, middle school history teacher, and freelance writer.

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Sasha Blakeley

Sasha Blakeley has a Bachelor's in English Literature from McGill University and a TEFL certification. She has been teaching English in Canada and Taiwan for seven years.

Omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent is the description used by theologians to define God's universal presence. Learn the definition of these descriptions in monotheistic religions and explore an overview of their place in theology. Updated: 09/17/2021

Monotheism

Monotheistic religions are religions that believe in the existence of one single deity. 'Mono' means 'one' or 'single,' and 'theos' translates to 'God.' Therefore, monotheism is the belief in one God. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are the three most popular monotheistic religions in the world.

Scholars within theses religions have, over the course of history, postulated what God is like. These scholars are called theologians. Theologians are individuals who study God. They seek to understand God's nature. In order to describe God's attributes, or characteristics, theologians use three important terms: omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.

Omni is the Latin root, meaning 'all.' This is important to remember as we move along.

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Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence

Omnipotence means all-powerful. Monotheistic theologians regard God as having supreme power. This means God can do what he wants. It means he is not subject to physical limitations like man is. Being omnipotent, God has power over wind, water, gravity, physics, etc. God's power is infinite, or limitless.

Omniscience means all-knowing. God is all all-knowing in the sense that he is aware of the past, present, and future. Nothing takes him by surprise. His knowledge is total. He knows all that there is to know and all that can be known.

Omnipresence means all-present. This term means that God is capable of being everywhere at the same time. It means his divine presence encompasses the whole of the universe. There is no location where he does not inhabit. This should not be confused with pantheism, which suggests that God is synonymous with the universe itself; instead, omnipresence indicates that God is distinct from the universe, but inhabits the entirety of it. He is everywhere at once.

Theological Theory

Many theologians regard these three attributes as essential to God's nature. In other words, if God did not have these characteristics, he wouldn't be God. For example, for God to be God, he would need to have supreme power (omnipotence); if he was not omnipotent, he wouldn't be qualified to be God.

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Additional Activities

Monotheism and Godly Characteristics: Further Exploration

This lesson taught you about the characteristics associated with some monotheistic interpretations of God. Take a look at the following prompts to consider the issue further.

Monotheism: Comparison

There are a number of monotheistic religions, with Christianity, Judaism, and Islam being the three largest. Though these religions share some common roots, their ways of understanding God are quite different. Do some of your own research to see how these three religions define and understand their deities. Focus particularly on whether each religion describes God as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, or whether these terms are more common in one religion than in others. Write your findings in a comparative chart or essay.

Omnibenevolence

One topic raised in this lesson that you may wish to explore further is omnibenevolence, or the belief that God is all good. Look up the theologians associated with this belief and see if you can understand their arguments in favour of omnibenevolence. Do other theologians disagree with them on this issue? And is omnibenevolence a feature of any monotheistic religion besides Christianity? Write down your findings, and your opinions on the subject, in a paragraph or essay.

Other Monotheistic Frameworks

While it may be common for some monotheistic traditions to view God as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, there are other ways of thinking about a singular God. For example, Deists believe that while God created the world, he no longer intervenes in human affairs; whether or not he is able to do so becomes immaterial. Look up other, lesser-known monotheistic religions like Babism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism. How do they understand God? Write a compare and contrast essay between the Christian view of God and the view espoused by one of these religions.

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