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Christianity, Judaism and Islam like their God to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, in part, I suspect because it is a good argument-stopper.  Using a superlative requires so much less explanation than a more conditional adjective. Unfortunately it is a very simplistic approach and asks more questions than it answers.  “If God is omnipotent, can s/he do something that is impossible?”  “If God is omnipresent, is s/he present in hell?” and so on.

Omnipotence causes particular problems because if God is all-powerful, how do we explain any lack of action on his/her part?  Is God choosing to restrict his/her power or is it lack of interest or is God simply not omnipotent?

Omniscience is slightly different because it is possible for a God who is outside of time to hold the past, present and future simultaneously.  (A bit like knowing how the movie is going to end before you have started watching it).  In that way God can know everything but that is less about divine power than about the fact of being “outside” of creation.

Omnipresence can be similar to omniscience – a simple consequence of the creator being “outside” of the creation.  If I am a 3-dimensional being visiting a 2-dimensional world then I could be considered to be omnipresent by its inhabitants.  But then it is reasonable to ask, if God is omnipresent, then why does God not show up a bit more.  Or is it just an abstract notion of little value to anyone but a theologian or philosopher?  The Christian faith puts a surprising new slant on this notion and ascribes an even more powerful attribute than omnipresence. God’s Spirit is said to be “within” the believer, which is a far more personal arrangement than just being “everywhere”. This then draws a distinction between the abstract notion of God “being” everywhere and the more concrete notion of God’s presence “being” more concentrated in specific locations.

Is God “everywhere”, including in evil and darkness and so on? I would offer different answers based on where the question came from. For the philosopher I would say that as light banishes darkness, God banishes evil, but to the sufferer I could only offer that God was present with them in the midst of suffering and hope that it offered some comfort. (This is still a tough one for me).

So, how big is my God? I reject the use of abstract superlatives without some discussion and nuance. I acknowledge with wonder a creator who created a universe so complex on so many levels but that is still able to be enjoyed by the creatures within.  I realise that the creator is outside of the creation but seems to choose to have some interaction with us. I like the closing chapters of the book of Job where the Almighty lists the power s/he has over creation. But I know my thoughts in this area have changed significantly over the years and may continue to change.

So how big is YOUR God?