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Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent God: Definition & Overview

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  • 0:00 Monotheism
  • 0:50 Omnipotence,…
  • 2:10 Theological Theory
  • 2:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Nate Sullivan

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

In this lesson, we will learn about three theological terms: omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. In monotheistic religions, these terms are used to describe the nature of God.

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.

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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