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Where is God?

Spiritual beings such as God and angels do not have matter as an integral part of their being, and so they do not occupy a specific space. God is in essence a spiritual, immaterial being. Thus, it is not possible to answer the question “where?” about God in the same way we would of a physical object, with a street address, with longitude and latitude coordinates, or similar parameters.

Thinking of God in corporeal categories reflects the limitations and restrictions of the human way of knowing. All human intellectual knowledge originates in the senses whose proper objects are sensible material qualities such as color, sound, odor, flavor, temperature, and texture. It is from the data received through these qualities that the human intellect rises to knowledge of the suprasensible world. But no matter how high the intellect reaches into the suprasensible, all human knowledge of the spiritual order is imagined and expressed after the fashion of human knowledge of material objects. This is why the question “where?” is asked of God, because God is at least as real as material beings are real. Thus, answers to the question, “Where is God?” are said to be given metaphorically.

From a philosophical point of view, the correct response to the question, “Where is God?” is everywhere. God’s presence is manifested to us in everything that exists. As Pope Benedict XVI said, “The whole creation speaks loudly of God” (“General Audience,” 17 March 2010). And Blessed John Paul II also affirmed that “There is no place where God cannot be found … God is equally present in every corner of the earth, so that the whole world may be considered the ‘temple’ of His presence” (“Letter Concerning Places Linked to the History of Salvation,” 29 June 1999).

The reason we can say that God is everywhere is because He is the cause of everything that exists. Finite reality cannot account for its own being. The search for the cause of being of finite reality leads to the ultimate cause of all being, which is God. Metaphysical inquiry and the natural light of reason have established that God is the fullness of being and the cause of all being. God is therefore said to be present in all beings as the cause is present in its effect. As long as a thing is in existence, God is acting on it, sustaining it in being. Wherever God is exercising His causal activity, He is present.

In addition to this common mode of being present everywhere, as the cause existing in the effects, there are other special modes whereby God can make and has made Himself present. Those blessed with the gift of faith know that God made Himself present on earth through the most holy humanity of Jesus Christ. They also know that God spoke through the prophets and that He is particularly present in miraculous events. God can manifest His presence in any way He chooses. Even today, God continues to make His presence more intense in particular places, without excluding His being present everywhere.