Friday, March 27, 2009

Is Satan Omnipresent?

You know that question: how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? That question has two problems: 1) the answer is not important, and 2) it asks how many spiritual creatures can exist in a physical space – which is also meaningless because there is no direct correlation.

So what is omnipresent? It means all places at one time. But if you have no physical boundaries, can you effectively be in all PHYSICAL places at one time? Honestly, it’s not clear, and it’s defiantly not addressed in the Bible. But it’s like asking if the wind can be in more than one state at one time… or even more than one country… or even all places.

But since omnipresent is one of the three core attributes of God, many believers feel compelled to NOT prescribe it to Satan. They say, “Satan is not omnipresent, only God is omnipresent.” I don’t think they can base this on anything but their gut and weak reasoning. Is there a scripture I am missing? However, they could be right. I recognize that.

Okay, let’s assume that Satan is NOT omnipresent.

Here’s my next questions: is Satan multi-present? Don’t we assume Satan is either flawlessly efficient or multi-present? Consider how everyone feels Satan is working against them in their lives. How could this be true with 6 billion people on the planet? I mean, seriously. Is he tirelessly working or does he have something special to help him?

I will admit there is a possibility that Satan only tempts a few and the rest of us, our sinful nature tempts us. Maybe.

Now, you might answer, that’s why Satan has demons. They do his work. If this were true, we would not call Satan the father of lies and the great tempter (both referenced in the Bible) but instead we would consider him the foreman of liars and the coordinator of tempters. But, we don’t. He seems to be the perpetrator.

There’s another option. And it’s not unreasonable. Perhaps Satan is outside of time. Perhaps, indeed, all spiritual creatures are outside physical time. It sure sounds reasonable. And it would allow for a kind of multi-presence without having to be anything but one place at one “time”. But again, this is conjecture, not scripture.

But then we see the timeline. Satan doesn’t seem to understand the endgame. How could he not – AND be outside of time? The arrival of the messiah, salvation through Jesus’ crucifixion. Surely Satan would have tried to prevent Jesus’ death if he could have seen what it meant next. Maybe he did try, I don’t know, but nothing eludes to that in the Bible.

So, I think we have four choices:

1. Satan is omnipresent or multi-present

2. Satan is outside of physical time

3. Satan is tirelessly efficient almost to perfection

4. Satan is spiritual so he can be in all physical places at once

None of these really rest very well with me. They all seem to go against the Sunday School answers I have heard. But nothing else seems to make sense.

Any ideas?


Anonymous said...

I think you're on to something with the outside of physical time element. As a spiritual being, I don't believe that satan or angels are subject to the same limitations as we are as physical beings. It's hard for us to comprehend since our finite existence is all we know. Like trying to describe the color blue to someone blind since birth, there is just no suitable reference point. If we all have a guardian angel, they may work in a similar fashion. Perhaps one heavenly angel is responsible for many human lives.

Anonymous said...

angels are created beings; as such although spiritual, may manifest themselves in same form of "matter.
If they (angels, including satan and the other fallen angels) are omnipresent, how do you explain Daniel 10.
They are not omniscience (not even the angles know when the day of the Lord is) . . . and certainly not omnipotent . . . back to Daniel 10...two angels "fighting"...
Man's sin is not only the result of being tempted by spiritual being. but is a nature inherited through Adam... ie. Man is inherently sinful my nature . . . the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life... mankind, in his own depravity, sins.
By the grace of God and the blood of Jesus . . .man's sin has been paid for if the gift of God is chosen by will and faith... John 3:16.

Edward Prevost said...

Satan is said to be "Going to and Fro" on the Earth, he is also said to "Come to present himself with the other Angels". The Literal Hebrew would seem to paint him as needing to 'travel' to locations, with what speed and efficacy this occurs is unclear.