According to the tradition of western theism, God is said to enjoy the attribute of being everywhere present. But what is it, exactly, for God to manifest ubiquitous presence? Well, presumably, it is for God to bear a certain relation – the ‘being present at’ relation – to every place. This article focuses on the ‘being present at’ relation which figures so prominently in the divine attribute of omnipresence, on both fundamental and derivative readings of that relation, and on a host of philosophical problems which arise for each reading. It is divided between a discussion of the historical positions of Anselm and Aquinas; a note on the controversy stirred up by the modern contributions of Hartshorne, Swinburne, Taliaferro, and Wierenga; a brief glance at two curious and underexplored approaches; an investigation of the promising prospects for further inquiry afforded by recent work on the metaphysics of location; and some concluding comments on special problems of occupation for the Christian theist.
Keywords: God; western theism; divine presence; Anselm; Aquinas; Hartshorne; Swinburne; Taliaferro; Wierenga
Article. 7925 words.
Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity
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