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James 4:8 NKJV

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Psalm 139:7-12 NKJV

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; 12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

If God is omnipresent, as described in Psalm 139:7-12, meaning that He is everywhere at all times, does it seem logical to assert that God will draw 'near' to us if we draw near to Him? How can God become closer to us if He is already present wherever we are? How can He move from there to here if He is already both there and here? Is there a resolution to this apparent paradox?

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  • In the words of Thor - Asgard is not a place its a people! Not a theist, just thought I would share my two cents.
    – user63054
    Feb 12 at 1:15

3 Answers 3

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Psalm 139:7-12 means that there is nowhere one can go to escape God's presence. This represents distance.

While it may seem paradoxical, they are not speaking of the same type of nearness.

Drawing near in James 4:8 is relational and experiential. It involves intimacy and fellowship, and a responsiveness to His leading in our lives.

The Psalms later say in Psalm 145:18, New King James Version

18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.

We can be near something and never call upon it.

If we never call upon someone or speak to them how can we draw near to them in a relational sense?

So, while God is indeed omnipresent and cannot be contained or limited by space, James 4:8 is an invitation to draw near to Him by close relationship with Him. With every relationship it deepens on both sides. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.

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  • 3
    Very good answer. +1.
    – Dottard
    Feb 10 at 21:08
  • 1
    Much appreciated. Looking forward to more from you. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 11 at 12:08
  • 1
    Thanks @NigelJ I truly appreciate it.
    – Jason_
    Feb 11 at 17:25
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Imagine you are a radio with a spoiled antenna and wish to listen to a broadcast of a beautiful music, say, Beatles' "Hey Jude". The radio-waves of this music are spread everywhere, but you cannot catch them due to the rustiness and defect of your antenna. Now, you go to a repair-house and ask a technician: "Please, repair my antenna that it may catch a wave with the Beatles' song!" And as your antenna is repaired, the waves of the music "come near you" as it were, but this expression means simply that you were able to catch the radio-waves that were always there.

Similarly, sins and earthly concerns are those hindrances that block working of divine grace in us, and so God is "far" from us in this case. But when we cleanse ourselves from sins, then God's presence in us becomes "nearer" and "nearer", that is to say, fuller and fuller.

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  • Also a very good answer. The "close" is relational, not physical. +1.
    – Dottard
    Feb 10 at 21:09
  • @Dottard Thanks! Feb 10 at 22:38
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A really good answer!

For the sake of brevity, by way of explanation for my suggestions:

God Created men and women in the Image and Likeness of God. Genesis 1:27

Women, through Eve, are the mothers of all living. Genesis 3:20; Proverbs 31:10-31

It was a combination of Abraham's faith and Sarah's strength that established the foundation for Isaac to be born. Hebrews 11:8; Hebrews 11:11

To the best of my understanding, the primary foundation for Jesus' works was that people "repent" from living solely by the beliefs, understanding and behaviors of the time. Matthew 4:17; John 3:3; John 3:5

To try to grow beyond identifying solely in a limited physical sense to realizing there is a spiritual aspect to their lives. John 3:6

Jesus looked to God as His Father and made it clear those who do God's Will are members of Jesus' family. John 10:30; Matthew 6:9-13; Matthew 12:50

It could be said, based on God's Reasoning with Cain-through Jesus and His Accomplishments and Conveyance of Holy Spirit at the time of Pentecost-men and women were empowered to fulfill God's Intentions for them from the beginning of Creation. Genesis 4:7; the Four Gospels; John 16:13

In order to try to begin to become everything God Created men and women to be-by being willing to incorporate the Help of Holy Spirit-it appears adults would need to try to set aside their adult perceptions and try to be willing to be taught by Holy Spirit: like parents teach their children. Genesis 1:3; Genesis 1:2; Matthew 18:3

Hence, why I suggest the following:

If I may add, not meaning to offend, I would suggest that the perception of God being far away from us be shifted to that of we are far away from God. That in us trying to begin to correct the mistakes and develop new practices and behaviors according to God's and Jesus' core Commandments, it is perhaps we who begin to try to draw nearer and become more like God, Our Spiritual Father. Genesis 1:26-28; Ten Commandments; Golden Rule

I would suggest this to be similar to how our children, from birth, learn to do by the way we do; and possibly what Jesus meant: "...whosoever shall do the will of my Father...the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." Matthew 12:50

Children are born to parents, not parents born to children. To sustain the understanding of the scripture as given would mean that men and women are limiting God as to what women and men can receive from God. In other words, God (Spirit) is the greater and has more to offer in the way of growing and maturing-and to men and women living life to the fullest. Genesis 1:31

I offer only suggestions from a woman' point of view, not answers. Holy Spirit is the only one with all the Answers. John 16:13

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