Ezra 9:6: O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.
Where is God actually located? This question gets asked from time to time, sometimes by Christians igniting a Bible discussion, sometimes by atheists snidely trying to disprove God’s existence. Our simplistic portrayal of Heaven over the years has been a beautiful golden city in the sky, enveloped in clouds; but as we scour the skies looking for such a floating metropolis, our search turns up empty. We venture into space, peering into the infinite darkness through telescopes and satellites, looking for God somewhere. Perhaps He inhabits another galaxy or is perched atop a distant planet, watching us with a gigantic eye. One prominent voice in the atheist movement ridicules Christians for what he calls “praying to a big invisible man in the sky.”
1 Kings 8:27: But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee. God does not live in the sky, on another planet, or anywhere in outer space; the heavens He created cannot contain Him. 2 Chronicles 2:6: But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? God doesn’t live anywhere in the physical universe; the universe itself lives in His presence. When we ask “where in the universe is God?” we should be asking, “Where in God’s presence is the universe?” Psalm 113:4: The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
God’s glory dwells above the heavens, and fills them completely. Habbakuk 3:3: His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. If we left Earth and went to Mars, His presence could still be found. And even if we escaped the solar system and went far into the dark reaches of space, we could still kneel and pray, and His presence would cover us. Psalm 139:8: If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. (“Hell” here more accurately translates to “Sheol,” which in the Hebrew referred to the “place of the dead,” not the “lake of fire.”) This scripture in Psalms means that God’s presence is everywhere, from the edges of space to the depths of the underworld.
It is impossible to be in God’s presence and not be transformed. Every person in the Bible was changed as soon as he or she came into His presence. It forever changed Abraham and sent him on a journey to a promised land. It altered Moses’ destiny at the burning bush. Every prophet and king in the Old Testament was transformed as soon as they encountered God. In the New Testament, the disciples were just ordinary fishermen when suddenly Jesus passed them by, and their lives were changed forever. Everyone Jesus encountered, from the woman at the well to Paul on the road to Damascus, was never the same.
Others were changed for the worse. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened when Moses brought him God’s presence. Ahab did not listen to the prophet Elijah, and it spelled his doom. The hand of God appeared and wrote Belshazzar’s fate on the wall. Still today, some are transformed by the presence of God, and become Christians. Others are not moved, and their hearts are hardened by it. One day they will lift their eyes in Hell.
Even for the Christian, it is impossible to be in His presence without being changed. No matter how many times one enters into His presence during times of prayer, that person leaves different from how they came in. Even if it’s one hundred times a day, they will leave transformed each time.
For centuries, most of humanity believed that the universe is static, with the earth being just a moving ball circulating through it. It wasn’t until 1929 that scientists discovered that space is also in motion, violently rotating and expanding. They can’t quite explain why and how the universe is moving, so they have coined the term “dark energy” to explain this mysterious force.
But let’s see what the Word says. God’s presence is so powerful, that even the universe cannot be in it without being transformed, and that’s why it is constantly in motion. Isaiah 48:13: Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together. Everything in the universe is constantly moving, changing, and transforming itself in His presence. Just like certain figures in the Bible, some things in the cosmos are created and perfected. New planets are formed. Stars expand. Galaxies and nebulous clouds swirl and dance in spectacular displays, praising their Creator. Nehemiah 9:6: Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.
But like the wicked figures in the Bible, other things are constantly being destroyed in His presence. Haggai 2:6: For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land. Asteroids crash into planets and wipe them out. Stars die and collapse into black holes, devouring everything in their paths. Isaiah 13:13: Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. It is interesting that the Word of God never described the heavens as being still, but consistently referred to them shaking violently in His presence. Joel 3:16: The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake.
Now that we’ve addressed the question of “Where in the universe is God?” we are left with two more fascinating questions science has been attempting to answer for years. First, where is the center of the universe? Second, what is at the edge, and beyond?
Let’s look at the first question. We likely will never know what is at “the center” of the universe, because we’re actually not sure if it has one in the first place. There are two distinct possibilities we have to examine. First, and most likely, is that the universe is infinite, and stretches on forever. If this is the case, everything is the center. Where one person stands, they are surrounded by infinite space in every direction; therefore, they are the center of their own observable universe. Another person standing ten feet away is the center of their own observable universe. A tree in China is the center point of its own infinite universe, and so on. Therefore, the interesting paradox would be that all objects in the universe are the center of the universe.
But if the universe is finite, then it has borders somewhere and actually ends. If this is the case, one would think that it would all be revolving around an undiscovered central point. But with the universe constantly in motion, the “center” would be impossible for us to find, because the forces at work would constantly pull us away from it. It would be like trying to swim through violent rapids searching for some lost object in a river; the tumultuous currents would never allow one to find it.
Next question: where is the edge of the universe? What is there, and beyond? Is it Heaven? Another dimension? A parallel universe, perhaps? The answer is astounding, and is backed up by both scientists and the Bible in a profound way.
Revolution is the central theme of the universe. The moon revolves around the earth, which revolves around the sun. The solar system is inside of an immense galaxy called the Milky Way, which is a cluster of 300 billion other star systems all revolving around a central point. Galaxies resemble giant wheels of stars and planets, slowly turning in a never-ending cycle. How interesting that when Ezekiel had a vision of the heavens before God’s throne, he saw what looked like celestial wheels rotating in His presence. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel (Ezekiel 1:16).
The Milky Way is part of the Local Galactic Group, a collection of about 40 other similar galaxies, all lost somewhere randomly in an immense collection of other super clusters, circulating like grains of sand in the winds of the observable universe. So, in all likelihood, the universe itself is also a massive, oval-shaped wheel, constantly turning. So what would be at the edge? If you launched a rocket into space, and somehow traveled faster than the speed of light, over the course of millions of lifetimes, through billions of star systems and galaxies, to the edge of the entire universe itself, what would you find? Astronomers believe you would actually end up right back where you started.
On Earth, if you travel far enough in any direction, you will circle the entire globe, and eventually end up back to your starting point. The universe is the same way. It would be like trying to swim out of a massive whirlpool; the currents of the moving universe will pull you in an immense circle until you eventually end up back where you started. So if we had an amazingly powerful telescope, and could somehow bend light and time itself so that we could see the edge of the entire universe, all we would see is the backs of our own heads.
Scientists only recently came to this conclusion, but if they’d consulted the Bible, they would have found this principle spelled out long ago. Genesis 11:1: And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. That is, until they decided to build a tower to reach into the heavens. Verse 4: And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. This was the first attempt by man to ascend above the sky; just like today, they were curious about what was at the edge of the universe. But God had other plans. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do… Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city (verses 5-8). God made sure that the tower of Babel would never make it into the heavens, and after He confused their language, they all ended up right back where they’d started. If they’d looked into the future, rather than seeing the triumph of man ascending into the realm of God, they would have only seen the backs of their own heads walking away in frustration.
Decades ago, during the space race, futurists predicted that by now mankind would have colonized other planets. In the classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick glimpsed into the future and imagined that 2001 would be the year man made contact with other intelligent life, and would enter into a new realm of enlightenment and understanding. He would have been shocked to know that by then, mankind would lose interest in space travel and NASA would be a shell of its former self. Humanity can no longer accomplish the things that were once its pinnacles; rather than the moon landing being the start of a great new age, it was our highest point before we collapsed into disinterest. Just like the men who built the tower of Babel, God saw to it that we walked away confused.
God has structured this universe in such a way that we can never escape beyond its reach. This demonstrates the ultimate reality that humanity can never reach Heaven on its own, and all its attempts to do so are doomed to failure. Nothing on the earth, from ancient false gods to great monuments of today, can get us there. And ultimately, science can’t get us there, either. Scientific atheism has proven to itself that just like any other false religion, it will never get anyone beyond the physical universe into Heaven. John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Jesus is the only way that ever has been, or ever will be.