Martin Pickup, "Where is God? Divine Presence and Location"
The question ‘where is God?’ is one asked by philosophers, theologians and four-year-olds alike. Within Christian traditions (among others) God is said to be omnipresent, i.e. present everywhere. But what does this mean? There are a number of options. One broad camp sees God as only analogically located at every place, while the other maintains God is literally located everywhere. In this paper I will try to make progress on a viable interpretation of this second alternative. In other words, I will try to see whether there can be a philosophically defensible account of God being literally present at every place. This will draw on accounts of location given in contemporary metaphysics, and has connections to other questions about God’s presence (e.g. in the Incarnation or the Eucharist). Note that belief in God is not a prerequisite for interest in the issues I’ll be addressing.
MARTIN PICKUP is the Turpin Junior Research Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford. He works in a number of areas of philosophy, particularly contemporary analytic metaphysics, philosophy of religion and early modern philosophy. In metaphysics he has written on topics including time, identity, location and indeterminacy; in philosophy of religion he has looked at the philosophical coherence of specific religious doctrines (e.g. the Trinity, Real Presence in the Eucharist, petitionary prayer); and in early modern philosophy on Leibniz's accounts of possibility and necessity. Most of his philosophical training has been at Oxford.