Q&A: God Came From Teman?

God Came From Teman?

Question

How can God be omnipresent if he came from Teman? Habakkuk 3:3

Answer

Habakkuk 3:3 God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. "Selah" His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth.

God is omnipresent (Ps. 139:7-10; Jer. 23:23). However, the purpose of these verses is not to stress his omnipresence but to stress a special manifestation of God (a divine theophany). Just as God gave a special manifestation of his glory on Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:18-19), so here we see a divine manifestation of his presence spoken of in a special way. While God is/was present everywhere; here we see him manifesting his presence in a unique way (coming from Teman).

Temporal examples of the eternal are limited, so an illustration may be helpful: When we see a beautiful sunset we often comment upon its beauty, light and glow. However, in doing so we are not saying the sun was not already present previously, but only that at this particular time we see it in a special way. Habakkuk 3:3 is not disagreeing with other texts of Scripture which reveal God's omnipresence. It is picturing his presence in a particular way.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).