A quick thought on immanence and transcendence

Coming to you, live from my iPhone, it’s a quick blog thought!

In times past, the transcendence of God has been a major theme of the Church. God is high and lifted up above us. And, hey, that’s certainly true. Increasingly, though, I see God’s immanence being the theme of modern Christianity. And I think this is a good thing. In our day, we are tired and lonely and broken and scattered. So often, we feel so far from those with whom we feel we should be close. The pace of modern life makes it easy to lose those vital connections. Unless we are vigilant, we can find ourselves split from the herd, left alone to face the cold, the dark, the slowly growing certainty that our lives are a waste, the gnawing doubt that questions the value of our own existences.

Loneliness is our epidemic.

Is it any wonder then that the nearness of God is so precious in these lonely, scattered days?


3 responses to “A quick thought on immanence and transcendence

  • jon

    Quick counter-thought… maybe that’s what the parts of the trinity are for. Jesus is the one who’s supposed to ‘get’ us – The whole ‘God made flesh’ thing – Jesus, who came to serve the sinners. I think historical Christianity, if anything, erred on the side of ‘transcending’ Jesus a little too high so that we didn’t see him as ‘man’ anymore. (Personally, I don’t think they did, since he’s still meant as our King and Saviour) But I think their perception of God is pretty spot-on.

    I think God… specifically God the father (and i guess the Holy Ghost) are specifically transcendent. And should be. They’re supposed to remind us 1) of God’s being far above us in terms of omnipotence and 2) That we as sinners have specifically been separated from him… which SHOULD feel lonely.. isolating.. and ultimately guilty. Isn’t that what is supposed to spur us to action and repentance?

    I think that imagining God as somebody who can spiritually ‘give me a hug’, demeans the true state of his omnipotence and glory.

  • tomg

    Thank you for the reminder. Jim Wallace at PleaseConvinceMe.com was talking about this recently. This is one of the amazing things about God. He is both so far above and beyond us and at the same time intimately near to us, residing within us even.

  • rcjr

    Though we all know this, we don’t diminish the one to get more of the other. The glory of the gospel is that the One who is exalted and lifted up, lifts us up to Him, so that we are near. Remember that in answer to Moses’ question, “Whom shall I say has sent me?” the answer is both, “I am that I am” and “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There are each His name. In the incarnation He became immanent to us. I thte resurrection, He lifts us up to the heavenly places, making us immanently transcendent with Him

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