Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. 2; 47; 93:1; 96:10–13; 97:1; 99:1). Paul says that there is "one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:6). 4:7, 20; 7:6; 14:7; 26:18; 2 Sam. The Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence of God, Creative Commons License with Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA 3.0 US). He tells the Roman church what it is that they do not know, and why they do not know it. God’s transcendence and immanence. But there are certain places in the creation where God has ordained that we will sense his presence with particular intensity, like the burning bush in Exodus 3, the inner court of the Temple, and indeed the person of Jesus Christ, God’s temple incarnate (Matt. 3:11–12; Isa. Immanence is defined as something that exists within something. Immanence is an antonym of transcendence. But if we define these concepts to express God’s lordship, his covenant relations to his world and to his people, they can be used to express wonderful truths of God’s word: the riches of Christ, the depth of our relationship to God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. To be sure, there are passages in Scripture that emphasize God’s incomprehensibility, his mystery, such as Romans 11:33–36: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! He transcends our language, so anything we say about him is utterly inadequate. The transcendence of God is reinforced in passages that envision God as dwelling above us in the heavens. Christians, especially mystics, have often described a God who works within them and whose presence they can perceive immediately and personally. A transcendent God must turn His face away, for He is forced by His very righteousness and holiness to keep Himself separate from anything or anyone sinful, impure, unclean or less than perfect. The unknowns are “known unknowns.” And the mystery is always a mystery about a God who otherwise is “clearly” known. When applied to God it means that God dwells within the creation, permeating and saturating all things. God’s immanence as we have understood it is the heart of biblical redemption, the very name of Jesus, God with us. Neoplatonic philosophy, in a similar manner, emphasized the idea that God is so pure and perfect that it completely transcended all of our categories, ideas, and concepts. In fact, the mystical experiences are themselves generally described as “transcendent” and not amenable to the normal categories of thought and language which would allow those experiences to be communicated to others. Over the last few decades, Klaus Nürnberger’s contribution to Christian theological discourse . And he expresses his authority by proclaiming to us his commands. immanence and transcendence makes it impossible to speak credibly about God or to adhere to scientifically acceptable faith claims in the context of experiential realism. “The Lord is in his holy temple. Indeed, when God reveals himself “from heaven,” he reveals himself clearly, so that those who reject him have only themselves to blame. Kierkegaard, for example, focused primarily upon God’s transcendence and rejected God’s immanence, This has been a common position for many modern theologians. The idea of a transcendent God has roots both in Judaism and in Neoplatonic philosophy. If God is timeless (outside of time and space) and unchangeable, then God cannot also be immanent within us, beings who are within time. We cannot fully understand the mystery of a three-persons-in-one-God, who creates humans (male and female) in his own image and then becomes a man, taking on human flesh. Immanence God is everywhere present. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases on Amazon.com. 7:24; 2 Cor. Is Atheism Incompatible With Free Will and Moral Choice? The idea of an immanent God can also be traced to both Judaism and other Greek philosophers. This intimate relationship, the heart of the covenant, resounds through Scripture (see Deut. In sum, we can say that when it comes to God’s transcendence, Scripture uses metaphors of farness or distance, and speaks about him as creator, king, judge, warrior, master, etc. 1:23). TRANSCENDENCE AND IMMANENCE CHIN-TAI KIM I Judaeo-Christian theology represents God as transcendent while Spinoza's metaphysics by contrast represents God as immanent. Earth Man, Insignificance Of Earth, Description Of Grasshoppers God Being Outside Of Creation God, Sovereignty Of Circles. To say that God is immanent is to say that he is present in time and space, that he is near us. God’s Immanence and Transcendence. Derek: I decided to be a priest when I was eight years old, so I was soaking up theology from a very early age—and I remember the simplest thing from when I was about ten years old: my priest drew a small circle on the blackboard. Rather than describing God in an impersonal way, the doctrines of transcendence and immanence describe the royal dignity and presence of the God who came to be among his people in Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us. But in a broader sense it is with his whole creation, for the whole creation is part of the program of redemption: For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. In primitive terms, immanence means His closeness to us, and transcendence His distance from us. Scripture does not require us to use the terms transcendent and immanent, and some misuses of these terms have brought theological confusion. These lordship rights and powers are his control and his authority (see John Frame, The Doctrine of God). In primitive terms, immanence means His closeness to us, and transcendence His distance from us. Indeed, it often refers to the way he rules the world of our history and experience. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; Isaiah 40:22. How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 1:23). Theologians talk about the immanence and transcendence of God. 4:39; cf. Immanence is the balancing concept to God's transcendence, which describes God as being of a completely different kind or substance from and completely independent of the universe He created. They are his thrones, and he sits on them because he is the king. Immanence and Transcendence by Jack Kettler “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.” (Psalm 25:4) In this study, we will look at the biblical teaching regarding Immanence and Transcendence. He is “high” in the sense that the king’s throne is high above his subjects. God’s transcendence and immanence. How can these two qualities exist simultaneously? (Rom. BY CLIFFORD GOLDSTEIN T heologians talk about the immanence and transcendence of God. We know already that God’s immanence is not some kind of opposite to God’s transcendence, some paradoxical negation of transcendence. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Various Greek philosophers have also discussed the idea of a God who is somehow united with our souls, such that this union can be understood and perceived by those who study and learn enough. In Catholic theology, Christ and the Holy Spirit immanently reveal themselves; God the Father only reveals himself immanently vicariously through the Son and Spirit, and the divine nature, the Godhead is wholly transcendent and unable to be … Transcendence is a see also of immanence. the Trinity in Barth and Lossky. In this context, God is so utterly alien that it's wrong to attempt to portray it any sort of concrete fashion. The word immanent comes from a Latin word meaning “indwelling”. God’s promise to Israel prior to the Exodus was, I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. Immanence affirms, while transcendence denies that God is contained within the world, and thus within the limits of human reason, or within the norms and resources of human society and culture. Many stories in the Old Testament depict a God who is very active in human affairs and the working of the universe. He dwells “in heaven above” (Deut. But transcendentist theology does not altogether abandon the idea of divine immanence, just as immanentist metaphysics does not com-pletely exclude that of divine transcendence. (Rom 1:18–22). And he is the head of the body, the church. This view of God’s transcendence contradicts the view of God’s immanence which we presented. That is God’s transcendence. So they are without excuse. A transcendent is one who is beyond perception, independent of the universe, and wholly “other” when compared to us. How thankful I am, not only to see. To Barth, God’s transcendence implies that he cannot be clearly revealed to men, clearly represented by human words and concepts. Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. approaching the question of transcendence as something which can only be answered through an appraisal of immanence. His authority may be understood as his control over the moral sphere, but it would also be possible to understand God’s control as his authority over everything that happens. Biblical or divine immanence means that He moves to, through, and in; abides and lives, exists within, all who believe in Him. In contrast, an immanent God is one which exists within — within us, within the universe, etc. His eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.” (Psalm 11:4) What a picture. Immanence is closely related to God's omnipresence, in that God is always present within the universe, though distinct from it. Transcendence, belief that ‘God' or other divine forces control our world, and Immanence, belief in looking within; both have been represented by certain sections and people of our society. As nouns the difference between immanence and transcendence is that immanence is the state of being immanent; inherency while transcendence is (countable) the act of surpassing usual limits. As God’s control, so his authority is an implication of his lordship: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. He is “enthroned on high” (Ps. So God is transcendent in the sense that he is separate from his creation, … Continued If we focus on His immanence and ignore His transcendence, we can become overly subjective about God, always looking for an immediate feeling, and limiting our perspective of God by what we have personally experienced of Him. The African traditional worldview in many respects believes the transcendent God whose immanence is mediated by lesser spiritual intermediary powers. — and, hence, very much a part of our existence. Such a God is not immanent in our normal lives, otherwise, mystical training and mystical experiences would not be necessary to learn about God. 1:20). Parashat BeShallah brings us to the dramatic climax of the Exodus, the splitting of the Reed Sea. If you are interested in translating our content or are interested in joining our community of translators, please reach out to us. He does not literally dwell on a material throne, as Solomon observes at the consecration of the Jerusalem Temple (1 Kgs. So if we choose to use the term transcendence to refer to God, we should use it to refer to his lordship, to his powers and rights as the king of everything he has made. This essay is part of the Concise Theology series. Thus, we have the mystery of God’s immanence and transcendence. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. Many of the Psalms, for example, celebrate his kingship by praising the strength by which he controls his domain (Ps. 113:5); indeed, he is himself the “most high” (Ps. Experiential realism is all that we have, the basis on which our knowledge of this world, and of God, is deduced. Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Because he is our God and we are his people, he will be “with us” for all eternity: Immanuel! He is both “nearby” and “far away,” according to Jeremiah 23:23. The literal meaning of the immanence of God is "to be within" or "near" in relation to God's creation. 16 thoughts on “ The Presence of God: Immanence and Transcendence ” John-Julian, OJN August 10, 2011 at 6:21 pm. The importance of this divine-human intimacy cannot be stressed enough. Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the LORD your God. Please make sure all fields are filled out. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Moreover, if God is infinite, then God must exist everywhere — including within us and within the universe. 7:14; Matt. First, we cannot fall into mysticism or pantheism, the notion that this immanence eliminates the distinction between creator and creature so that we become God, or  that he becomes indistinguishable from us. God’s immanence is naturally contrasted with the idea of God’s transcendence, which describes God as existing completely outside the universe. Divine immanence is the description of his kingly control and authority; because he rules over creation, he is present throughout the whole creation, especially to his people, in a personal and covenantal way. 8:1; 57:5). 21:7). So we should understand God’s immanence, the covenant presence of his lordship, to be everywhere in the universe, as well as being especially intense in particular locations. If God is a person and works within human history, then it would make little sense for us not to be able to perceive and communicate with God. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). Indeed, since his transcendence governs all the events of creation and his authority governs all his creatures, he is certainly the most visible being in the universe. When discussing divine immanence Scripture uses metaphors of nearness or closeness, and speaks about him as bridegroom, father, shepherd, husband, lover, etc. 6:7). 11:33–36). 5:2), even “above the heavens” (Ps. In modern theology, this concept leads to a skepticism about the adequacy of Scripture itself as a revelation of God and about the ability of human beings to say anything about God with real assurance (John Frame, The Doctrine of God, 110). To him be glory forever. 1:11) but because the created world serves his redemptive covenant purposes. The more God’s transcendence is emphasized, the less God’s immanence can be understood and vice-versa. If we focus on His transcendence without a sense of His immanence, we can perceive God as being aloof and distant. Divine transcendence and immanence are the related Christian doctrines that speak of God’s authority and control over his creation and people as king. In general, to say that God is transcendent is to say that he is exalted, above, beyond us. Indeed, God’s lordship is his covenant relation to the world he has made, particularly to the persons in it. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. Immanence, in philosophy and theology, a term applied, in contradistinction to “transcendence,” to the fact or condition of being entirely within something (from Latin immanere, “to dwell in, remain”). This essay is freely available under Creative Commons License with Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA 3.0 US), allowing users to share it in other mediums/formats and adapt/translate the content as long as an attribution link, indication of changes, and the same Creative Commons License applies to that material. (Lev. Through the Leviticus text, the refrain “I am the LORD your God” is repeated fifteen times to reinforce the truth that Israel’s law is based on the authority of Gold’s lordship over them. 97:9). First, his control: Because he is lord, he is omnipotent; he has the power to do anything. Some theologians and philosophers have been willing to make such a move, but most have not — and the result is a continuation of both of these attributes, constantly in tension. As in previous studies, we will look at definitions, scriptures, commentary evidence, dictionary entries and portions of essays for the purpose to glorify… Let us look first at the ways in which God is transcendent. 57:5; 97:9). god's immanence and transcendence Posted on August 10, 2020 by He actually became what we are so that we might become like he is, as Athanasius put it.And his work on the cross, along with his resurrection, shows how God took great efforts to restore our relationship to himself, to allow us to again enjoy his immanence. This is a very immanent God whose transcendence is ignored entirely — if, indeed, such a God can be described as transcendent at all. God’s immanence and transcendence relate to His relationship with the created world. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. On the face of it, the characteristics of transcendence and immanence appear to be in conflict. Secondly, deism, or the notion that since God is transcendent his nearness to us is only a figure of speech, an “anthropomorphism.” No! For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. How, then, should we define God’s transcendence, if it is not a barrier to our knowledge of God and our clear speaking about him? Origins of Transcendence and Immanence The idea of a transcendent God has roots both in Judaism and in Neoplatonic philosophy . Immanence. God is really and truly near to us, difficult as that may be for us to conceive. Barth’s argument essentially reverses this picture (derived from Scripture) of God’s transcendence and immanence. These two concepts are able to coexist by differentiating between transcendence as an attribute of God – something that He inherently exists as – and immanence as a situation in which He has chosen to … 19:1–4). 7:14; 8:8; Matt. Clearly, then, it is wrong to think of God’s transcendence as a kind of cloud hiding God from the human mind. The biblical language of God “on high” or “in Heaven” refers uniformly to God’s royal dignity. God is 'within' the universe in that God is its sustaining cause. 139:7–12), not only because he made everything and governs everything by his plan (Eph. 66:1). 8:18–22). This verse really summarizes what theologically is often called God’s transcendence and eminence. As Paul says, his revelation is clear (Rom. Our relation to God is always personal—a relation between the divine person and ourselves as human persons. He controls the events of nature and history, including the course of our salvation from sin. The transcendence of God is closely related to his sovereignty. But to say that God is “high” is not primarily to speak of his presence in any of those places. So transcendence is a convenient term to summarize these ways in which God is “above us.”. Science, Religion & Culture Pro … God’s Immanence vs. Transcendence. (Exod. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Mystics who seek a union or at least contact with God are seeking a transcendent God — a God so totally “other” and so totally different from what we normally experience that a special mode of experience and perception is required. The heart of the covenant is a relationship of intimacy. transcendence and immanence of God in the traditional African worldview. In responding to this view of God’s transcendence and immanence, we discuss the amplified transcendence and immanence of This was not only one of the most dramatic and necessary miracles of the Torah, it is also one of its greatest moments of Divine revelation. God stands above and beyond the fallen created order as one who is perfectly holy. Such a God must be wholly “other,” transcendent to everything we know. The Lord’s throne is in heaven. The chief promise of the covenant is the Lord’s word, “I will be with you” (Gen. 21:22; 26:28; 28:15; 28:20; 31:3, 5; 39:3–4; Exod. 8:27). Divine transcendence and immanence are the related Christian doctrines that while God is exalted in his royal dignity and exercises both control and authority in his creation (transcendence), he is, by virtue of this control and authority, very present to his creation, especially his people, in a personal and intimate way (immanence). God’s transcendence is a way of referring to his lordship over the world, but lordship does not confine God to a sphere beyond our knowledge. Copyright © 2020 The Gospel Coalition, INC. All Rights Reserved. The idea of God being transcendent is very common when it comes to the mystical traditions of various religions. Moving in the other direction, we find Protestant theologian Paul Tillich and those who have followed his example in describing God as our “ultimate concern,” such that we could not “know” God without “participating in” God. The Gospel Coalition supports the church by providing resources that are trusted and timely, winsome and wise, and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. 6:18; Rev. Of course, God transcends space as he transcends time. Divine transcendence does not mean that he is so far from and other than his creation that we are not able to understand his self-revelation in the Scripture or relate to him in any way. God is “omnipresent,” present everywhere (Ps. The problem of conte xt. There is no biblical term that captures all of what theologians want to say about God’s transcendence, but the idea of immanence is helpfully summarized in the term Immanuel, God with us (Isa. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things were created through him and for him. Clearly, there is some conflict between these two characteristics. Heaven is one of those places, a literal dwelling place of God far up in the sky, to which Jesus ascended when his earthly work was done (Acts 1:11). Amen. God loves before he creates theworld or any humans. So understood, God’s transcendence does not imply that he is hidden from people; quite the contrary. (Rom. God manifests himself in history and in the lives of people in both mundane and dramatic ways. In Byzantine Rite theology the immanence of God is expressed as the hypostases or energies of God, who in his essence is incomprehensible and transcendent. For this reason, many philosophers have tried to downplay or even deny one attribute or the other. Dena Weiss. But Scripture itself never connects God’s transcendence with human uncertainty about God, let alone skepticism. Transcendence and Immanence of. This time, I will be sharing about this extraordinary attribute of God that appears to contradict the truth about His transcendence; but no, it does not. Verse Concepts. What is mysterious in this passage is his “immanence,” not his “transcendence.” As we saw earlier, Paul has spoken in Romans about the clarity of God’s revelation from “heaven” (1:18–21). God has been personally active in the world since its creation and yet He is also set apart from it, superior in nature. Between Immanence and Transcendence Parashat BeShallach. God’s covenant presence is primarily with his redeemed people. TRANSCENDENCE AND IMMANENCE.According to Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, second edition, unabridged, to transcend is to "ascend beyond, excel. For though the term transcendent is not itself biblical, it is a convenient way of grouping together certain biblical ideas. Divine transcendence and immanence are the related Christian doctrines that while God is exalted in his royal dignity and exercises both control and authority in his creation (transcendence), he is, by virtue of this control and authority, very present to his creation, especially his people, in a personal and intimate way (immanence). It’s His Immanence. 12:6; John 2:19–22). However, besides being transcendent, God also possesses immanence (nearness), and it is in His immanence that God chooses to draw near to His creation. The need for both qualities can be seen in the other characteristics normally attributed to God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have forever been in a relationship of pure, intense, joyous love. Arvin M. Gouw, P hD. “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? How thankful I am, not only to see these features revealed in Scripture … Some ancient and modern writers, however, have taken God’s transcendence to mean something else: God is so far above us, so very different from anything on earth, that we can say nothing, at least nothing positive, about him. It is to speak of why he has the right to dwell in such places. TRANSCENDENCE AND IMMANENCE. Therefore, we can define transcendence as God’s lordship over his world with particular reference to his royal prerogatives of control and authority.