God’s covenant presence is primarily with his redeemed people. 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? 4:7, 20; 7:6; 14:7; 26:18; 2 Sam. This is a very immanent God whose transcendence is ignored entirely — if, indeed, such a God can be described as transcendent at all. 20:1–3), And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. The Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence of God, Creative Commons License with Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA 3.0 US). Secondly, deism, or the notion that since God is transcendent his nearness to us is only a figure of speech, an “anthropomorphism.” No! Arvin M. Gouw, P hD. 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). However, this passage does not speak of God’s transcendent existence “on high,” but about God’s “ways” in history as described in Romans 1:1-11:32. Is Atheism Incompatible With Free Will and Moral Choice? Immanence. The biblical language of God “on high” or “in Heaven” refers uniformly to God’s royal dignity. 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. Many stories in the Old Testament depict a God who is very active in human affairs and the working of the universe. The Old Testament, for example, records a prohibition against idols, and this can be interpreted as an attempt to emphasize the wholly “otherness” of God which cannot be represented physically. Therefore, we can define transcendence as God’s lordship over his world with particular reference to his royal prerogatives of control and authority. Scripture does not require us to use the terms transcendent and immanent, and some misuses of these terms have brought theological confusion. If we focus on His transcendence without a sense of His immanence, we can perceive God as being aloof and distant. 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. Indeed, God’s lordship is his covenant relation to the world he has made, particularly to the persons in it. “The Lord is in his holy temple. On the other hand, if God is absolutely perfect beyond all experience and understanding, then God must also be transcendent. 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. He is “high” in the sense that the king’s throne is high above his subjects. Barth’s argument essentially reverses this picture (derived from Scripture) of God’s transcendence and immanence. 12:6; John 2:19–22). The idea of a transcendent God has roots both in Judaism and in Neoplatonic philosophy. 1:11) but because the created world serves his redemptive covenant purposes. First, his control: Because he is lord, he is omnipotent; he has the power to do anything. (Exod. 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. 8:27). Between Immanence and Transcendence Parashat BeShallach. 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. Clearly, then, it is wrong to think of God’s transcendence as a kind of cloud hiding God from the human mind. 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. 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. As Paul says, his revelation is clear (Rom. This intimate relationship, the heart of the covenant, resounds through Scripture (see Deut. 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. 57:5; 97:9). Dena Weiss. A transcendent is one who is beyond perception, independent of the universe, and wholly “other” when compared to us. God’s immanence as we have understood it is the heart of biblical redemption, the very name of Jesus, God with us. — and, hence, very much a part of our existence. God manifests himself in history and in the lives of people in both mundane and dramatic ways. The idea of an immanent God can also be traced to both Judaism and other Greek philosophers. Transcendence and Immanence of. Amen. Such a God must be wholly “other,” transcendent to everything we know. 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. Because both of these qualities follow readily from other qualities, it would be difficult to abandon either without also needing to abandon or at least seriously modify many other common attributes of God. 16 thoughts on “ The Presence of God: Immanence and Transcendence ” John-Julian, OJN August 10, 2011 at 6:21 pm. (Rom. 66:1). 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. 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. “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). So they are without excuse. 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. 8:18–22). Many of the Psalms, for example, celebrate his kingship by praising the strength by which he controls his domain (Ps. 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. In this context, God is so utterly alien that it's wrong to attempt to portray it any sort of concrete fashion. 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). He dwells “in heaven above” (Deut. God is really and truly near to us, difficult as that may be for us to conceive. The more God’s transcendence is emphasized, the less God’s immanence can be understood and vice-versa. God’s transcendence and immanence. Scripture often speaks of God as “exalted” (Ps. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. BY CLIFFORD GOLDSTEIN T heologians talk about the immanence and transcendence of God. The African traditional worldview in many respects believes the transcendent God whose immanence is mediated by lesser spiritual intermediary powers. But to say that God is “high” is not primarily to speak of his presence in any of those places. 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. Let us look first at the ways in which God is transcendent. 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 … But Scripture itself never connects God’s transcendence with human uncertainty about God, let alone skepticism. As in previous studies, we will look at definitions, scriptures, commentary evidence, dictionary entries and portions of essays for the purpose to glorify… Origins of Transcendence and Immanence The idea of a transcendent God has roots both in Judaism and in Neoplatonic philosophy . “You shall have no other gods before me. 6:18; Rev. There are all sorts of commonalities and points of comparison. While affirming God’s transcendence, Scripture speaks in clear and certain language about his nature and actions. Christians, especially mystics, have often described a God who works within them and whose presence they can perceive immediately and personally. If you are interested in translating our content or are interested in joining our community of translators, please reach out to us. God stands above and beyond the fallen created order as one who is perfectly holy. the Trinity in Barth and Lossky. On the face of it, the characteristics of transcendence and immanence appear to be in conflict. Earth Man, Insignificance Of Earth, Description Of Grasshoppers God Being Outside Of Creation God, Sovereignty Of Circles. The heart of the covenant is a relationship of intimacy. For though the term transcendent is not itself biblical, it is a convenient way of grouping together certain biblical ideas. 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