The Transcendent Immanent God . . . by Joseph Littlefield
The Transcendent Immanent God
Some religious “gods” are thought to be deities afar off. They are over all things and perhaps powerful, like the imposing Allah of Islam. Or they are so removed from our world that they are likened to the uninvolved, impersonal god of the deist; who began things but has left us alone ever since. These gods have transcendence and that is all.
Other religious gods are deities who are close to us. They may be thought of as a Santa Claus in the sky – if you will- here to indulge our every fancy. The Greek mythological characters were thought to be involved in this world, affecting its course. But they were, in fact, no more than highly imperfect humans on a grand scale. They were drunkards and liars and adulterers and worse. They were very immanent but did not possess a transcendence lifting them above us.
I wish not for either type of god. I wish, instead, for what our hearts long for. I wish for the God of reality. I wish for the Triune God who is true; a God who is both transcendent and immanent as only He can be. The true God is the one spoken of by Isaiah – high and lifted up, full of holy glory whose thoughts are above our thoughts and whose ways are beyond our ways. He brought everything into being and holds all things together. He is truly transcendent. Yet, He is also the God spoken of as the God who took on flesh. He stooped low to enter humanity in the most immanent way possible. And on the day of Pentecost He went stooped even further. He went beyond just being among us to making His dwelling inside us.
This is the true God. He is immanent and transcendent. No imposter is like Him. None should be worshipped but Him.