March 26, 2020

God is Transcendent and Immanent

Devotional by: Wyatt Brandt

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” ~ Ephesians 2:13

Reddit is a popular website where people can share content and comment on other people’s posts. It’s a common occurrence for a celebrity to log on and post something like, “I am _____, ask me anything.” When people ask their questions, the celebrity will actually take time to have a conversation. We often view celebrities as distant, special, and in their own world. But on Reddit, they take time to interact with everyday people.

Do you ever feel like God is just too big or too far away to care for you? Now, I know that God is not a human celebrity—in fact, he is infinitely greater! But these Reddit posts could help us understand two related Christian doctrines about how God interacts with us: transcendence and immanence.

God is transcendent, which means he is highly exalted. He is in his own category, above and beyond us. God is also immanent, meaning he is ever-present in a personal and intimate way.

Throughout the Bible, the relationships that God sets up with his people are relationships not just of control and authority, but also of intimate presence. God desires to dwell with his people. In fact, the biblical story culminates in God dwelling with his people in Jesus Christ—Immanuel, God with us (Matt. 1:23). Now, anyone who is in Christ can be brought near by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13).

Take a moment to ponder these truths. God is immanent. He sees you—your struggles, your pain, your sickness. Because he is personal and intimate with you, you can come to him in need and he can sympathize with your weakness (Hebrews 4:15).

Thankfully, God is also transcendent. He can do something about your needs. Our prayers will not return void because the God who is with us is also the creator and sustainer of the universe. He is able to change both our circumstances and our heart.

Let us pray to God with boldness, for he is our all-powerful God who cares for us. God is transcendent and immanent.

Passages for Further Study
Psalm 145:18
Hebrews 4:14-16
Isaiah 40:12-31