When we say God is transcendent, that means he is above the universe, independent of the universe, not bound by the universal laws, example gravity, needing sunshine or clouds to shied from excessive UV, and all the sicknesses and evil of this humanity.
Immanent means he is in the world with us, pervading our universe. The idea is that for a God that is transcendent to incarnate into this world, and became a man, so as to become a part of the race of Adam, to volunteer himself to be sacrificed and condemned on the cross to pay for the sins of the world, he became immanent in this world. And I will unpack that from Psalm 112 for what these 2 terms means to us. First let’s see some definitions and background:
What is Transcendence & Immanence?
The doctrine or theory of immanence holds that the divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world. Immanence is usually applied in monotheistic, pantheistic, pandeistic, or panentheistic faiths to suggest that the spiritual world permeates the mundane. It is often contrasted with theories of transcendence, in which the divine is seen to be outside the material world. Immanence means God is pervasive in our universe, manifested in our material world.
Major Faiths in the World on this Subject
Major faiths commonly devote significant philosophical efforts to explaining the relationship between immanence and transcendence but do so in different ways, such as: casting immanence as a characteristic of a transcendent God (common in Abrahamic religions),subsuming immanent personal gods in a greater transcendent being (such as with Brahman in Hinduism), or approaching the question of transcendence as something which can only be answered through an appraisal of immanence.
Catholicism, Protestantism, and Eastern Christianity
According to Christian theology, the transcendent God, who cannot be approached or seen in essence or being, becomes immanent primarily in the God-man Jesus the Christ, who is the incarnate Second Person of the Trinity. 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 comprehended.
Psalm 113: The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. 5 Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high,
This is the meaning of a transcendent God here. Did you see the Lord is exalted over all the nations. He is above, over all the universe. Psalmist is saying who is like the Lord our God, who is sits enthrone on high, and yet stoops down to look on the earth. That is the caring God. He is not so high and lofty that he is aloof from his creations, his subjects. The idea that our God is far and aloof, is foreign to the scriptures. Our God cares deeply. There are enough verses to show how intimately involved he is with this world. From Moses, Abraham, how God came down and entered into a covenant with Abraham in the trailing flame :
Genesis 15:1 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. ” God appeared to Abraham.
6 who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;8 he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people.9 He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.
This is how beautify it is with our God. He stoops down onto the earth and he raises the poor from the dust, he lifts the needy from the ash heap. He is helping the poor, lifting up those of us needy. That’s why we need to help the poor financially. God not only lifts up the needy, but he also seats them with princes, a metaphoric .
That’s why we need a transcendent God to become an immanent God. In other words, we need a savior who is himself sinless, perfect, and that will be divine, supernatural, and therefore transcendent, but if he’s only a transcendent God, divine and perfect, he can’t save us because he is not one of us. He needs to be come flesh and blood like us, like Adam. First Adam failed, the second Adam triumphed, and that’s why we need the incarnation of God himself into this world to become flesh or man, and live among us to totally be one of us, to save us. God cannot save humans, God needs a human to save human, and human cannot save humans, the chasm is bridged by God Man, Jesus Christ, the transcendent and immanent God finally solved the problem, and God will bring the huma race back to himself! Glory to the highest! Amen!
Transcendent God take on Immanence
- The Lord Intervenes in Creation to Accomplish a great Reversal in the Life of the lowliest and most Humble
Intervene is a good work. It means break the normal and create a new thing that was impossible before. Like Jesus opened the eyes of the blind, that’s divine intervention. Jesus raised the dead, cleansed the leper, opened the eyes of the blind, cast out demons, and Paul and Peter also healed the crippled, and cast out demons by Paul, all these are divine intervention, all these are supernatural intervention by a transcendent God into an immanent action. SO how did that happen?
2. Christ the Son of God took the form of human
John 1: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind…..14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
That’s how it happened. In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God! And what happens to that Word?
V14—The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Who can that be? Only one person in all humanity history ever done that, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Word, in John 1. And He was with God the Father, and He is God. And Jesus became flesh, means He became a man, and dwelled among us, and that happened 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, Judea, and finally Jerusalem. In AD 33 , he the Word, was crucified by the Roman soldiers and the Jewish Pharisees, God was crucified, and He fulfilled the prophecies about the Son of God became the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.
So now we have the immanent God with us, through the Holy Spirit. I want you to know that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Results of Transcendence & Immanence
- We are in the realm of the Spirit because Holy Spirit lives in us. He lives in us.
We are especial, the only creation in this world who has the Spirit of God living in us. I hope this will really encourage us and strengthen us.
Romans 8: 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.
2. We are led by the Spirit of God because we are children of God
We call out Abba Father because the Spirit we received brought our adoption into sonship
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
3. Finally, we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ if we share in his sufferings so we may share in his glory
The fruit of heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ is that we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
4. No Sufferings No Glory
This is clear I hope. All people of faith in Christ, must understand that, God has called us into this world to live godly lives, and living that we will be persecuted by the world, and the devil. No big deal at all, because that plays into God’s path for us to eventually also share in Christ’s glory, as Christ has suffered, and now glorified.
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
5. We will Never be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.