The Immanence and Transcendance of God


Which is harder: To say that God is everywhere, or that God has become a human being? Is it easier to say that God is far away or very near? What is harder to believe: That God is everywhere, or that God is one of us? Philosophers go for the low-hanging fruit and pick the former rather than the latter. But if God is everywhere, then there is nowhere He can be found. God becomes abstract, like a force or a feeling. In times of trouble, it is very hard to find that sort of a god. Like moments of joy, such a god slips quickly through our fingers.

It is harder to say that God became one of us. This means that God is close. To say it in the way of Martin Luther: He is so near that He cannot be any nearer. This is who Jesus is. God near us. God is for us. Not far away, ignorant of our existence. Not just watching from afar. Not distant, aloof from our suffering. But near, in the flesh, available and present and distributed to His people every day, every week, all our lives. Christ Jesus is the God who is near.

Jesus, the God-man, makes us think differently about God. God has come into our world. He is not up there somewhere — we are unsure where. He has come through a uterus, been washed and diapered. He has cried and felt cold, pain and joy. He drank wine. He worked, sweated, grew tired, slept. He has eaten, been annoyed, felt the sting of rejection and ridicule. God has become one of us. God has done all these things, and all these things have happened to God. Jesus is God near us.

This offends. Philosophers prefer the god who is far away — and everyone can be such a philosopher. No college degree is required. But the God who is near, Jesus, will not be pushed far away. He becomes one of us to be most near us in every part of our lives. He is like us and, therefore, knows us. Although God is no sinner, He takes our sins on Himself and dies for them on a cross. In that moment, God is the most sinful of us all. God dies in our flesh, His flesh. He is come in our flesh to save those who have flesh, those who suffer from their flesh and those who sin in their flesh. He does this because of His compassion for those who are like Him. God is a great lover of sinners. That is Jesus. The Holy Scriptures testify to this. Join us in reading and listening to God’s Word as it tells us that in Jesus, God walks among us and for us.