What is the immanence of God?Question: "What is the immanence of God?"
Answer: God’s immanence refers to His presence within His creation. (It is not to be confused with imminence, which refers to the timing of Jesus’ return to earth.) A belief in God’s immanence holds that God is present in all of creation, while remaining distinct from it. In other words, there is no place where God is not. His sovereign control extends everywhere simultaneously.
Pantheism and deism twist many people’s view of how God relates to His creation. Pantheists believe that everything is God or is a part of God, making Him equal with His creation and unable to act upon it. Deists hold that God is distinct from His creation but deny that He plays an active role in it. Contrary to these and other false views of God, the Bible says that God is both different from His creation and actively upholding it.
Transcendence (God exists outside of space and time) and immanence (God is present within space and time) are both attributes of God. He is both “nearby” and “far away,” according to Jeremiah 23:23. “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). That is God’s transcendence. “In him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). That is God’s immanence.
God’s omnipresence is closely related to His immanence, and Psalm 139:1-10 describes it in beautiful detail. In the New Testament, Paul declares that God “Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else” and “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:25, 28). God guides, governs, and provides for His creation, even though He is so far above it (Ephesians 1:11; 4:6).
The immanence of God is also supported in the story of the Bible as a whole. The very existence of God’s Word in written form testifies to God’s interest and action in His world. Israel’s survival throughout biblical history and Jesus’ Incarnation bear powerful witness that God is present and involved. He is literally “sustaining all things by His powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3). He is Immanuel, “God with us”; He is immanent.
Recommended Resource: Knowing God by J.I. Packer
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