Transcendence & Immanence – The Way God Sees Us

Do you ever wonder why an all powerful, perfect and holy God would want anything to do with us? When theologians talk about God one of the tension points that is often brought up is the tension between God’s transcendence (that he is higher, holier, and more powerful than we are) and God’s immanence (that God is intimately close and available to us). I wrote about this once in the past in the post, Transcendence and Immanence – Holding the Two in Tension.

God’s transcendence:
This tension affects the way we see God but does it also affect the way God sees us? On one hand, the transcendent God sees us as infinitesimally small. Because of his greatness and his awesome power we are less than ants to our Creator. From the perspective of eternity, our lives are like a vapor, the Bible says…we are here one day and gone the next. We aren’t as big as we would like to think we are. It reminds me of this video that Bobby Valentine shared on Facebook the other day

All that those ants built was amazingly complex and in comparison to their tiny size, enormous. But from our perspective, we can see that in all of its tiny grandeur, it doesn’t even stretch across an entire field. From their perspective, it is a vast kingdom…a wonder of the world. But from our perspective, it can all be squashed without much effort. How does God see the work of our hands, the empires we build and the kingdoms we create?

God’s immanence
On the other hand, the immanent God sees us as precious to him. He sees value in His creation and loves us with a deep, profound and steadfast love. He pursues us, redeems us and is present with us. We see that in its most complete form through the incarnation of Christ and second through the indwelling of the Spirit. How does a holy and perfect God, who is above all and over all, put His Spirit inside us and calls us His own? What mercy! It doesn’t get any more intimate or immanent than that!

It is unfathomable how the Creator of the universe could or would do something like that. It is hard for us to understand how someone so mighty and so awesome might have so much love for those who are small and lowly. It doesn’t make any sense from a worldly point of view and it all leaves me pretty speechless. I am in awe of the God who sees our life like a vapor that is here one moment and gone the next and yet still loves us with a relentless kind of love and instills in us eternal life and a place at His table.

How we see others:
Finally, this changes the way we see other people. It reminds us that though some seem small and insignificant because of their “status” in life that is all really arbitrary because the God who created all things and who is over all things still sees fit to love “the least of these” with that same kind of relentless and faithful love that He loves me. Honestly what it does is remind me that in God’s economy I’m not any more significant than anyone else and that, though the world puts value on things and exalts some over others that in the end, none of that is going to matter anyway. It is all a foolish game we play.

I am so thankful that God doesn’t play by our rules and value systems. If he did, none of us would stand a chance. But as it is, God supplies what we don’t deserve and gives what we could never earn.

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