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Thursday
Jul242008

Theological Term of the Week

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Still doing “im” words.
 
immanence
Existing or operating in. Used of God, it refers to his pervasion of, and involvement in, all of his creation.

  • From the Bible:
    Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:23-24, ESV)
    …one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:6, ESV)
  • From Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, page 267:
    The technical term used to speak of God’s involvement in creation is the word immanent, meaning “remaining in” creation. The God of the Bible is no abstract deity removed from, and uninterested in his creation. The Bible is the story of God’s involvement with his creation, and particularly the people in it. Job affirms that even the animals and plants depend on God: “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10). In the New Testament, Paul affirms that God “gives to all men life and breath and everything” and that “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:35, 28). Indeed, in Christ “all things hold together” (Col. 1:17), and he is continually “upholding the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3).
  • From Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof, page 61:
    God is immanent in all His creatures, in His entire creation, but is in no way bounded by it. In connection with God’s relation to the world we must avoid, on the one hand, the error of Pantheism, so characteristic of a great deal of present day thinking, with its denial of the transcendence of God and its assumption that the Being of God is really the substance of all things; and, on the other hand, the Diestic conception that God is indeed present in creation per potentiam  (with His power), but not per essentiam et naturam (with His very Being and nature), and acts upon the world from a distance. Though God is distinct from the world and may not be identified with it, He is yet present in every part of His creation, not only per potentiam, but also per essentiam. This does not mean, however, that He is equally present and present in the same sense in all His creatures. The nature of His indwelling is in harmony with that of His creatures. He does not dwell on earth as He does in heaven, in animals as He does in man, in the inorganic as He does in the organic creation, in the wicked as He does in the pious, nor in the Church as He does in Christ. There is an endless variety in the manner in which He is immanent in His creatures, and in the measure in which they reveal God to those who have eyes to see.
Learn more:
  1. Rev. D. H. Kuiper: The Omnipresence of God
Have you come across a theological term that you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.
 
Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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Reader Comments (4)

Will we do eminence next? : D

July 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKim from Hiraeth

When I read these theological terms it strikes me that I often live as though these were ideas rather than being actual. The truth of them ought to make an increasing difference in our lives. Anybody else impacted in that way?

July 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrosemary

Will we do eminence next? : D

No, but we might do imminent. :)

July 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

Rosemary,

Theology is so practical, isn't it? We need to be reminded of these things over and over because they make a difference in how we think and act.

July 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

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