Big Idea: God is transcendent and immanent.
The word transcendent simply means “beyond.” This attribute of God refers to the fact that God is completely separate from the created universe. He is not affected by the limitations of the created universe (i.e. time and space). The word immanent simply means “operating within.” This attribute of God refers to the fact that, even though he is completely separate from the created universe, he is able to operate within the limitations of the created universe. This is the basis for Jesus coming into the world. Scripture refers to Jesus by the name Immanuel, which means “God with us.” God exists outside the confines of the created universe, but is able to operate within those confines and even perform supernatural feats (i.e. come back from the dead).
There is a philosophy that your students may one day encounter called Panentheism. Two weeks ago we talked about how Pantheism refers to the idea that God is within all creation. Panentheism, on the other hand, refers to the idea that all creation is within God. Once again, this philosophy is found in various Hindu and Buddhist religions, as well as mystical and New Age ideologies. While the Bible teaches that God is completely separate from, yet able to operate within, creation, panentheistic philosophies teach that creation is one with God and everything that happens in creation is God acting. This philosophy is detrimental because it leads to the idea that God causes all things, including evil and suffering. If God causes evil, he is not a God of love or justice.
Day 1: Exodus 15 (Key Verses: 11 – 13)
Day 2: Isaiah 6 (Key Verses: 1 – 7)
Day 3: Revelation 4 (Key Verses: 1, 2, & 8)
The biblical word for God’s transcendence is “holiness.” Holiness refers to his distinctness. He is set apart from his creation, but he is able to operate within those confines by doing things such as appearing to the prophet Isaiah and the apostle John and also by working to free the Israelites from slavery.
Questions for Discussion
- What do these verses say about God being different from his creation?
- What do you think it means for God to be holy?
- How does this affect your faith and your walk with God?
Spend 15 minutes this week thinking about what being holy in your life would look like and pray that God would empower you to be holy like he is holy (1 Peter 1:15 – 16).