Listen F Martin's "Sanctus". Music details HERE.
The words TRANSCENDENT and IMMANENT,
which have already been used, must be explained more clearly.
God is transcendent; that is, He is above, beyond, outside, all that He has made.
The Old Testament draws a clear distinction between the Creator and created
a distinction that was not made by the other nations.
God can never cease to be God,
nor can anyone become God.
The heathen belief in demi-gods is unknown to the Hebrew and Christian revelation.
The theory put forward by some modern theologians that there is no difference in kind between God and man is inconsistent with Theism, and is really Pantheistic.
Belief in the transcendence of God has definite consequences in human character.
It produces awe, reverence, humility.
It finds its supreme literary expression in the Book of Job, which has the desert for its background.
It is in the desert, or on the sea,
in the presence of the overwhelming powers of Nature before which man is helpless,
that he is most inclined to believe in the transcendence of God.
It was in the volcanic region of Mount Sinai that the children of Israel first learned the lesson of the holiness of God.
In modern times the sense of the transcendence of God was especially prominent in the Tractarians.
We also find it in an exaggerated form in the teaching of Professor Karl Barth that God is the Absolutely Other.
But God is also immanent.
He is inside all that He has made as well as outside.
He is the Sustainer and Preserver as well as the Creator.
He is the source of all power and all beauty.
Nothing could continue to exist for a moment if He were not continually keeping it in being.
It is easier to believe in the immanence of God than in His transcendence
if one lives in the midst of a crowded city and in a mechanical civilization full of contrivances of every kind.
The immanence of God was over-emphasized in the steaming plains and swarming cities of India.
Modern Christians need to emphasize the transcendence of God rather than His immanence,
especially as the decline of the importance of personality is such a dangerous tendency in the modern world.
God is immanent in man, as in all other created beings.
But His immanence in all men must not be confused with His Incarnation in Jesus Christ.
The Incarnation is entirely unique:
only once did the Word become Flesh.
To say, as some have said, that Jesus of Nazareth was the highest instance of the immanence of God in man is a deadly error.
to my God and your God.
Never once did He identify Himself with His disciples, or His relation to
His Father with theirs, by using "our" of Himself and them (the Lord's
Prayer is put into their mouths, and is not the way in which He Himself prayed) [Contrast St. Matt.11.25; St. John 17; etc.].
The Transcendence and Immanence of God are what is called an "antinomy",
a pair of necessary truths, which must be held together, and yet, which appear to contradict each other.
There are several such antinomies in Christian doctrine:
God is Three and God is One;
Jesus Christ is both God and Man;
God is omnipotent, yet man has free will.
Truth appears to consist of a balance of apparent opposites.
To emphasize either side and neglect the other is to fall into serious error.
To believe in God's transcendence and to neglect His immanence is to fall into Deism.
To believe in His immanence and to neglect His transcendence is to fall into Pantheism.
History shows that either course has disastrous effects on human conduct.