It wasn’t that long ago when if you used the term “God,” nearly everyone would know you were referring to the God of the Bible (at least in the west). Today, “God” could mean almost anything—from the triune God of Christianity, to the god of any of several other religions, to a vague cosmic force, to the earth itself.
Over at the Cruciform Press blog, I’m talking about the danger of assuming we all agree about who God is in a post adapted from chapter two of my book Contend: Defending the Faith in a Fallen World. Here’s a preview addressing the immanence of God:
Consider that God has revealed himself to us, which means we can comprehend him, at least to some degree. God’s self-revelation brings him near and makes him personal. God is intimately involved in his creation, and particularly so by making mankind in his image. Not content to speak the first man and woman into being, God actually formed them with his hands (Genesis 2:7, 22).
Apparently there is a sense in which this direct formation continues, for the psalmist declares that God “formed my inward parts; [he] knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). It seems only fitting that a sovereign, loving God would play a “hands-on” role in the formation of every creature specifically made in his image.
God’s moment-by-moment involvement with us does not end at birth, though. It continues throughout our lives. Jesus goes so far as to tell us that God “knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8). Indeed, Jesus himself is the epitome of the immanence of God, humbling himself to take on flesh, becoming like us so that he might redeem us. This is not the description of a far-off, unknowable, uninterested divine being. It is instead a realistic, albeit partial glimpse of a deeply personal, involved God. God is immanent; he is near and knowable.
As I wrote in the post, and in the book, it is so dangerous to assume we all mean the same thing when we talk about God. If we get God wrong, nothing else about the Christian faith—or life—makes a lot of sense. I hope you’ll keep reading the article at CruciformPress.com. (And while you’re there, be sure to enter this week’s 20Twosdays giveaway where you can get a copy of Contend and Awaiting a Savior, as well as a $20 gift certificate for the Cruciform Press store!)