Immanence

A word used to convey the idea of God indwelling His creation and its processes. It is the counterpart of transcendence,* which emphasizes His distinctness from and total sovereign superiority over His creation. Pantheism is immanentistic: it, in fact, identifies God with the universe. Another form of immanence is the notion of theistic evolution: God is viewed as always acting "naturally" (i.e., within the course of nature and by means of natural development) and not supernaturally.

These are unscriptural and clearly erroneous views of the immanence of God. Still, the idea of God's immanence is scriptural. It is not antagonistic to His transcendence. He is immanent in that He is omnipresent throughout His creation (Ps. 139), and yet He is transcendent in that He is personally and essentially distinct from and infinitely superior to His creation. This was graphically portrayed to the Israelites by the camp around the tabernacle. The tabernacle, with the pillar of cloud, signified God's presence or immanence. His separation, or transcendence, was signified by the fact that the camp was separated from the tabernacle on all four sides by the Levites and Moses, Aaron and the priests (Num. 1:53; 3:31–38).

Cairns, A. (2002). In Dictionary of Theological Terms (pp. 222–223). Belfast; Greenville, SC: Ambassador Emerald International.

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