Posts tagged ‘God’s interaction’

August 10th, 2011

A Quick Note on Transcendence and Immanence

by Max Andrews

The Enlightenment restricted knowledge to experience and the phenomenal. Post-Enlightenment thought sought to progress in knowledge while considering the advances the Enlightenment had made.  The Christian faith attempted to develop a new relationship between transcendence and immanence.  Transcendence has to do with God’s being self-sufficient and beyond or above the universe.  Immanence corresponds with God being present and active in creation, intimately involved in human history.  Newtonian physics did not permit God to be immanent in the universe.  This came into question was brought into light by the unmistakable success of science.[1]

Einstein’s GTR permitted the possibility that God interacts with the created order without interrupting the physical cause and effect system.[2]  The most important task for scientific theologians was how to avoid de facto deism—not merely by calling it unorthodox and expressing a dislike for the Newtonian theistic system, but by actually showing why it is an unnecessary conclusion drawn from science.  Christian theologians must be in the position to say what they mean by God’s activity in the world and how God’s activity can be consistent with the belief that God has created a finite order with a goodness and perfection of its own.[3]


            [1] Clayton Philip, God and Contemporary Science (Edinburgh, Scotland:  Edinburgh University Press, 1997), 188.

            [2] See Thomas Torrance, Space, Time, and Incarnation (Edinburgh, Scotland:  T&T Clark, 1969).

            [3] Philip, 192.