I is for Immanence

II found today’s word on a blog called Rebecca Writes. I’ve spotted some of the terms I’ve done so far on her list.

She quotes from Wayne Grudem’s book Systematic Theology (IMO a great book). Immanence means “remaining in” creation.” Grudem says that, ‘the God of the Bible is no abstract deity removed from, and uninterested in his creation. The Bible is the story of God’s involvement with his creation, and particularly the people in it.’

Many believe that if there is a grand deity in the sky, he is far removed. He wound us up, set us off and then went off to do something else. I find that most of the reasoning for that belief is to do with suffering and natural disasters. If a loving God exists, how come there are tsunamis and terrible diseases?

It’s a fair question and to this day no one I’ve spoken to about it has ever been satisfied with my answer. My answer is probably a poor one – it’s basically built on a trust in God for the things I don’t understand, based on what I do know of him and is character as revealed in the Bible.

You see now why no one likes my answer. 🙂

I heard a better answer recently. We had a guest preacher in our church on Easter Sunday night. He spoke about Stephen Fry’s interview on Irish TV about God, particularly what he would say to God if he turned out to be real. SF responded with a passionate, angry list of things he would say to God. and questions he would ask him about sickness and tragedy.

Our speaker said (important to note that I’m paraphrasing here), atheism’s answer to that stuff is silence. We came from nothing more than slime, we’ll go to nothing. There is no great deity, there is no afterlife, there is only now. There’s no reckoning, no cosmic justice, no great day to come – there’s just nothing.

The Resurrection however, answers those questions. It explains why we have a sense of justice within us that cries ‘How dare you?’ when something terrible happens. It explains why things seem so unfair, why the world is falling apart and why there is sickness and death. The resurrection also says, there IS  a day of reckoning, a day when all accounts will be be settled, when all injustices will be made right, when all pain will be gone, and all tears will stop.

The resurrection is a picture of how everything can look so bleak, cruel, unfair and hopeless – yet something amazing can come from it. And the story’s not over yet – because He, the Risen One, is coming back.

I’m not sure how much justice I’ve done to a brilliant sermon, but I hope you get the gist 🙂

Rebecca Writes also uses these two quotes from the Bible. I’ll leave you with these and see you tomorrow with the ‘J’ post.

Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:23-24, ESV)


…one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:6, ESV)

2 thoughts on “I is for Immanence

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