Sunday, October 26, 2008

The immanence/imminence of God

I've often hesitated when describing the immanence of God because I knew that with the change of one letter in that word, I could be saying something quite different and I hadn't quite figured out what that was. Both are relevant.

Immanence is often used in comparison with the transcendence of God. God is both far beyond all that we can imagine and experience (transcendent) but also intimately present in every part of creation (immanent). There is something about our experience of the divine that results in us oscillating between the immanent and transcendent - sometimes we feel close to God but all too often God seems very distant. Paradoxically there is truth in both.

Where immanence has a spatial and theological aspect, imminence conveys a more temporal meaning. Something that is imminent is about to happen. We could talk about the Kingdom of God as being both immanent and imminent - we experience it's foreshadowing in the present and long for it's culmination in the near future.

Glad I finally have that sorted out!

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