Monday, October 25, 2010


one area of the Christian faith that i'm really interested in is the presence of God - ie the ways in which God is present in the created world, the ways His presence is experienced, and how people throughout the Christian tradition have experienced it. 'immanence' is a term used in theology when people talk about how a transcendent God is present in the created world.

i might put a few of my thoughts about the subject down here on the blog from time to time... this might include some of my own personal experience, but i thought i'd note some conceptual ideas about how God is present first of all.

one of the upshots of immanence is that God is close to us, understands us and identifies with us. He knows us.

in the Christian tradition, God is trinity - that's a vast concept, which i'm not going to attempt to even try and summarise, but suffice to say that the trinity involves the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

aspects of the extent to which God knows us are evident in each part of the trinity.

Father: in the sense that we are God's children, He knows us. the concept of God being our father can get a bad rap because our understanding of the concept of 'father' is inevitably influenced by our own personal experience of what a father is. nonetheless, this concept of God represents what an untainted father is. a true father wants what is best for his children and experiences a level of bond and connection (love) that can only come because the children are his. we are made in God's image - He recognises the things in us that came from Him.

Son: Jesus is God coming to earth to exist as a human. God's experience of what it means to be human (the human condition) is firsthand. in other words, He knows what it's like. He knows what it's like to be in a human body - the strengths, weaknesses, limitations - He knows what it's like to think like a human - apart from the union of God and humanity, He's also felt the gap that humans experience between themselves and God.

Holy Spirit: the Holy Spirit is the part of God that lives inside a human when that person places their life in God's hands. the Holy Spirit dwells in the essential core of the person and as such is utterly involved in what that human experiences. the Spirit is right there where the emotions and thoughts occur - where the subconscious happens, where all the memories and personality are stored, and where the neurological and other biophysical interactions occur that make us function.

these aspects of the immanence of God are so effective that God knows us better than we know ourselves. it is impossible to be better known than God knows us.

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