I just started a study on Tuesday nights with some guys at my church reading through A Basic Christian Theology by A.J. Conyers. It has been encouraging to see the guys, some of whom had never really picked up a theology book of this nature, commit to building a theology of their own based upon the Scriptures. Tonight we wrestled with the reality of general and special revelation as well as the transcendence and condescension of God. It is important to flesh out the significance of both types of revelation on the life of a Christian. It is also important to recognize the tension between the transcendence and immanence of God. It seems to me that Christians today emphasize the immanence (nearness) of God at the expense of his transcendence (beyond the world). Here’s an example of that (though painfully funny):
Jesus is my friend and homeboy. God is my bald-headed grandfather who secretly gives me jelly beans whenever I come over to the house (ok…so that was my Grandpa Lash). Though such comments seem like overstatements, they are not too far from the truth. In the process, we run the great risk of trivializing our great and mighty God. Realizing God’s transcendence along with his immanence gives us a greater confidence in the God who has created the entire universe, revealed himself to humanity, and authored our salvation. As Conyers says:
Nevertheless, this very realization of God’s transcendence and his incomprehensibility is also the ground of the confidence with which we respond to God’s revelation. The hiddenness of God, once we acknowledge that fact, “is the confession of God’s revelation as the beginning of our cognizance of God.” Therefore, we stand in our confession of faith, not on the fallible and uncertain strength of human intellect and imagination, but upon the certainty that if God is made known to us at all, it is from God’s side that this becomes possible.
A transcendent God has seen fit to reveal himself to us. He pursues us by revealing himself. Thanks be to God.