Far and Near

The key paradox to all paradoxes is the Incarnation. We confess Jesus to be the God-Man. Both. Not one or the other, but both. We can stress His deity to the point of forgetting His humanity. We can focus on His humanity to the point of denying His divinity.

The truth of the Incarnation is not an either/or but a both/and. The same is true for transcendence and immanence. When transcendence and immanence are brought together, God is present; it’s a true divine-human encounter.

Throughout biblical history, God’s immanence is always known together with God’s transcendence. Consider Moses and the burning bush, the Exodus, the Annunciation, the Incarnation, the Transfiguration, and Pentecost.

The experience of God’s transcendent immanence never provokes a “Golly, gee-wiz! Hi there, God” response. Rather it incites awe, wonder, and an overwhelming sense of the mysterium tremendum. The believer, engulfed by the numinous and moved by the reality of an encounter with the divine, experiences speechlessness.

—Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Worship (email) 10/29/03


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