The first brush stroke of the Torah, the first impression the Holy Spirit impressed upon Moses as he wrote, the first thought that forms and established the DNA or foundation of faith, practice and meaning reveals God as transcendent. Our hearts drink in the Divine plan, the Divine action. That life came from the intention of God. Created by the Logos, or Word of God, which is Jesus, and is infused with the presence of God the the Holy Spirit. You then are not an accident. This planet, galaxy and universe are no accidents either. For nothing can come from nothing, but rather that which is must come from a source beyond its contingency, and that is God.
The dictionary defines transcendence as:
tran·scen·dent (trān-sěn’dənt) Pronunciation Key
- Surpassing others; preeminent or supreme.
- Lying beyond the ordinary range of perception: "fails to achieve a transcendent significance in suffering and squalor" (National Review).
- Transcending the Aristotelian categories.
- In Kant’s theory of knowledge, being beyond the limits of experience and hence unknowable.
- Being above and independent of the material universe. Used of the Deity.
In the book Christianity 101, Gilbert Bilezikian says that transcendence is a quality of God that represents him as prior to , distinct from, and not Dependant on anything or anyone…It means that God must not be confused in any way with the universe he has created because he is not part of it. (but rather it is created by him m.w).
As we begin to reflect on this, we begin to enlarge our view of God. The frames which surround our pictures that we have placed God in, out of necessity of growing knowledge must expand as our understanding does. Transcendence reveals that God cannot be contained within our concept of time. He lives in the eternal now yet graces us with the gift of time in order to bring some calm to the chaos of life. The Bible tells us that a day is as a 1000 years to the Almighty, in other words, since God is transcendent, time has no hold of Him.
Since God is in His very nature Spirit, neither male nor female, He cannot be contained within the dimensions of space. All dimensions were created by God, therefore He exceeds all dimensions and can never be boxed in or trapped within the dimensions of space that we know, see, and even those which we don’t know and see.
While God is Spirit, He has revealed Himself in the Bible as existing in three distinct personalities that complete a unified whole that is self existent, abounding in love towards each personality, Father, Son, Spirit, and reveal an infinite picture of the reality of absolute unity and sufficiency. Since God has revealed to us these personalities in His very nature, we see a God who loves, feels, emotes, cares, laughs, cries…the emotions that we have as created people exist as root DNA from God, and is ultimately visibly expressed in Jesus, so that we would know that God understands us on every level of our existence. But even though God experiences emotions, He, unlike us, is not controlled by them, but experiences them simply as they are.
Bilezikian also notes:
Since he is transcendent, he cannot transcend himself. In other words, God cannot grow, surpass himself, or change who he is. He is already the highest and the ultimate form of existence beyond which there can be no others.
Since there are no other gods, the words of the Ten Commandments (I Am the LORD your God…There shall be no other gods before me) ring in our hearts to point humanity to the One God that is transcendent yet wildly in love with His creation, you and me.
The handles that help us see the enormity and transcendence of God can be found in the "Omni" statements about God:
Omnipresence: God is everywhere.
Omnipotence: God is All-powerful.
Omniscience: God is All-knowing
I will break those down next month for you to meditate on. As for closing out transcendence, here are the thoughts that begin to form in my heart and my mind when I meditate on this quality of God:
The paradox of transcendence lies in the experience that as I grow closer to God, demolishing the structures that separate me from knowing and being known, the more I realize how utterly other, distinct and beyond my comprehension He really is.
The more I nestle snuggly and warmly into God’s anthropomorphic arms of mercy and grace, the more mysterious God becomes. As I experience the pure love and acceptance of God through Jesus, the more I see that no definition of theology or philosophy can contain the immenseness of God.
God is beyond His creation-separate from it by virtue of who He is in His holiness, compassion, and creativity. God is able to be found in His creation-but He is never ever bound by what He has created.
His love baffles the most brilliant of minds because He gives it freely, without conditions simply because He is good.
His grace confuses those who spend lifetimes trying to become on their own effort what only God can breathe into them, and their self effort becomes a wall of resistance to God’s favor. Then when all of our schemes, plans and programs don’t work, and we simply come…grace, beauty…God.
His justice is pure, untainted by a human need to justify which flows from our finite sense of right and wrong. But God alone knows the hearts of those that we often judge, and His response is always true.
His mercy stops traffic as it is given to people that our sensibilities and culture deem detestable, broken, non-producers, worthless or lost causes.
His beauty is so radical that the darkest of places and the most heinous events of pain can become soil for infinite amazement to blossom.
His perfect love within the Trinity is never disturbed or affected by whether or not we like, approve or believe in Him. No, within Trinity exists perfect love, perfect mutual submission. perfect unity that is self sustaining.
His compassion doesn’t end after a mission is accomplished. Compassion is the result of ultimate love and can never be sliced out of the nature of who God is. This compassion fills the heart of God in Jesus.
His vision isn’t limited to goals and dreams, but it sees all…knows all…understands all and works to bring about the reality of the love of His Son Jesus into the world.
His light will never diminish, go out, or fade away-In Christ the darkest places where we fear to go are illuminated in Divine Light through perfect love.
The absolute mind boggling reality of God’s transcendence is that even though He is actually larger than all the universes we have found to date (by the way that is GYNORMOUS) in His Divinity, that person of the trinity called the Logos, the Word, or Jesus, in sovereignty took all of the fullness of the God of the universe, the God who is transcendent, the God that cannot be contained… and infused it’s divine essence and life into Jesus for the sole purpose of restoring you to God, to flood you with the Christ-light, to feel, experience and sacrifice Himself for you so that you could live.
He did not have to…He chose to. There is no religion in the world that begins to even touch the hem of the True God who does not demand perfection or sacrifice from you…in a paradoxical twist, that which was perfect sacrificed Himself for you and offers His love and life blessings to you if you would simply believe. As you are right now, this moment, no matter what you have done or have been doing…you are accepted by God and loved in a radical way because Jesus brought the fullness of transcendent divinity into our reality and became the conduit to the invisible God.
As we gaze upon the face and revealed person of Jesus in the Bible, we finally see the God who is transcendent and seemed so elusive. And as you close your eyes and picture Jesus, the only word that can truly define Him is Love.