God Is Both Transcendent and Immanent… and This Is Good News!

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The following is adapted from TruthXchange‘s worldview evangelism course, titled “Only Two Religions?” To take this free course, visit the Blue Letter Bible Institute.

The Christian religion is the only one that truly believes in a God who is separate from and not dependent upon his creation and yet has an intimate relationship with it.

A Transcendent God

In Christianity, God and his creation, including humans, do not share the same essence or nature. God is of a completely different kind of existence from us, what is called transcendent. In fact, there are only two basic kinds of existence: God and everything else, all of which he created. Of course, humans are like God in some ways, but there are qualities that only God possesses. In what ways is God completely different from anything in his creation? Theologians call these characteristics God’s “incommunicable attributes.” That doesn’t mean he can’t communicate to us about them. It simply means that none of us can ever possess these attributes. READ MORE

Sibbes: “Only the Spirit can do it”

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God has the only key of the soul. We can shut our souls, but cannot open them again. So we can shut our hearts to divine truths. We can naturally do this. But to open them without the help of the Spirit we cannot do. He can open our understandings, as He did the disciples’.

He can open our hearts to believe. He can do, and He will do it. If we seek to Him, He will not put back the humble desires of them that fear Him. And therefore for the heavenly light and heavenly revelation, all the teaching of the men of the world cannot do it.

If we know no more than we have by books, and men that teach us, we shall never come to heaven. But we must have God teach the heart, as well as the brain. He must teach not only the truths themselves, as they be discovered, but the love of them, the faith of them, the practice of them.

And only He can do this, He only can teach the heart, He only can discover the bent of the heart, and Satan’s wiles that cast a cloud upon the understanding. Only the Spirit can do it.

And therefore, in all our endeavors, labor to get knowledge, and join holiness and divine grace, and pray to God that He would reveal the mystery of salvation to us.

—Richard Sibbes, in The Glorious Feast of the Gospel

Top 14 Posts of 2014

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Throughout 2014, the BLB blog hosted a number of articles, from BLB announcements to theological articles written by various contributors to quotes from some of our most downloaded resources. This week, we went back and reviewed the most-read … READ MORE