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The Attributes of God: Transcendence

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'”
(Isaiah 55:8-9)

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.'”
(Isaiah 57:15)

“Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?”
(Psalm 113:5-6)

“He said to them, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.'”
(John 8:23)

Transcendence refers to the fact that God is unlike any other being in our experience and so no analogy or comparison can come close to perfectly describing Him. There’s a practical effect of acknowledging God’s transcendence: humility!

His ways are so unlike our ways that we cannot predict Him, categorize Him, or comprehend Him with any sort of accuracy. All that we truly know of God comes solely through what He has chosen to reveal about Himself to us through His Word. As peculiar as this might seem at first blush, this is really a comfort to the Christian for if God were comparable to us, He would likely have the same problems rectifying the seeming chaos and injustice that is now so rampant on our earth; but thankfully, we know and trust that He will eventually make all things right and pay back every iniquity and reward all righteousness.

[This post is adapted from Blue Letter Bible’s Theological FAQs page.]