Evangelical Theology Terms Assertion Grenz Essay

Pages: 4 (1469 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

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[. . .] In their opinion, "Christian theology has always sought a balance between the twin biblical truths of the divine transcendence and the divine immanence." (Grenz and Olson, 1992, p. 11) This can only be understandable since the two appear to exclude each other. While transcendence claims that God is above this world and beyond it, immanence inaugurates the idea that He is nevertheless present within the physical world and "involved with the processes of the world and of human history." (Grenz and Olson, 1992, p. 11) What we must understand is that however contradictious transcendence and immanence may appear at times, the two indeed are to refer to God's relationship with man outside of this world and within it. That is to say, as the creator, God has the ability to distance himself from the world while also enforcing his power so that he is not dependent of it as human beings are.

What Grenz and Olson have attempted is to reduce theology to these two basic Christian truths of transcendence and immanence. The concern in regards to the two topics was whether or not interpretations can respond accurate enough as to not favour one concept over the other which, ultimately, would have served the purposes of one given culture in another's detriment. In this respect, Grenz specifically stated that God is not to be identified with this world, although he is a part of it. He saw God as the "reality who is present and active within the world process. Yet he is not simply to be equated with it, for he is at the same time self-sufficient and "beyond" the universe." (Grenz, 1994, p. 81) By this, we understand that human beings, by nature, have a finite knowledge and this knowledge is most often acquired through senses, rarely does revelational insight pose any influence. God, however, is of infinite character and is not subject of any space-time concepts. What is more, God is unique through his transcendence and, in this respect, he is also holy because he is unlike everything else, there is nothing to compare him with.

Grenz and Olson, like many of their contemporaries, reflect on transcendence and immanence as the imperious aspects that theology needs to address because these are the two issues that relate everything in the creation to God. The same, religious truths can be observed differently by approaching them within the concepts of transcendence and immanence. If God has created the world according to a plan, then he is to observe all the events within his creation and, as such, he leaves on to man the mission to help in the materialization of the plan. Thus, a mutual relationship of cooperation exists, it is only up to human beings to act according to the divine plan, in Grenz's understanding. And, by bringing the focus of how transcendence and immanence relate to one another at the present moment, the author seeks to explain that God is within each man's understanding so long as he acknowledges God's presence.

Because God is infinite and man is finite, there was often a concern that man can never really get to know and understand his creator. Indeed, the Bible admits that the human mind cannot comprehend God (Job 11:7, Isaiah 40:18), while also admitting God's cognoscibility is possible (John 14:7, 17:3). Both of these affirmations stand true although not in the absolute sense, as Grenz and Olson have observed. In this sense, immanence and transcendence refer to God's relationship with the world he has created, something we can agree with. The two argue that these two related concepts emphasize God's statutory in regards to the Universe, that is to say, the extend in which he is present and active in the Universe (immanence) as opposed to his absence and distance from it (transcendence). The two authors believe that, in order to keep the two concepts in balance, they must be treated as dependent of one another because overemphasis on either of the two may cause one to lose the idea of a personal God (immanence) or the other to lose the concept of an active God (transcendence).

Reference List

Grenz, S.J. & Olson, R.E. (1992). 20th-Century Theology: God and the World in a Transitional Age. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press

Grenz, S.J. (1994). Theology for the Community of God. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans

Viola, F. (2012, November 30). [Interview with Roger Olson].… [END OF PREVIEW]

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