Is God immanent? What is significance of the immanence of God?
If something is immanent, its dictionary definition is "existing or operating within; inherent." The immanence of God refers to God's relationship to the world – that He actively operates within it, sustains it as its effective cause, and is continually present (i.e. omnipresent). Hebrews 1:3 says that God, through Jesus Christ, is "sustaining all things by his powerful word" (NIV).
Immanence is the balancing concept to God's transcendence, which describes God as being of a completely different kind or substance from and completely independent of the universe He created. These two concepts are able to coexist by differentiating between transcendence as an attribute of God – something that He inherently exists as – and immanence as a situation in which He has chosen to place Himself with the world – not something inherent to His being. While God is far above and "transcendent" of this world, He has also chosen to place Himself in direct connection with it as its creator, sustainer, and savior.
A distinction must be made between God's immanence and Jesus' imminence. Jesus' imminence refers to His ability to return at any time, with no further preparations or warning.
Is the concept of immanence equitable with pantheism or similar beliefs such as New Age or a Star Wars-esque understanding of "the force"? Initially, it can sound rather pantheistic, and is sometimes applied to that viewpoint, but there is a distinct difference. Pantheism claims that God is an impersonal power or force which not only inhabits or sustains everything, but ultimately is everything. This is where God's transcendence becomes important to keep in mind. While God does indeed sustain everything, He is by no means actually everything, nor is everything somehow a piece of God. That He is omnipresent does not mean that God is all matter.
God's immanence is a beautiful picture of God's relationship with this world, in which He does indeed care about even the smallest concerns. "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God" (Luke 12:6).
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