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  • Shawn Thornton

Far Away & Nearby

Saturday - June 12th

Scripture to Read Today: Daniel 7:1-14


"Am I only a God nearby,"

declares the LORD,

"and not a God far away?

Who can hide in secret places

so that I cannot see them?"

declares the LORD.

"Do not I fill heaven and earth?"

declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:23-24

Throughout human history, various religions and even some forms of Christianity have painted a picture of God being an old, cosmic inventor/tinkerer. He created the universe, wound it up, and then released it into time and space - hoping everything worked out for His creative project. Over the millennia, this old tinkerer has only been able to stand back and watch His work of art spin out of control.

In this distant tinkerer image, God has been unable to intervene or help in any way because He stands outside of time and space. He is pictured as unable to correct His creative project's trajectory toward ultimate destruction.

The Bible does not give us an image of God, anything like the old, out of touch, and powerless tinkerer of the universe. God's Word conveys an image of a God who, on the one hand, transcends time and space and who exists totally apart from His creation. On the other hand, the Bible paints the picture of a God who is immanent. He is close to and intimately involved with all aspects of the universe He created.

God's immanence refers to the fact that He is present within the universe. (It should not be confused with imminence, which refers to the timetable of Jesus' return to the world.) God's immanence is the concept that God is present in all creation yet remains apart from it. To put it another way, there is no area where God is not present. His sovereign rule reaches every corner of the globe at the same time.

Many perceptions of God's relationship with His creation are distorted by pantheism and deism. Pantheists believe that everything is God or is a part of God, rendering Him equal to and powerless over His creation. Deists believe that God is separate from His creation and that He does not participate actively in it in any way. In contrast to these and other mistaken concepts of God, the Bible teaches that God is both distinct from and actively engaged with His creation.

God's qualities include transcendence (being outside of space and time) and immanence (being inside space and time). According to Jeremiah 23:23-24, he is both "nearby" and "far away." "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). That is God's transcendence. "In him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17). That is God's immanence.

Daniel 7:1-14 describes the first vision or dream God gave Daniel about things to come in the future. It involved four beasts that rise up out of the sea and a boastful prince or king symbolized by a horn on the final of the four beasts. The Ancient One, God, sits on His throne and then gives to the Son of Man (who comes riding on clouds) all authority to reign, rule, and judge humanity.

The description in these first fourteen verses of Daniel seven details how the Ancient One and the Son of Man transcend time and space. Yet, the way the vision comes to Daniel and how the Ancient One and the Son of Man engage with people speak to their immanence with humanity. Even the term “Son of Man” to describe God’s Son indicates a nearness to humanity. In the incarnation (God coming in human flesh), the Son of God was assigned the title “Immanuel” which means “God with us.” Talk about immanence – GOD WITH US!

As you walk with God today, remember that because of His transcendence, He will not be moved or overwhelmed by your circumstances in any way. You can go to Him for hope because He stands outside of your situation in life. He stands ready to empower you as you walk through difficulties today! Also, remember that because of His immanence, He gets what you are going through. He feels your pain and desires what is best for you through all of your circumstances. He will help you. He cares for and about you today!

In all of your experiences today, remember, God is both far away and nearby. You can look to Him for hope and help!


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