Transcendence: noun, meaning “existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level”.
While that is a solid, matter-of-fact definition, it falls short in portraying the true fullness of God’s overarching reign. A more encompassing answer sits in the book of Isaiah:
“For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27 NIV)
The idea of transcendence – and, more distinctively, His place enthroned above – is a consistent theme throughout the Bible. A super cool and vivid image of His power is put on display in John 8:23, which says:
“…You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” (NIV)
Thinking about that and trying to visualize the size of something that’s too large to be compared to literally any physical thing, is absolutely mind-boggling. A modern parallel to the idea of God being above us (a metaphor commonly used in the Bible) is the infinite concept of space. It’s entirely unknowable. A prominent example is a discovered star, VY Canis Majoris, being roughly 155,500 times the size of Earth!
The thing is, if God was only powerful and all-knowing but too far separated for us to have a personal relationship with Him, the entire basis of Christianity would be a farce. Thankfully, another word swoops in to save the day.
Immanence: noun, meaning “remaining within; dwelling; inherent”.
If God can be both in control of all and yet be open to anyone who’s willing to put their faith in Him, it’s the best of both worlds. It’s great! What is probably my favorite example of this quality is found in Matthew 28:20, right before Jesus ascends into Heaven. The second half of the verse says:
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
The fundamental difference between the God of the Bible and the understood gods of other religions (e.g. Allah of the Islamic religion) is the fact that while both see and know all, only One is open to all those who pursue a personal relationship with Him.
The absolute pinnacle of coolness arrives when you realize that while you can pursue a relationship with Him, it’s a different kind. You’re in a relationship with the God of the universe. The fact that we can all personally know our Creator is crazy, but that’s what makes it so real.