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Transcendence Descended

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Limiting God to the Immanent Sphere

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AbstractOur worldview, the basic assumptions of and for reality, strongly influences our perception of the Gospel. Thirty years ago Paul G. Hiebert wrote about the excluded middle, arguing that his “Western” assumptions of reality prevented him from grasping the spiritual world he faced as a missionary to India. This article, written thirty years later, argues that in parts of Europe there is, rather than an exclusion of the middle, an increasing tendency to exclude the top. That is to say, there is a greater opening for spiritual realities than we saw a few decades ago, but there is also an increased reluctance to accept spiritual absolutes. There is no authority on the top of the hierarchy. A parallel to a religiosity with an excluded top is seen in the immanentist religious culture found in Japan, where God is not easily seen as transcendent from the creation. The article makes use of worldview theory and insights from Japanese culture in its argument for “transcendence descended” – that God is increasingly limited to the immanent sphere.

Affiliations: 1: NLA University CollegeNorwaysvein.strand@nla.no

10.1163/15733831-12341308
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2014-02-26
2016-12-06

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