Travis Agnew’s book Wiki God: The Dangerous Editable Deity is extremely helpful to our recent study of God’s attributes. This week we learn about “the video screen God.”
Many of us are accustomed to what is called “screen time.” We spend hours on our “screens” (phones, iPads, kindle, etc.) either searching, following people, scrolling through pictures, and the list goes on and on. The convenience of “looking things up” are right at our fingertips. Travis Agnew writes, “From the comfortable safety of our devices and the detached nature of their mediums, we have grown accustomed to receiving information without experiencing connection.” Both psychologists and sociologists warn that so much screen time has contributed to people being “less connected” and in need of deep relationships. In fact, meaningful relationships can suffer because people spend so much time on their screens and devices.
Travis Agnew rightly asserts that our culture has become more and more reliable on viewing teachers, leaders, doctors, and even preachers on a video screen. Additionally, many of us are heavily influenced by those we watch and listen to on our devices. Viewing others on a screen is not necessarily bad. If believers, however, are not theologically careful, a person might view God as “unapproachable” or far away. Agnew says, “While we can see the leader, we have this understanding that the leader can’t see us. Even if the speaker had some type of video feed enabling him to watch us, we are guaranteed to be another number lost among the masses…we accept that there is a limited chance to ever become acquainted with the one who inspires us so definitively.” Some know that they could never take their worries or concerns to their “online mentor” or influencer.
Our relationship with God should not be like this. “With the vast number of needs and the immense responsibilities that God has, we tend to think that he is too busy and we are too insignificant to gain an audience with him.” (Agnew) Some believers may feel that God is unapproachable, or so busy that they simply cannot seem to get His attention. Biblically, this is not so.
With the vast number of needs and the immense responsibilities that God has, we tend to think that he is too busy and we are too insignificant to gain an audience with Him (Travis Agnew)
One of the greatest attributes of God is His immanence. “The immanence of God means that he is intimately near to us.” (Agnew) God is all-knowing and all-powerful, yet, He is close to us. He cares for us deeply and shows it in his actions and attributes. Psalm 8:3-4 states, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”
God’s presence with His people are evident throughout Scripture. For example, Genesis 7:16 explains God’s presence during the flood. “As the great flood commences upon Noah, God is the one who shuts the door to the ark.” (Agnew) Another Old Testament example of God’s immanence is during Israel’s exodus. God promised Moses that he would be with him as he demanded Pharaoh let God’s people leave Egypt. “The hope of the exodus was not in Moses’ potential abilities but in God’s promised presence.” (Agnew) God is not distant but is near.
In like fashion, the New Testament is full of examples of God’s immanence. “God literally comes in the flesh in the opening pages of the New Testament. The presence of Jesus takes God’s immanence to another level.” (Agnew) The gospel of John says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) God promises His presence with His people. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Throughout the Bible God’s immanence is a recurring theme. “God’s presence is the most consistent force in the Scriptures and the most needed reality in our lives…the greatest promise of God is the presence of God.” (Agnew)
Never get over the fact that the most glorious being in the entire universe desires to be near to you (Travis Agnew)
In conclusion, Travis Agnew further explains that “God is near. The nearness of God is your good. We should never grow accustomed to the fact that God Almighty desires to draw near to sinners like us…Never get over the fact that the most glorious being in the entire universe desires to be near to you. You are not alone even at this moment. Glory is standing by, and he is near. God Almighty has drawn near not because anyone has forced him, but because he desires to come close.”