Original Research

The immanence and transcendence of God in Adamic incarnational Christology: An African ethical reflection for the public

Vhumani Magezi, Christopher Magezi
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 37, No 1 | a1541 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v37i1.1541 | © 2016 Vhumani Magezi, Christopher Magezi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 October 2015 | Published: 25 August 2016

About the author(s)

Vhumani Magezi, School of Basic Sciences, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa
Christopher Magezi, School of Basic Sciences, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

This article argues that the transcendence and immanence of God amplified in Christ should influence African believers’ private and public ethics. It accomplishes this by engaging transcendence and immanence of God in the traditional African worldview. The African traditional worldview in many respects believes the transcendent God whose immanence is mediated by lesser spiritual intermediary powers. In responding to this view of God’s transcendence and immanence, we discuss the amplified transcendence and immanence of God in the Adamic incarnational Christological model. This model argues that in the incarnation, God’s transcendence and immanence is amplified by his assumption of our human mode of existence as the New Adam for our redemption. That is, even though God has always been transcendent and present within his creation before the incarnation, his immanence within humanity is amplified by God becoming man in and through Jesus Christ as the New Adam. The ascension of Jesus Christ does not diminish God’s presence within Christians. God continues to have his personal presence within believers through the dynamic presence of the Holy Spirit among them. The transcendence and immanence of God (amplified in Christ) therefore is brought to bear in the private and public ethics of Christians. In contrast to the limited immanence of human beings, God’s immanence is infinite. That is, there is nothing human beings can do which is outside of God’s reach and knowledge. It is from this perspective that African Christians are encouraged to live lives conscious of the infinite-immanent God, who sees both their private and public lives. The private and public life of believers should resemble God’s character and behaviour demonstrated by Jesus Christ, God incarnate, in his earthly ministry. Thus, the transcendence and immanence of God amplified in Christ influences African believers to live as the true ambassadors of Christ who exhibit exemplary ethical behaviour within the public sphere. The article reflects on the role of theological ethics in informing public ethics. As such it is theologically intradisciplinary but focusing on intertheological disciplines and their relationship to public space regarding ethics. It seeks to engage and influence public ethical behaviour in a context corruption and disregard of other human beings’ entitlements.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article challenges the privatisation of Christianity to take a public role in order to influence the public. This approach contributes to shifting African Christians from being passive in the context of unethical behaviours to being active agents who influence the public. As such, it contributes to public, practical theology and public ethics.


Keywords

Africa public ethics; Adamic Christology in Africa; immanence and transcendence of God in Africa; Africa ethical reflection

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Crossref Citations

1. Christ also ours in Africa: A consideration of Torrance's incarnational, Christological model as nexus for Christ's identification with African Christians
Vhumani Magezi, Christopher Magezi
Verbum et Ecclesia  vol: 38  issue: 1  year: 2017  
doi: 10.4102/ve.v38i1.1679