Ontological transcendence is the idea (quite rare among Pagans) that the divine (a single deity or gods and goddesses) is outside Nature, that spirit and matter are separate realms. Often found in dualist traditions.


Epistemological transcendence is the idea that we can participate in collective forms of knowing, such as the collective unconscious, group mind phenomena, and shared consciousness with a deity.  This idea is quite common among Pagans.


A position halfway between transcendence and immanence is Panentheism.


Instead of thinking of God as some additional entity or fact in (or about) the world, we need to receive God as the unfolding mystery of love who can, as the Eastern Orthodox say, only be spoken about indirectly – in adoration (liturgy and sacrament), testimony, story and human service.


God, the Orthodox theologians remind us, is not available as ‘essence’, but only as ‘energy’, the resonance of a disarming and un-bargainable love within the frailty of human story and experience. Scottish theologian Ruth Page has framed this more technically in terms of ‘potentiality’ as the expression of God’s relation to the world’s - and our - freedom.


from Turning God into a disaster area by Simon Barrow


Further reading