Isa 55:9 ESV – For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Here, we see that God begins to describe just exactly how He is not like us in thought or action. From the previous verse, it might seem that God is simply the negation of our thoughts and deeds. We want justice, He gives mercy. We sin, He is holy. This verse shows that God is not simply not like us, but He is so transcendent, that we cannot fathom Him.
In the book “Knowledge of the Holy” A. W. Tozer describes the attributes of God. The first chapter, and thus the first attribute that Tozer tackles, is that God is incomprehensible. The only reason that we are able to learn anything about the Almighty is that in His transcendence, He has decided to become immanent and make Himself known to us.
The jewel of God’s being has so many facets, it is too much for mere mortals to comprehend. That is what this verse is speaking of. When we look at the facet of justice, we see justice as it has been imprinted upon our hearts and say, “God must be like this.” The truth is not that God is like us, but that we are like Him. His justice is so beyond our concept of justice that it also encapsulates the concept of mercy. His sovereignty is so above us, that He is sovereign over our idea of sovereignty. Our fallible laws of logic fall short of the ability to explain the Omniscient One.
He also gives us an analogy for the “transcendent distance” between his ways and ours: the distance between the heavens and the earth. Does He mean merely the 36000 feet between sea level and cruising altitude? Perhaps 20 billion light years across our known universe? Or maybe the infinite division that exists between the Creation and its Creator.
However you interpret this transcendent distance, we ought to stand here in awe of the majesty of our God. Today, I will glorify God because He is so much greater than I could ever imagine. “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28a.