Pilgrim’s Keyboard

November 3, 2014

Attributes of God – Self Existence

Filed under: Providence BC — pilgrimskeyboard @ 5:21 pm
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The Self-Existence / Aseity / Independence

 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1).

The Bible begins with the premise | God existed before anything else. He is from everlasting to everlasting. He is the first cause. Romans 11:33-36!

The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689

The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection, whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit … [1 Cor. 8:4, 6, Deut. 6:4; Jer. 10:10, Isa. 48:14; Exod. 3:14; John 4;24]. [Peter Master, 11]

Wayne Grudem

Independence

God’s independence is defined as follows: God does not need us or the rest of creation for anything, yet we and the rest of creation can glorify him and bring him joy. This attribute of God is sometimes called self-existence or Aseity (from the Latin words a se, which means “from himself”).

Scripture in several places teaches that God does not need any part of creation in order to exist or for any other reason. God is absolutely independent and self-sufficient. Paul proclaims to the men of Athens, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24-25). The implication is that God does not need anything from mankind. [Grudem, 160-161]

Milburn Cockrell

The Independency of God 

“And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM; and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM has sent me unto you” (Ex. 3:14).

The title of God used in this passage is of profound importance to our subject. There is in the name “I AM” a height, a depth, a length, and a breath which truly pass beyond the utmost stretch of human conception. This name contains each tense of the verb “to be,” and it might be translated I was, I am, and I shall always continue to be. The words express unchanging and eternal being. In the text they simply declare God to be self-existent, self-sufficient, and all-sufficient being.

The word “independent” means “Not dependent; not subject to control by others; self-governing and sovereign; not contingent or conditioned.” Strictly speaking, God is the only person to who this definition can be applied. In all the universe God is the only independent being. All creation depends on the Creator, the Creator depends on neither creature nor thing. [cf. Job 41:11 | Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine.] …

The God of the Bible is self-existence. He has in Himself the ground of His existence. It is His very nature to be. Man is dependent on something outside of himself for his existence, while God’s existence is underived and absolute. He is independent in His being and everything else. Everything in the universe depends on Him for its existence; He is dependent on none. [Cockrell, 86-87]

T.P. Simmons

God’s being is underived. He is a self-caused existence. His existence is independent of everything else. The self-existence of God in implied in the name “Jehovah,” [YHWH (Yahweh)] which means “the existing one,” and also in the expression “I am that I am” (Ex. 3:14), which signifies that it is God’s nature to be. [Simmons, 64]

Summation

A.W. Pink

“In the beginning, God” (Gen. 1:1). There was a time, if “time” it should be called, when God, in the unity of His nature (though subsisting equally in three Divine Persons), dwelt all alone. … There was no heaven, where His glory is now particularly manifested. There was no earth to engage His attention. There were no angels to hymn His praises; no universe to be upheld by the word of His power. There was nothing, no one, but God; and that, not for a day, a year, or an age, but “from everlasting.” During a past eternity, God was alone: self-contained, self-sufficient, self-satisfied; in need of nothing. Had a universe, had angels, had human beings been necessary to Him in any way, they also had been called into existence from all eternity. The creating of them when He did, added nothing to God essentially. He changes not (Mal. 3:6), therefore His essential glory can be neither augmented nor diminished.

God is under no constraint, no obligation, no necessity to create. That He chose to do so was purely a sovereign act on His part, caused by nothing outside Himself, determined by nothing but His own mere good pleasure; for He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11). [Pink, 9-10]

Closing Thot

God is Self-Existent & Independent

“God is from everlasting to everlasting” | 1 Chronicles 16:36; Psalm 103:17.

He is “the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End … who is and who was and who is to come … | Revelation 1:8.

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist | Colossians 1:16-17.

“In the beginning God …” | Genesis 1:1.

 

 References –

                                    

Cockrell, Milburn. 2009. The Attributes of God. Mantachie, MS: Berea Baptist Church.

Grudem, Wayne. 1994. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Masters, Peter. 2008. The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689. London: The Wakeman Trust, Ashland, OH: BookMasters Publishers.

Pink, Arthur W. [A.W.]. 1975. The Attributes of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.

Simmons, Thomas Paul [T.P.]. 1969. A Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine. Daytona Beach, FL: Associated Publisher.

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