The Aseity of God – Part 2: Making it Personal
In Part 1, I gave a definition of aseity. Essentially, it means that God simply, and eternally, is. J.I. Packer puts it this way, “Our Maker exists in an eternal, self-sustaining, necessary way—necessary, that is, in the sense that he does not have it in him to go out of existence.”
Our first takeaway from that, if you will, is that God does not need me. I am not necessary to His existence in any way. He would still “be” even if I had never been born.
A.W. Tozer expresses it this way:
“Teach us, O God, that nothing is necessary to Thee. Were anything necessary to Thee that thing would be the measure of Thine imperfection: and how could we worship one who is imperfect? If nothing is necessary to Thee, then no one is necessary, and if no one, then not we. Thou dost seek us though Thou does not need us. We seek Thee because we need Thee, for in Thee we live and move and have our being. Amen.”
The same truth is expressed by the apostles in these two passages:
- Acts 17:24-25 – The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
- Romans 11:35-36 – Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
God did not create human beings because of some need. He wasn’t lonely; He didn’t need the companionship of humans; He didn’t and doesn’t lack anything that humans can supply to Him.
Matthew Barrett explains one disturbing trap we may fall into if we neglect this truth. Speaking of God’s role as Israel’s covenant Lord and Savior, he explains:
“But here’s the problem, and it’s a big one: Israel thinks that God needs her sacrifices and therefore she can use her sacrifices to bribe God! Notice how the Creator of the universe responds to his covenant people [Psa. 50:9-12; cf. 146:5-7]. The point is clear: the Creator needs nothing, for he owns everything.”
Are you guilty of the same thing? Do you give to charity, or perform some act of service with the thought in mind that God will reward you? NO! God cannot be bribed. And, in fact, Job’s “friend” Elihu had it right when he asked, “If you are righteous, what do you give to him? Or what does he receive from your hand?” (Job 37:5). And the answer, of course, is nothing. He needs nothing from you.
I can’t help but think of Romans 11 where Paul exclaims:
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
That’s a profound truth that we would do well to remember.
But there’s a flip side, a second takeaway that we should equally keep in mind, and that is that we desperately need God. For everything. This is expressed in Acts 17:28 where we are told, “In Him we live and move and have our being.”
- Deuteronomy 30:20 – “For the Lord is your life,…”
- Job 12:10 – “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
- 1 Corinthians 8:6 – “For us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ through whom all things came and through whom we live [exist].”
- Colossians 1:16-17 – “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Matthew Barrett says, “If we are to continue living, the God of the universe must sustain us. We are dependent on not only our earthly father but our heavenly Father too. Our nature, our very existence, is contingent in every way.”
At the website gotquestions.org, we read this encouraging statement:
“Because of the aseity of God, we can depend upon Him as the independent One who is able to deliver, protect, and keep those who trust in Him. Those whom God has purposed for salvation will come to Christ, and nothing can hinder them: “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37).”
While far, far more could be said about God’s aseity and the implications for us, perhaps we can summarize and conclude this article by quoting from the prophet Isaiah, who truly understood the implications of God’s aseity:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)
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- J.I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Tyndale House Publishers, Kindle Edition), p. 26. ↑
- A.W. Tozer, “The Self-sufficiency of God,” https://www.monergism.com/self-sufficiency-god. ↑
- Matthew Barrett, None Greater (Baker Publishing Group, Kindle Edition), p. 51, emphasis added. ↑
- Barrett, op. cit., p. 56. ↑
- Gotquestions.org/asciety-of-God.html ↑