Just a few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with Eden.
Her biggest fear are bad guys.
She’s afraid that bad guys are going to get her.
I was trying to reassure her that I was there to protect her.
That mommy was there to protect her.
And that God was going to protect her.
And the conversation about God being stronger than mommy, daddy, and the bad guys the strongest came up.
And shortly after that, she asked a question that has been in the hearts and minds of everyone when they start to think about God.
And that question is “Where did God come from?”
This question of where did God come from is asked by 4-year olds, 14 year olds, 44 year olds, 94 year olds, and so on.
In fact, one of the questions that some Atheist have when it comes to God is where did he come from.
And it’s a decent question especially from our starting point.
For each one of us, everything that we know and observe has a starting point.
Your life had a starting point.
The moment you were conceived your life began.
Your marriage had a starting point.
The day you said “I do”
Your day has a starting point, when you wake up in the morning.
Even the universe had a starting point.
If you ask scientist it was the big bang.
If you ask Christians it was when God spoke the universe into existence.
From the very minute to the very grand, Everything that we know and interact with has a starting point.
So it’s natural that we would want to believe that God had a starting point.
To our minds if something exists then it must of began.
However, God as revealed in his Word doesn’t have a starting point.
He has always existed.
He is the uncreated creator.
The Attribute of God we are going to talk about this morning is going to focus on God’s Self-Existence.
And of course as theologians do, there is a word that sums up God’s self-existence and it is Aseity.
Aseity comes from two Latin words “a” and “se”
This means “from self, to have being or existence within oneself.
God is who he is.
He is unilaterally distinct from everything else that we can touch, smell, taste, think and imagine.
That’s all well and good, but where in the bible to we get to understand God’s Aseity or self-existence?
What Scriptures support this understanding of who God is?
We can start with
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Before everything else began to exist God already Existed.
God’s role of Creator and originator of the universe around us means that he is specifically outside the bounds of this universe.
God was already present in the beginning.
And really this is crucial for our understanding of God.
Our God is completely other than we are.
He isn’t just a little bigger, stronger, more intelligent, more gracious, more of anything.
He is fundamentally and entirely self-existent.
He is self-sufficient.
The attribute we are going to study this morning is
“the attribute that most uniquely distinguishes Him as God”
All that God spoke into existence flows from him as the source of life.
The source of all creation.
He is the originator and architect of all of creation.
He is without beginning.
And without end.
2 Your throne has been established from the beginning; you are from eternity.
God is eternal.
He has always existed.
There was never a time or instant when God was not.
He has no origin, no beginning, no end.
This reality and teaching about God’s self-existence is grounded even in the name that he carries.
The name that he revealed to Moses in the Desert.
13 Then Moses asked God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what should I tell them?” 14 God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.
The name of God YHWY, comes from the Hebrew verb “to be”
Referring to his own being.
When Moses asks God what his name is.
What his very nature is, God says to him “I am Who I Am”
“I AM,” of course, means “I AM the self-existent One.”
God is declaring with “I Am that I am” that he exists. Not that he will exist, or that he did exist, but that He Does Exist.
This name for God, “I AM” declared that Hes is the sole self-existent one. He is entirely dependent on Himself for his own being. As God, He alone sustains Himself, yet nothing upholds him.
His very being is grounded in himself alone.
God is not dependent or contingent upon anything.
This can be a little much for our minds to wrap around.
But if we want to boil it down to its essence, God is b/c He is.
He is the essence of being.
Dependent on nothing and no one.
He is life itself.
Think about it this way.
One of America’s favorite holidays is the 4th of July.
And what we do celebrate on the 4th?
We declared that we are no longer dependent on Europe to exist.
We became self-sufficient.
We became independent.
We love independence.
But we aren’t truly independent.
Even as a country we are dependent on someone or something.
The Economic System of our world is interdependent on goods and services from each other country.
I have this conversation with my kids, and I’m sure you have too.
They want their independence.
They want to make their own decisions.
They want to have freedom.
However, any independence they have is contingent on me allowing them that independence.
They are still my dependent.
They don’t have complete independence
Even as individuals we aren’t independent.
Our very existence is conditional.
Our existence is conditioned upon the breath we breath.
The quality of the air.
The food we eat.
Grass, trees, and other plants need the sun, water, and soil to live.
Animals need plants and other animals to survive.
All of creation is finite and dependent.
All of creation had a starting point.
But God is completely independent.
Having no beginning and no end.
He is the source of all being.
The originator of all creation.
He doesn’t long for independence.
He is freely b/c of his nature independent of all thing.
Listen to what Paul says in
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
Everything that has ever existed.
All of creation exists for one purpose.
That purpose is b/c it pleased the Lord.
That in some way God decided that it would bring him glory.
The Attributes of God (LECTURE OUTLINE)
That all things are “from” God expresses that He is the source of all things.
That all things are “through” God expresses that He is the means of all things.
That all things are “to” God expresses that He is the goal of all things.
And this is why it’s difficult for us to think about a God that isn’t dependent on anyone or anything.
A God that didn’t have a starting point.
A God that is self-existing.
Theologian A.W. Pink put it this way, “[God] is solitary in his majesty, unique in his excellency, peerless in his perfections. He sustains all, but is himself independent of all. He gives to all, but is enriched by none.”
Here’s something about God’s Aseity that we don’t usually think about.
If God is perfection.
And He is Self-Existing
Then he was perfect in his self-existence before anything was created.
Meaning that he lacked nothing.
He is self-complete.
No missing pieces.
Why is this attribute so important for us to at least somewhat comprehend?
It helps to put God in perspective.
Too many of us think too highly of ourselves.
This is true of you, your neighbors, friends, and family members.
I truly believe that if we believed or even simply thought about this single attribute of God, the way we live our lives would completely change.
The way we worship.
The way we work.
The way we spend our time, money, and energy.
The way that we study and spend time with him.
The way we treat others.
All of our lives would be radically reoriented if we understood the Aseity of God.
Again if we are honest we have a hard time viewing God how he actually is.
And part of the reason that is, is b/c we neglect taking the time to spend learning about him.
B/c we don’t see that it is important for our existence.
Yet God's self-existence should make us stand back in wonder.
He created us.
Not b/c he was bored.
Not b/c he was lonely.
Not b/c he needed something.
He created us so that we could enjoy him.
And what we do is spit in his face.
We decided that rather than worship and thank him for who he is and what he's done, we deserve more.
We deserve more freedom.
More of everything and anything
And Many believers walk around like God is lucky to have us on his team.
Like he would be struggling if we weren't there.
He needs me to do this.
He needs me to do that.
God needs me.
And to be honest, Ministers, pastors, preachers, leaders, teachers, can be some of the worst when it comes to this.
God doesn't need anything.
He is supremely self-existing.
That is why cultural Christianity is running rampant, b/c we as a people don’t take God seriously.
We only want the blessings of God without the Lordship.
We want to go to heaven without giving our life to God.
We want from God, but we don’t truly want God.
And the harsh reality is we can treat God this way b/c whether we want to admit it or not, we believe that God needs us.
We believe that it’s better for him if we worship him.
We believe that he is blessed for having us on his team.
And even though you may never say that or think that you live we live our lives as though practically it’s true.
When we treat God as an accessory or add on to our life we demonstrate that God isn’t necessary for our existence.
When, as a professing believer in Jesus, God is an after thought to you rather than the central thought you believe that he is dependent on you.
This is exactly what we see happen in the Old Testament with Israel.
They believed that God needed their sacrifices.
They believed that God needed them as a people.
They believed that b/c God needed them then they could bribe and coerce God to do their bidding.
So God responds to them in
9 I will not take a bull from your household or male goats from your pens, 10 for every animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird of the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and everything in it is mine.
And you may not see the parallel here, but if you look at the American church at large, they believe the same thing as Israel.
Their wealth, influence, stature, and Theological positioning is essential for God’s purpose and mission.
This is why huge swaths of American Churches are manipulating and changing what the Scriptures teach b/c they think that God needs their help.
That they need to make God more palatable for the people.
God needs their help to get his message across.
Yet if it so pleased God he could have existed in all eternity without his creation.
Or he could have existed for all eternity after speaking his creation into existence and never revealing himself to us
The reason that God revealed himself to us through his Word is b/c it pleased him to do so.
And in his revelation we can now know him.
However, the God that most American’s Worship is too small.
He is dependent on them
This God that is worshipped in many churches is weak, dependent, and waiting to be served by the people.
He is treated as a genie ready to grant their wishes.
He is on pins and needles ready for them to raise their hands being overwhelmed emotionally by the music playing.
He is swayed and convinced to change his mind based on their actions.
The god they worship is no better than the pagan gods worshipped by other religions.
Can you see how disrespectful that is to the Self-sufficient, Self-Existing, Independent, and perfect Creator of our universe.
To minimize how quantitatively and qualitatively different God is from us is like spitting in his face.
It’s no better than carving an idol and praying to it.
It’s no different than worshipping just a slightly better version of yourself.
Having a wrong view of God is a gospel issue.
B/c when we have a wrong understanding of God then we will undoubtedly worship an Idol.
And Idolatry is all around us.
In fact Paul addresses this subject in Acts 17.
Paul is in Athens and he is addressing the people there about their worship of their Gods.
And he is pointing them to Jesus.
This interaction could be had in some churches today.
Let’s read what happens.
22 Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said, “People of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect. 23 For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it—he is Lord of heaven and earth—does not live in shrines made by hands. 25 Neither is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives everyone life and breath and all things.
28 For in him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’
These Athenians weren’t much different than some of the non-believers walking around today.
They worshipped Idols.
Corrie and I have been watching this show for the past several weeks.
It’s called “Alone.” It’s a game show of sorts.
The premise of the show is that 10 contestants are dropped into different secluded parts in the wilderness.
And they have to survive.
Whoever lasts the longest wins $500,000.
It’s a pretty good show, but one of the things that sticks out to us is the idolatry on this show.
Remember these men and women are out there alone, video taping their interactions with nature.
They thank the land, the trees, the food they kill
things like “thank you squirrel for giving your life so that I can eat.”
They see a god in the nature around them.
And this god that they worship is imprisoned in the creation around them.
They are worshipping the creation rather than the creator.
An improper view of the creation causes people to worship wrongly.
14 He cuts down cedars for his use, or he takes a cypress or an oak. He lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a laurel, and the rain makes it grow. 15 A person can use it for fuel. He takes some of it and warms himself; also he kindles a fire and bakes bread; he even makes it into a god and worships it; he makes an idol from it and bows down to it. 16 He burns half of it in a fire, and he roasts meat on that half. He eats the roast and is satisfied. He warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm, I see the blaze.” 17 He makes a god or his idol with the rest of it. He bows down to it and worships; he prays to it, “Save me, for you are my god.”
That which is dependent and contingent on the Lord is worshipped in place of the independent and self-sufficient creator of the Universe.
Could you imagine worshipping or giving thanks to a tree, squirrel or a fish?
It’s ridiculous, but when you don’t know or recognize who God is it is inevitable.
This is one of the reasons it is imperative that we proclaim the gospel message.
That we go out and tell people about Jesus.
About the God who Saves.
The human heart is designed by God to worship.
And if we don’t worship God rightly we will worship someone or something in His place.
So how do we worship God rightly?
We have to get out of our own way.
We have to stop making God in our own image and worship him for who he is.
The God revealed in the scriptures is not bound by or connected to the things of this world.
The things he created.
He is independent.
This is crucial for our proper worship of God.
If you want to worship God rightly you have to know that he doesn’t need you or need anything that you can offer.
Look at me.
There is nothing that you can offer God that he doesn’t already own.
He doesn’t need your worship.
He doesn’t need your money.
He doesn’t need your obedience.
He doesn’t need your time.
He doesn’t need your energy.
He doesn’t need your power.
He doesn’t need your intellect.
He doesn’t need your devotion.
He doesn’t need your anything.
He doesn’t lack anything.
There is nothing that you can give back to God that isn’t already his.
All things exist b/c of him. And they continue to exist through him.
He doesn’t need us, but we are wholly reliant on him.
We are completely dependent on him.
And if we are honest this is even a more beautiful picture of the gospel.
If God didn’t lack anything.
If he was completely self-sufficient.
Then the fact that he would come to us.
That he would reveal himself to us
That he would love us.
That he would live with us.
That he would die on the cross for us.
And that he would dwell within us
Paints a beautiful picture of his character.
And it should keep us humble.
In this humble state, we must also recognize the reasons that God does what he does.
So why does God in his Aseity, in his self-sufficient, self-existence do what he does?
11 I will act for my own sake, indeed, my own, for how can I be defiled? I will not give my glory to another.
God’s purpose and goal in all that he does is for his name’s sake.
For his Glory.
God always pursues relentlessly his glory.
This might seem selfish and crazy to you, but you’re not God.
You are independent, self-existent, self-sufficient.
You aren’t holy, perfect, and Sovereign.
You aren’t the creator of the universe.
The life giver.
The life sustainer.
The beginning and the end.
You are a created and finite being who has only experienced this life from your limited perspective.
Now though God seeking his own glory may seem selfish to you.
May seem disordered to you.
Need I remind you that there is no selfishness in him.
There is no stain of sin.
The fact that God purposes after his own glory means that he is always doing everything for the ultimate good.
Remember what Paul says in
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
And let’s not forget that God’s aim of glory It included the Sacrifice of Jesus.
God’s Glory includes saving sinners.
God’s Glory includes redemption.
God’s Glory includes restoration.
God’s Glory includes a new heaven and a new Earth.
God’s Glory includes inviting his children to exist with him for all eternity.
God’s Glory is anything but selfish.
Now God’s glory may not align with our desires.
It may not be fulfilled in what we want.
But it will always be what is for our good and His Glory.
As followers of Jesus, this means that we should be as concerned with God’s Glory as he is.
We should be living a life that honors him.
That points others to him.
That pursues the restoration that he is moving toward.
It means that we live a life of worship offering our lives as living sacrifices to God.
It means obeying his commands and living according to the guidelines of Scripture.
It means serving one another and imitating Jesus
It means Sharing the Gospel so that people come to know this amazing king we serve.
It means trusting in him.
Resting in his Sovereignty regardless of our situations.
Knowing that as followers of Jesus any trial that we go through is going to lead to God being glorified.
It means growing to know him more.
Seeking his kingdom first.
and knowing that if we aren’t pursuing and chasing after his glory then we are living in sin and rebellion against him.
So in conclusion,
God’s Aseity is important for us to understand b/c it reveals to us how totally dependent we are on him.
and in that dependence we should be humbled that our lives are not our own.
that we exist to glorify him. and that at any moment we could cease to exist.