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Psalm 24: The Aseity of God
Not many have heard of the term, ‘the aseity of God’ but it is so important for Christians to know. All the other attributes of God link together in His character that is described as aseity. Aseity is where all of God’s attributes are one.
Aseity comes from the Latin ‘a’ which means ‘from’ and ‘se’ which means ‘self.’ So ‘aseity’ means ‘from self.’ Aseity is the property of a being that can only exist in and of itself – a being that has no dependence, just is and always has been.
Who hear has heard the term ‘science has disproved God?’ That is actually rubbish. The natural sciences actually prove the aseity of God. The natural sciences prove that the aseity of God cannot exist within creation.
In this natural material system that we live in, every cause must have an effect. Everything is inter-related, reliant, and dependent on everything else. We live today because of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. We are dependent on these other things. All the scientific evidence suggests there is something that exists outside, or independent of this closed, natural material system we live in – something that is and always has been. This is because we know that the material universe, that works from cause and effect, cause and effect, could not have caused itself to be. Nowhere in science has it ever been proven that nothing can create something. To be able to exist, the universe itself must have had a first cause, an ultimate first cause that exists in and of itself, outside of this closed material system.
In 1925 Edwin Hubble discovered that the material universe has expanded. That proves that everything came from a singular point, known as the singularity. So, what was outside of the singularity that caused the singularity to be? It has to be something that exists in and of itself. It has to be something that has no cause, just is and always was. So, Hubble proved it.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that the universe is winding down, that energy is dissipating. So there had to be something that existed before the universe that wound it up. What could have wound it up? Well, it had to be something that can exist outside of this system that can exist in and of itself, that has no cause – just is and always has been. It’s a thermodynamics boost.
Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity proves that time, space and matter are co-related; one cannot exist without the other. If you have matter and no time, when would you put the matter? And if you had no space, where would you put it? You need all three. They must all coexist and must come to a single external point of dependence, which again has to be something which exists outside of this system, that can exist in and of itself, that has no cause, just is and always has been.
So, a first cause that is outside of time has to be eternal. A first cause outside of space has to be omnipresent. A first cause that is powerful enough to create everything has to be omnipotent. A first cause that can exist in and of itself, outside of the universe, outside of the time, space and matter that it created, who is not reliant on anyone or anything else, just simply is. Let me introduce you to the God of the Bible.
The Bible is the only worldview that stands for the scientific rigour of creation. Isn’t it wonderful, as Christians, we can refer to this first cause not as a something, not as an it, but as someone, a real person, who in Christ Jesus, we can call out, ‘Abba, Father.’ Isn’t that amazing!
Aseity is an attribute of God that encompasses all of His actions. That means God exists in and of Himself. He is eternal life. He is eternal goodness. He is eternal love. He is totally content, totally fulfilled, totally happy in every way, in and of Himself. He is the great ‘I am.’
To understand how this is possible, we need to consider for a moment God’s being. God is a very different type of being than anything we know or comprehend. Firstly, He is totally holy, which essentially means separate. He is separate from creation, and He is totally self-sustaining.
He is one in being, but three persons: Father, Son and Holy Ghost – the Trinity. How is this? A being is what you are, a person is who you are. What I am is a human being. Who I am is John Funnell. I have an earthly hero, a gentleman called Dietrich Bonhoeffer – the first Christian, an evangelical Christian, to stand up to Hitler. I look up to him, what he suffered for the truth, how he made a stand against the evil of fascism. Hitler hated him and personally signed his death warrant two weeks before the end of the war. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a much better person than me in every way; he was far more intelligent, he was far stronger, far more steadfast, far more influential than I would ever be. As a person I look up to Him. He was better than me in every way imaginable. No matter how much better a person he is than me, he could never be more human than me; we are both equally human beings.
In the same way, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost are equal in being but different in person. They have different roles. The Father is greater in roles than the Son, but no greater than being. Both are equal. And as a being, the three persons, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, are totally self-sufficient between the three of them. That’s aseity.
Out of this co-existing oneness, out of this eternal love and life that they share, creation was birthed. Time, space and matter, you and me, Penuel, Roch, Pembrokeshire, Wales, this world, came to be out of this life. Isn’t that amazing!
God’s aseity is everywhere in scripture. We see it right in the beginning. Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God.” We see Creator, owner, ruler, sovereign over all things.
“The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.”
Abraham entered a covenant with an independent God who was outside our natural material system, yet had the power to remove Abraham’s enemies, and guarantee a Saviour from his seed.
In 1 Kings 8:27, King Solomon said at the dedication of the temple, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!”
Acts 17, Paul is in Athens and he states to the philosophers that God cannot live in temples made by man, neither can He be served by human hands.
When God came into His creation, Emmanuel, Jesus, He was incarnate. To be incarnate means that he would have had to come in from the outside.
The aseity of God is an all-important attribute for Christians to know, as it ties together all other attributes we know of God. God is utterly independent of us. He is utterly self-sustaining. He is sovereign. He is Lord of all. He is all-powerful and eternally loving, holy, holy, holy, absolute truth, unchanging God.
He does not possess the truth or know the truth or speak the truth – He is the truth.
“Whom did he consult,
and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding?”
Who can teach God anything? He is utterly self-sufficient. He is life. He is the source and sustainer. He is the Creator, not the creature. He is the ultimate standard. He is the measure to judge all things because only He is totally independent of all things because of His aseity.
The key message of God’s aseity is that because of His aseity, His utter independence, God doesn’t need you. God doesn’t need your prayers, your worship, your gifts, your service. He doesn’t need anything. “And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9). We can be replaced right now. He doesn’t need me. He is totally and utterly independent of everything. This is truly amazing! This means that everything we have from God, every breathe we take, every small revelation we have of who He is through His word, His word itself, every drawing of our heart to call on Him and worship Him, every prayer we make, is all a gift from Him, because He doesn’t need us. It is all grace. Isn’t that fantastic?
Friends, God does not need us. God does not need me. It makes the fact that He has chosen us in all our brokenness to serve Him for His glory, so much better. A god who needs my skills is no god at all. A god who needs my love and favour is not a god I want to worship. A god who gives to me, to receive from me, is no god at all.
But an all-powerful, all-knowing, totally self-sufficient God who needs nothing, absolutely nothing from any of us, yet invites us all in, and gives us the opportunity to serve Him is magnificent. Shouldn’t that motivate us to serve Him every day? A God who could destroy us all in a second for our failure, yet a God who sends His only begotten Son to die for our sin and redeem us whilst we were still His enemies, is a God worthy of worship. Surely a God worthy of our service – not because He needs it but simply because of His grace. By His grace He has allowed me to come here today and I thank Him for that. Amen.