There is nothing more important for Christians to learn than the attributes of God. Without reading, studying and understanding them one can become steeped in error, doctrine, and application which affects all in life. The Bible teaches it. It has a name in theology. It is God’s “Aseity” and explains his independence in all things as the Self-Existent GOD. Study it, apply it and your heart, mind and soul will be eased and humbled by it._TheologyGirl
~ ~ ~
The Independence or Self-Existence of God
Rev. D. H. Kuiper
“For as the Father has life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.” John 5:26
Convinced that there is nothing so precious or blessed as a true knowledge of the living God, and equally convinced that much of the church today knows not God, we continue setting forth the various attributes or virtues of God. Of God’s many virtues, there are some which are reflected in the child of God who has Christ living in him; love, grace, and mercy would be examples of these. There are others which are true of God alone and never become true of the saint at any time. An example of this category of attributes is set forth in the text quoted above. John 5:26 describes very powerfully the virtue of God called His independence or His self-existence. God is independent; the creature is dependent, and that upon God! As we see what these words of Jesus mean we ought to be humbled and filled with reverence, awe, and a spirit of worship.
In the fifth chapter of John, Jesus is engaged in controversy with the fault-finding Jews who refuse to believe on Him. If you would take the time to read this chapter you will discover that the controversy centers about the relationship between “Father” and “Son.” These two words also appear in the text quoted above; we ought to have a clear understanding of whom these words are truly speaking. Since the truth of the Trinity is not at all under discussion here, it is plain that “Father” refers to the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) while the word “Son” stands for Jesus, the Son of God in the flesh, as He walked and talked on the earth. This is the only interpretation that fits those verses where Jesus speaks of God and Himself (see verses 17 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27), and therefore this must also be the meaning in verse 36. Let us keep this in mind: the Triune God in heaven and the man Christ Jesus on earth!
Basic to the Being of God, and one of the fundamentals truths about God that Scripture reveals to us, is that God is completely independent and has no need of anything outside of Himself. Jesus says, “God has life in Himself!” As far as this important matter of life is concerned, we must understand that God has life of and in and through Himself. God does not depend upon any one or any thing outside of Himself for life. Not only does He have life in Himself, but God is life; He is the immortal, living God Who is the Lord of life! Theologians use a term here that means “from-Himnself-ness.” IN all His Being and perfections, God demonstrates “from-Himself-ness.” God is independent as to mind (Romans 11:34), as to will (Ephesians 1:11), as to love (Hosea 14), and as to power (Psalm 115:3).
There is something else to remember here: God is so independent and without need of any thing outside of Himself that nothing can ever add any thing to God. Creation does not add anything to God.
Creation reveals the wonderful glory of God, but it does not add to it. He is independent in glory; in Himself He is all-glorious. The salvation of the Church as a whole, and each member of the Church in particular, does not add to God’s great glory! Oh, salvation reveals the wonders of His grace and glory, but
salvation cannot increase it! From eternity to eternity God has all glory! Still more, the Lord Jesus Christ in His incarnation, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension, did not add any thing to God either! All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily! That Christ revealed the glory of God to us is wonderfully and forever true! But in so doing He did not add anything to God. How could He? God is unchangeable. Before creation He is the God of all glory, as well as after creation, and He is that to all eternity, of Himself! God is the God of life Who sustains all, but Who is Himself independent of all. He gives to all, but He is enriched by none. We suggest you read Isaiah 40:12-17 carefully at this point. In the light of these exclamations of the prophet, do you think that the sacrifices of bullocks, sheep, and goats by the Israelites in the temple added any thing to God? Did God need those things, was He enriched by them? And what of our service of God on the Sabbath Day in His house, as well as from day to day? Does God need us to be happy, to be complete. to be glorious in perfections and praises? Not at all! God could have gone from eternity to eternity, supremely blessed and glorious in Himself, without decreeing Christ, the Church, creation or any thing. Because, you see, God lives a perfect life within Himself as the Triune, covenant God; He lives, speaks, loves, delights, within Himself as the all sufficient, independent, Triune God!
There are certain names of God which reveal His independence most vividly, names which only God has and which the creature could never, never bear. We have in mind “the Almighty One”, “the
Highest One”, “the Lord of Hosts.” Each of these names reveals that God is above all else, and is not dependent in any way upon any thing outside His Being. But undoubtedly the name of God that reveals the greatness, glory, and independence of God most clearly of all is the name JEHOVAH (I AM or I AM THAT I AM). When God says of Himself, in fact names Himself, I AM, He very truthfully and confidently asserts that He rests for Being upon no one but Himself, exists before all things, and all things exist through Him. When God says, “I AM”, He confidently asserts that He has need of nothing, but by and through and of Himself, IS! It is true, the name JEHOVAH has tremendous significance for our election, redemption, preservation, trust in God’s promises, for all the life of the covenant of grace. But we must understand that God reveals himself as He does in all our salvation exactly as He is in Himself, so that first He is JEHOVAH in Himself and then He is JEHOVAH in all our salvation!
We ought to be struck, now, by the fact that we creatures differ radically from God on this matter of being. God is independent; we are always dependent, and our dependence is upon Him. Oh, we can be so proud! We can live sometimes as if we had no need of God, as if we were the captains of our futures and the masters of our own destinies, as if we have things pretty much in control. We can behave ourselves sometimes as that rich and foolish man in the parable of Luke 12 who said, “Soul, thou hast much goods
laid up for many year; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry.” In our self-sufficiency we think that we can take care of ourselves. We make our plans sometimes without a thought of God, and without saying, “If the Lord wills and we live.”
TheologyGirl-ReformedWomen, Editor-Publisher Copyright ©1984-2018