Wednesday, August 7, 2013

P3 How Divine Aseity is core to God and relates to Christian identity

Isaiah 48:11 “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.


For the past couple of days we have been exploring that unique trait of God that is called "Aseity" (A-say-i-tee). To grasp once again this core trait of God's Aseity, I quote from the great Christian scholar and defender of Biblical Christianity, Dr. William Lane Craig: "When we come to the subject of God’s self-existence that we’ve been looking at, we can say that the Scripture clearly teaches that God is uncreated and independent of anything else. Everything other than God depends upon God for its existence, whereas God depends upon nothing." We have explored Isaiah 43-47 thus far in understanding the reasons for celebrating God's Divine Aseity. In today's post I want to wrap up our study of this essential characteristic of God by seeing how central it is in understanding God's identity and its relationship to Christian identity.

How Divine Aseity is core to God's Identity
Isaiah 48 and 49 are among some of the greatest chapters in the Old Testament to get a glimpse into the Triune identity of God. Isaiah 48:1-11 has the Lord affirming the Oneness of His being, namely that He and he alone is God, and that He does not share His glory with another. In fact as we have been noticing the past couple of days, the phrase "I am the first, and I am the last" and other phrases like it affirm the Oneness and uniqueness of God in His Aseity (a-say-i-tee). To remind the reader again, God's Aseity refers to how He is independent and His own source of life and existence. All things, whether people, angels, rocks or stars depend on God for their existence or life. God however is different and is the only Being who is self-sufficient, meaning then that He alone can Create, Perform Salvation and reign over all things. This trait is important in Isaiah's overall argument against idolatry and the worldliness that was stealing away the hearts of his people and which still attempts to grab hold of our hearts today.

This One God then identifies Himself in a plural way in Isaiah 48:16 as the One who was sent by the Lord God, along with the Spirit of God. Though only brief, the passage gives us a glimpse into the three-fold identity of God that is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In fact the remainder of Isaiah 48 and into 49 makes some predictions about the Son coming into the world to assume humanity and to function as "Servant of the Lord". Philippians 2:5-11 reminds us of the fact the Son humbled Himself and was found in the form of a servant and was obedient unto death, even death on the cross. However death was not to be the final chapter in the humanity of Jesus, for in being also Divine, He possesses the quality of "Aseity" like the Father and the Spirit. This meant He could take up His life as God at will and raise from the dead in His humanity. (John 10:17) Jesus then ascended into heaven and as Philippians 2 describes. He was exalted and given a name that is above every other name.

Divine Aseity and the Christian identity

Thus when you turn to Colossians 4, you discover that this exalted Jesus is "The Master" in heaven to Whom every child of God is accountable. Knowing that we are accountable to Him in both this life and the one to come ought to affect how we treat fellow Christians, those outside the faith and prompt us to encourage everyone for Jesus sake. Divine Aseity reminds me that Jesus is All-sufficient and that you and I by ourselves are insufficient. The Lord and His word is the norm by which we live in an otherwise abnormal world that is dying and in need of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, though sharing fully in the One Divine nature with the Spirit and the Father, still shares in our humanity. He by His Spirit urges us to love our neighbor as ourselves and to love His Father with all our hearts, souls mind and strength. (Matthew 22:37) May we ever depend upon our Master in heaven, upon whom we depend for everything that pertains unto life and to godliness through His word. (compare 2 Peter 1:4-11)

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