Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Some Major Biblical Passages On Divine Aseity

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Genesis 21:33 "Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God."


In our last post we considered the concept of God's Divine Aseity. We noted how this quality of God's being is what makes God - God. We also referred to Divine Aseity as: "God's "Godness". Theologian R.C Sproul notes about aseity:

"Because God Himself had no beginning, He was already there in the beginning. He antedates the created order. When we affirm that God is eternal, we are also saying that He possesses the attribute of aseity, or self-existence. This means that God eternally has existed of Himself and in Himself."

The patriarch Jacob in the opening verse above refers to God as "El Olam" or "God-eternal". Such a title points us to considerations about Divine Aseity. 
In today's post, I want to list some of the major Biblical texts that express this central feature of God's being - offering brief commentary that shows the life-practicality of Divine Aseity to daily living. So, let us look at some key Biblical texts on this subject.

1. Exodus 3:14 "God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

Here we see God revealing His most intimate, covenant name - Yahweh or I am who I am. Is it not interesting that at the heart of God's redemption of His people that He would reveal His very name as His very character as the self-sufficient God? This is highly appropriate for God to do, showing that He is uniquely able to save His people. 

2. Psalm 90:1-4 "Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. 3 You turn man back into dust And say, “Return, O children of men.” 4 For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night."

Here we find God's Divine aseity as a source of comfort to His people. Moses is the author of this Psalm and had been the first man in history to had received the revelation of God's covenant name "Yahweh" which refers to His self-existence or aseity.

3. Psalm 102:25-27 “Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 “Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. 27 “But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end."

This precious text contrasts God's divine aseity with the relative brevity of the universe. Theologians and philosophers refer to the universe and all of its contents as being "contingent", meaning that it depends on something greater and outside of it for its existence. God is a se or from Himself, which is to say, God is self-sufficient and without need of the universe to sustain Himself. Interestingly enough, Hebrews 1:4-13 incorporates Psalm 102:25-27 to describe the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

4. Isaiah 40:28-31 "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power. 30 Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary."

Isaiah is centering on God's Divine aseity to provide comfort to the people of God. 

5. Isaiah 43:10-11 “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe Me
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
And there will be none after Me.
11 “I, even I, am the Lord,
And there is no savior besides Me."

Isaiah uses the phrase: "there was no God formed and there will be none after me" to demonstrate why the pagan deities possess neither reality nor are worthy of worship. We find this similar type of language used by Isaiah in Isaiah 44:6; 45:6, 11,18. Sometimes we find the best way to begin thinking about God, and such mind-bending concepts as Divine aseity, through describing what God is "not". God is not finite, but infinite. God is not material, but immaterial or spiritual. God is not mortal but immortal. This way of describing God is what we call "apophatic theology", meaning that we state what "God is not". It is oftentimes discovered that once we have asserted what God is not, we exclude all other created things from the category of being we call God. God, and God alone is self-sufficient or aseity. 

6. John 5:26 "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself".

When Jesus asserted the Divine aseity of the Father, He was hardly stating anything controversial, since the Old Testament plainly expresses the Divine Aseity of the Father. However, when Jesus claims that He too possess this same quality, now his opponents find all sorts of red-flags raised in their minds. This is one of several statements found throughout the four-Gospels where Jesus claims Himself to be truly Divine. Divine aseity is at the heart of what makes God-God. Touching His Deity, the Son of God is aseity.

7. 1 Timothy 6:16 "who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen."

As Paul closes out his letter to young pastor Timothy, he ends with a doxology or exclamation of praise to God. Paul wrote 1 Timothy to instruct a young Pastor on what he needed to preach and how to pastor. Timothy needed to possess a high view of God. Divine Aseity would be at the center of this young pastor's God-centered ministry. This ought to give us a clue today concerning how big of a vision of God we need in the contemporary church.

8. Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

The Apostle John sees a profound vision of Jesus. This verse is truly a commentary on that one, ineffable holy name "Yahweh" first revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14. We find references to Divine Aseity in other places in Revelation such as Revelation 4:10-11.

Closing thoughts:

Today's goal was to introduce the reader to some of the major verses in the Bible that speak about God's Divine aseity. May these verses lift our minds and heart up to God's throne and cause us to depend all the more on Him. 

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