Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Introducing God's Necessary Existence: Meditations And Applications
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.’”
A child learns from an early age to depend on their parents. Everything that the child needs derives from either the parents or other people. Even when children grow into adulthood, though many people would like to think they are "on their own", no man is ultimately an island unto themselves. The trait of "self-sufficiency" can only be applied to one being - God Himself. As we begin reflecting on God's existence, I'd like us to think about the manner in which God exists. Over the course of today's post and perhaps the next couple of postings, we are going to look at a feature of God's existence that is unique to Him: namely, God's necessary existence.
God's Necessary Existence
To begin our thinking about this topic, let's ask ourselves the following question: "if God did not exist, would it matter?" How one answers this question gets to the heart of this important topic of God's necessary existence. In this post, we will contend that God's existence as a necessary being means that He must exist. The important ramifications and further reflections on this truth will be fleshed out below.
The Bible Asserts God's Necessary Existence
Exodus 3:14 records God's self-revelation of His name, nature and character as the God of Israel and thus the God of creation and redemption. By asserting Himself with the Hebrew verb translated: "to be", God is proclaiming His uniqueness as the self-existing God responsible for the existence and sustaining of everything else in the created order (see Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:6; 102; Isaiah 43:10-11; Romans 11:36; Hebrews 1:4-13). Theologian J.I. Packer notes the following about God's necessary existence in his book: "Concise Theology":
"Children sometimes ask, “Who made God?” The clearest answer is that God never needed to be made, because he was always there. He exists in a different way from us: we, his creatures, exist in a dependent, derived, finite, fragile way, but our Maker exists in an eternal, self-sustaining, necessary way—necessary, that is, in the sense that God does not have it in him to go out of existence."
Author, philosopher and theologian Norman Geisler discusses the necessary existence of God in terms of answering the question: "who made God?" in the book: "Who made God? And Answers To Over 100 Other Tough Questions To Faith", page 23, with the following response:
"Who made God? No one did. He was not made. He has always existed. Only things that had a beginning-like the world-need a maker. God had no beginning, so God did not need to be made."
Today I wanted to introduce the reader to this important concept of God's existence, namely, that God exists necessarily. We noted that it is impossible for God not to exist, since without God, there would be no universe nor any other set of objective standards (such a morality, logic and so forth). My aim in the next post will be to flesh this out further by contrasting God's necessary existence to our own.