Thursday, June 1, 2017

God's Necessary Existence: Further Reflections, Biblical Passages & Applications

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Romans 11:36 "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen."


Over the last couple of posts, we have been exploring the notion of God's necessary existence. We aim today to put some Bible underneath all that has been said in the last couple of posts. James Pedigru Boice was a major Baptist theologian of the 19th century who wrote an influential theological volume used to train pastors called: "Abstract Of Systematic Theology". What Boice has to say about God's necessary existence is understandable and profound:

"How do we know that God must be such, if there is a God? In whatever way we know this, we know at least that much of God that he must be the Absolute, the Infinite, the Unconditioned. Even before we are supposed to know that he exists, therefore, we know this much of the nature which must be his, and upon the first evidence of his existence have the right to attribute to him all that is therein contained. The characteristics thus ascribed to him, reveal him, therefore, to us, as an infinite existence, without other limitations than are found in his own nature, or essence, who, as Absolute, cannot be dependent, but must be the source and Sovereign of all else." 

Coming to a better understanding of God's Necessary Existence: Key Biblical Texts

Whenever we speak of God "necessarily existing", we are referring to the fact the God in and of Himself exists without any outside help, aid or supplement. God is God with or without the universe, planets and people. Theologian Wayne Grudem summarizes God's Necessary Existence on page 162 of his "Systematic Theology":

It is not just that we exist and God has always existed; it is also that God necessarily exists in an infinitely, better, stronger and ore excellent way."

Grudem then concludes his discussion on God's necessary existence:

"All else can pass away in an instant; he necessarily exists forever".

God's necessary existence means that He must exist and thus, "cannot not exist". A tree can or cannot exist. The universe can or cannot exist. However, God, by definition, cannot fail to exist since in order for anything to begin to exist, He must exist. Some important scriptures remind us of this fundamental truth of God as necessarily existing:

1.  Psalm 90:2 states - "Before the mountains were born,     before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, You are God." 

2. The Apostle Paul contrasts the pagan deities worshiped by the Greek and Roman philosophers of his day to the God of Biblical revelation in Acts 17:24-26 "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation."

3. Concerning the Divine nature of the Lord Jesus Christ as the pre-existing "Word", the apostle John presents Him as sharing in the necessary existence of deity with the Father, as seen in John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

4. Romans 11:36 plainly states on this subject of God's necessary existence: "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." Apart from God, nothing would exist nor could anything be sustained. 

As mentioned earlier in this post, other key texts, such as Psalm 102, Hebrews 1:4-13 and other passages assert this unique quality of God's existence as that of necessary existence. 

Closing thoughts and applications:

If God did not exist, we would not exist. God's necessary existence is as much an applicable truth as it is a rich truth for our meditation. By nature, God's necessary existence implies He being the standard for objective or universal moral values and duties. If God did not exist, we would have no standards of "right" and "wrong". Ethical decision making would not be possible and we would not be around to make such decision if God's existence was "contingent" or "dependent" on something outside of Himself. If God did not exist, there would be no salvation. Think about it, the New Testament's insistence upon Jesus possessing this Divine quality of necessary existence means He is God revealed in human flesh. Unless the Son of God necessarily existed with respect to His divine nature, then salvation would not be possible. Such reflections and applications ought to cause us to praise God for the fact that He necessarily exists. This quality is what sets God apart from everything else and worthy of our worship. 

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