“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One…Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth…and his understanding no-one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:25,28)
The most mind-stretching activity in which a person can engage, is to consider the character, attributes, and eternal essence of God.
And that process will inevitably bring you to the concept of aseity.
Aseity is the idea of God as a self-existent Being, therefore possessing absolute and ultimate independence.
In that way, God is different from every other being. Because He is without beginning, and is uncreated and self-existent, He holds the power of being in His invisible hand. Every other being (including you and me) is created, derived, contingent, and therefore dependant on God. That’s part of what Paul means when he says, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Romans 11:36).
Logic demands that if anything exists, then Something must have always existed. Otherwise, we are left with an impossibly infinite regression of cause and effect.
Thomas Aquinas (13th century) described God as a Necessary Being, a Being who cannot not be. (Did you get your mind around that last sentence? Read it again…slowly!)
Or think of aseity this way: Thomas asserted that if anything exists, then Something must have the power of being within Himself; that transcendent, supreme being is God.
And yet in our day – sometimes thought of as the most scientifically-educated and rational of all eras – the idea of our universe creating itself is what many people unquestioningly believe.
But thinking for 10 seconds renders that concept an impossibility, a logical absurdity. For something to create itself, it would have to be before it was. It would have to be, and not be, at the same time and in the same relationship – an obvious violation of the principle of the law of non-contradiction.
What causes otherwise rational folks to swallow this view? Could it be that they have convinced themselves that this explanation dispenses with God, and therefore eliminates the “out-dated” concept of every human being one day standing before the Ultimate Being in the definitive court of accountability?
Takeaway: Lord, please focus my meditation on You in ways that help me understand more of your mind-stretching immensity, uniqueness, and holy “otherness”. I want to more deeply understand the implications of Your aseity.
~ this blogpost originally appeared February 2013.
* acknowledgment: Dr.R.C.Sproul (theologian) and Dr.William Lane Craig (philosopher) influenced my thinking by way of their teaching podcasts on this topic.
- graphic by Jesper Noer, freeimages.com