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Sunday, September 02, 2012


Now there's a word you don't see too often. In fact, I'd guess that most of us don't see it at all. And, of course, there are two good reasons. First, it isn't a modern word. But, second, there is only one to whom it applies.

The word is derived from two Latin words. The prefix, a, means "from" and the root, se, means "itself". It therefore refers to an existence that is derived from itself without another source. There is only one being that falls into that category: God.

When parents or teachers teach children that God made everything, it isn't uncommon to hear the question, "But ... who made God?" Since everything in the world was made (does not possess aseity), it would seem like a standard question. But God alone has aseity. God alone is self-existent. In fact, the word "exist" comes from the Latin exsistere which is most literally translated "to appear out of". It refers to having its being from a source, which all things do. God alone has His being out of Himself. In that sense, He doesn't "exist". He is.

So we read that when nothing else existed, in the beginning, God. Prior to "heavens and the earth", it was God. He existed before the worlds began (John 17:5) and, thus, before time. All that exists has its being in Him. All things, then, are completely dependent on God for existence. On the other hand, God is not dependent on anyone or anything else. He didn't make us to satisfy some lack. He is self-sustaining. He doesn't love us because we're just so loveable or because He needed something we provide. He is, and that could be the end of the story.

God is the answer to the questions of origins. All things in our universe are caused. If all things that are caused require a cause, God would be that cause -- what Aquinas called the primum movens, the unmoved mover, the first cause. If the Laws of Physics say that a body at rest tends to stay at rest, there has to be a force that starts all movement. That's God. He is the "I AM". Always was, always is, always will be.

Now, I think you would have to agree that this is really huge. I mean, God alone is self-existent. God alone is self-sufficient. That doesn't happen anywhere else. Really, really huge. On the other hand, I think that most would conclude, after some reflection, "So? I mean, sure, it's really big, but how does it affect me?" In a time when the world is at risk, in a time when the church seems to be sliding into apostasy, in a time when the global economy seems to be teetering on destruction, in a time when authorities seem to be bad and governments corrupt and hope rare, in a time when we are being asked to vote on the devil we know versus the devil we don't know, when all about us looks stormy and threatening, isn't it a huge relief to know that the God we serve is self-existent, self-sufficient? He's not dependent on proper worldviews, a healthy economy, good governments, or proper voting. Nor are those who are in His care. I, for one, am delighted to serve a self-existent God on whom I can rely beyond all the circumstances and vagaries of this world.

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