Jul 19, 2016

God is SELF-EXISTENT & SELF-SUFFICIENT




I remember hearing about the Creation story as a child in Sunday school. Year after year, I would open my Precious Moments Bible and read the first verse in the Bible: "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth". Then I would often think: "Well, ok, but who created God?!"  My finite mind could not wrap itself around the idea that God was never created. And it still can't!  He was and is and will be. He is infinite. He does not need anyone or anything to exist. No one gave Him life and He does not depend on anything.

He is self-existent. No one and nothing else in all of the world and galaxies above can make the same claim of self-existence. This sets God apart from all of His creation. And, as the self-existent God, He is the only One who can create something out of nothing. He is the God of infinite creativity.
"God, who is himself uncreated, creates everything. Gathering no materials, pinning no swatches to mood boards, consulting no color wheels, God speaks, and the universe leaps into being . . . Unlike himans who create by rearranging what exists, God creates simply by the power of his word, and where there was once nothing, something miraculously appears." (Jen Wilkin in None Like Him, p. 45)
In Genesis 1:1, bara is the Hebrew word used for created. This is best translated to meaning "created out of nothing". It is only used in reference to the creation story. Only God can truly create something from nothing because He does not need anything to create. We imitate and image Him when we create, but we can never bara. We will always need something already created to create something new. Asah is the Hebrew word that means to "fashion, shape, or make". It is used to describe Adam and Eve fashioning loincloths from fig leaves (Gen. 3:7) and Noah building the ark. Whenever we create, we are practicing asah.

Why am I making a distinction between the two? Because it is vital to understand that we are not self-existent like God is. We will always need people and things to thrive, reproduce, and create.
"When people create we are doing asah, not bara. We can take things that God has given us such as seed and land to plant crops and harvest food, but in so doing we are not creating food from nothing but rather creating it from the gifts given to us by God in creation." (Mark Driscoll in Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe)
"You created all things, and by your will they existed and were created." (Revelation 4:11) 
We can image God's creativity in the ways we create things. Art, music, gardening, and architecture are just a few examples of ways we can be creative. But we run the risk of thinking we are self-existent when we don't acknowledge God as the Creator of all things or when we try to build up our own self-existent kingdoms that we think will meet our needs.

For me, remembering that God is self-existent is a  call to living humbly, recognizing my own limits and exalting God because He is limitless. It is also a reminder to be a faithful steward of the gifts He has entrusted to me. Creativity is a beautiful gift from God. I love to create, whether it is scrapbooking, watering my indoor herb garden, or writing a story. But I want my creativity to remember that my creativity is an echo that should remind me of the One who is infinitely creative and who deserves praise. 

In today's generation, society prides itself on the pursuit of independence. We want to do it all. We want to climb the social or economic ladders and prove that we don't need anyone to be successful.  But sooner or later, we each find out that in some ways we need to depend on one another. God is different than us because He truly can be absolutely independent from anything.

God is self-sufficient. He is needed by all but needful of nothing (Jen Wilkin in None Like Him, p. 59).  As hard as it may be to hear, God does not need us. God did not wake up bored after the first two days of creation and decide He needed people and animals to entertain or love Him.   He exists in perfect self-existence within His trinitarian (three-in-one) divinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And yet, He chose to love us and include us into His story. This was not for His gain or to supply a need (which are often our motives) but out of His pure love and grace.
"No need for love and companionship promopted the Godhead to speak us into being. He created us gladly and he loves us infintely, but he does not need us." (Jen Wilkin in None Like Him, p. 59)
"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything." (Acts 17:24-25)
This is good news because if God needed anything or anyone, it would show that He is limited and cannot be fully depended on. If we felt He created us because He needed us to fill some void, then we would be crushed under the weight of the expectation to perform or act in ways where we feel we are not letting Him down. Instead, He knows our limits and does not hold us to a standard that we can never achieve.

We have been struggling for self-sufficiency and self-existence since the beginning of time. Eve was enticed by the forbidden fruit because she listened to the serpent's tempting words that convinced her that God was holding out on her. She wanted to be like God and have knowledge apart from the boundaries He set for her. She wanted autonomy, and if we are being honest, don't we?

Whether in our careers, our families, our body image, or any other sphere of our lives, it is enticing to try to take control of things and shape them to our own liking. We often see it as a weakness to need others, so we pride ourselves in independence and deny help from others and sometimes even from God.

Jen Wilkin mentions several results that can occur when we deny our need for God and for community (None Like Him, p. 63-64):

  • Prayerlessness: If we only rely on ourselves, we stop approaching God.
  • Forgetfulness: We forget the many times God has been faithful and provided for us.
  • Anger and pride: When we go through difficulties and our needs are exposed, we respond in anger because our pride has been damaged.
  • Lack of conviction of personal sin: We grow hardened against God's Word.
  • Avoiding Christian community: Since we feel we don't need others, we ignore the call to vulnerable and teachable moments found in godly community
  • Concealment: We hide our struggles and try to wear a mask of perfection.
  • Exhaustion: We grow anxious and utterly tired from the ongoing tensions of trying to be self-sufficient.

We need God and we need others to exist. We are not self-existent nor self-sufficient like God is. Whenever we try, disaster eventually ensues. We end up closing ourselves off and getting buried beneath the stress of doing it all -- and we eventually fail because we are not made to be self-existent or self-sufficient.

There is peace and joy in humbling ourselves and accepting our limitations. Likewise, there is beauty in accepting our need for God and people. We have been created with that need. It allows us to learn to depend on one another and supply each other's needs. We can show God's love through the ways we help one another and stay connected to godly community.

God is self-existent and self-sufficient. He has no needs and does not depend on anything or anyone for existence. And yet, His love for us is deeper than the deepest sea and wider than the east from the west. He chose to love us and His mercies are new for us each morning. He wants us to depend on Him and He is more than faithful to provide for our needs, great or small.

He is the God of infinite creativity and provision. There is none like Him!

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Reflection:
How should the knowledge that God is self-existent and self-sufficient  change the way I live?

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Catch up on posts from None Like Him series HERE

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3 comments:

  1. i love how opening your Precious Moments Bible way back in the day has birthed such a woman of faith ...

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Linda! Those are sweet words!

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  2. Not only is this a wonderful reminder but awe inspiring too.

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Elle Alice