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The Blue Letter Bible
Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Attributes of God That Belong to Him Alone

Don Stewart :: Is God Dependent upon Anything?

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Is God Dependent upon Anything? (Independence of God, Freedom of God, or Aseity)

The Attributes of God That Belong to Him Alone – Question 3

No. God is independent of everything. This includes His creatures, and His creation. He needs nothing to exist. There are no restrictions upon His character. While humans need food, oxygen, and water to exist, God needs none of these things. He alone is the self-existing one. God is free to do whatever He chooses. This is also known as the independence of God or the freedom of God. It is also called “aseity.” This is from two Latin words a and se.

The Bible has the following to say about this important truth.

1. Only God Is the Self-Existing One: He Is Not Dependent upon Anything

When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, He explained that He is the great, “I AM.” The Book of Exodus reads as follows.

Then Moses asked God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what should I tell them?” God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.” (Exodus 3:13-15 HCSB)

The Hebrew word for “Lord” sounds like the word for I AM. It may be derived from it, but the derivation is not certain. The point is that God exists by virtue of His own nature. He is the self-existing One.

Paul wrote something similar to the Galatians. He emphasized that the God of the Bible is God by nature. He said,

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. (Galatians 4:8 NRSV)

He alone, is God by nature.

2. He Is the Source of Life

The Bible also says that the God of Scripture is the source, or the fountain, of life. The psalmist wrote,

For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. (Psalm 36:9 NKJV)

The Contemporary English Version says,

The life-giving fountain belongs to you, and your light gives light to each of us. (Psalm 36:9 CEV)

All life stems from Him.

3. God the Father Has Life in Himself

In the New Testament we find a similar statement. Jesus testified that God the Father has life in Himself. He said,

“For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself...” (John 5:26 NRSV)

God the Father has life in Himself.

The God of the Bible is the living God. In the Book of Joshua, we read Joshua saying the following to the people.

“This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.” (Joshua 3:10 NIV)

The gods of the other nations were not alive. Only the God of Scripture is “living.”

Speaking of Jesus, God the Son, the Bible says,

Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. (John 1:4 NLT)

As He has life in Himself, He was able to create all things.

We read in the Book of Revelation about the ability of God the Son, Jesus Christ, to create. The heavenly creatures testified,

Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created. (Revelation 4:11 HCSB)

All things exist because of God the Creator.

4. God Does Not Need to Be Taught

In the writings of Isaiah, we read about God’s knowledge; He does not have to be taught. The Lord puts it in the form of a question.

Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor? Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding? (Isaiah 40:13-14 NIV)

The answer, of course, is that none have taught Him. As the One who knows all things there is no need for Him to be taught anything.

Isaiah also wrote about God’s knowledge. He records the Lord saying,

“Who has done such mighty deeds, directing the affairs of the human race as each new generation marches by? It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last. I alone am he.” (Isaiah 41:4 NLT).

None can teach Him. Nobody!

5. His Knowledge Is Not Dependent upon Anything

The knowledge of God is not dependent upon anything, or anyone. We read the following in the Book of Hebrews.

And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account. (Hebrews 4:13 NRSV)

The knowledge that God has is independent of everything else. Nothing is hidden to His eyes. He sees and knows everything.

6. His Actions Are Dependent Upon No One

The actions of God are not dependent upon any one. God created the universe out of no preexisting materials. Neither did He have any help with the creating process. The Bible begins by saying,

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

He spoke and everything came into existence.

Paul spoke of the God of the Bible, as the Creator, not needing anything. The Book of Acts records him saying,

The God who made the world and everything in it—He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. (Acts 17:24, 25 HCSB)

These verses teach us a number of things about God.

First, He does not have to consult with anyone when He does His work. He makes His own decisions He is dependent upon no one.

In addition, God does not need us or our belief in Him to continue to exist. He is complete in Himself. He gives us life; we do not give Him life.

However, God’s independence does mean that He is uncaring. He is concerned with His creation. He shows this concern by providing for humanity.

7. His Happiness Is Not Dependent on Anyone

The happiness of God is not dependent upon anything. He is able to bless believers with every spiritual blessing. Paul wrote,

How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. (Ephesians 1:3 NLT)

The one who is greater always blesses the one who is lesser. God blesses His people.

8. God Is Not Obligated to Anyone

God is not obligated to humanity unless He wishes to be obligated. He is not in our debt. Therefore, God does what He alone chooses. His choice is not determined by an obligation to any one or any thing. If He does something for us, it is because He chooses to do so. We read in Job the Lord saying the following.

“Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.” (Job 41:11 ESV)

Everything is His. Therefore, He is not obligated to anyone.

The Lord Himself has said that everything belongs to Him. The Book of Psalms records Him saying the following.

“For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.” (Psalm 50:10-12 ESV)

The Bible says that God is not obligated in any sense to humanity, unless of course, He chooses to be.

Conclusion: God Is Independent Of Everything

From the teaching of Scripture, we discover that God is truly independent of everything; He needs nothing and no one. Since God is a Trinity, there has been everlasting love and communication between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is totally sufficient in Himself.

Summary – Question 3
Is God Dependent upon Anything? (Independence of God, Freedom of God, or Aseity)

The Lord revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush as the self-existing one. This is known as God’s independence. It can be illustrated in a number of ways.

First, God is the only entity in the universe that is self-sustaining. He is not dependent upon anything to exist. Everything else needs something outside of itself to exist. He alone is independent.

In addition, He is the source of life for everything. Everything owes their existence to Him. He is the Creator while everything else is His creation. Again, this puts Him in a different category as everything else.

Because He is self-existent, He does not need to be taught neither can He learn anything new. He has all-knowledge.

His actions are not dependent upon anyone. He does not seek advice, He does not need advice.

Also His happiness does not depend on any one or any single thing. He does not need anyone to love. Again, He is self-existent.

Neither is God obligated to anyone. He does what he pleases. This, however, does not mean that He is uncaring. Indeed, the Lord cares deeply for His creation.

Everything about God speaks of total self-sufficiency.

Was God Alone before He Created the Universe? ← Prior Section
In What Sense Is God Perfect? Next Section →
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