What is God's aseity?

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God is self-existent in the sense that he depends on no one outside of himself, no thing outside of himself. He is utterly self-sufficient, self-dependent, and has existed forever; whereas we are dependent on God for our existence. Our every breath depends on his generosity and his providence. That's true of the whole creation. The animals, the plants, everything depends on God. And the reason God's self-sufficiency is precious to us is that we don't have a God who in some way is dependent on us for existence. There are people, for example, who say the reason God made us is because he was lonely, and we would answer to that, God didn't have to make us. He wasn't lonely. He already had fellowship within himself because of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit existing in love, in honor and glory and communication forever. So, he's independent, self-sufficient, and we are not. It doesn't mean we are insignificant. It doesn't mean that he hasn't given us a call in life and a purpose and the ability to converse with him. These are all very real things. But, the bottom line is that we can only do those things because we are dependent on God. And again, that's a very good thing. We wouldn't want a God who was dependent on us. Freud, you know, thought that the reason people believed in God is because they needed a father figure to explain the difficulties of the universe. Yet, he also thought this was a neurosis. We need God because we're unstable and we're desperate for explanations, and in our desperateness we make him into something like a person. Well, the Bible, of course, puts it exactly the other way. God is independent, he's self-sufficient. He's not a neurosis. He is at best a comforter. He's also a judge and he sets the terms of our knowing him. So, it's a precious doctrine. It doesn't mean he treats us like robots, but it does mean everything we do, every breath we take is dependent on our God.

Answer by Dr. William Edgar

William Edgar is Professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary.