God is Independent
“I don’t need you!”
Those words sting, don’t they? We like to be needed. To not be needed communicates to many of us the same thing as not being loved. It can be a bit disconcerting when we are introduced to the doctrine of God’s independence. The technical term for God’s independence is aseity, which means “from himself”. That is simply a way of saying that God is self-existent and self-sufficient. In other words, it means he does not need us for anything.
This means that any sentence which begins with “God needed” or “God needs” is already off the rails theologically. But this is such great news for us needy creatures. Can you imagine what would happen if God did need something from us? It would mean that God is no different from false gods. It would mean that God is not actually worthy of worship. In Galatians 4:8-9 Paul speaks of those who are “by nature not gods”. They are by nature “weak” and “worthless”. I appreciate John Frame’s reflection on this:
- A god who depends on his worshippers to remedy his weakness and poverty does not deserve worship. So the true God is One who is not weak in any respect, nor is he poor. He is God by nature: self-existent and self-sufficient, a se. (Frame, 411)
We creatures are not self-sufficient or self-existing. We are not worthy of worship. No matter how much we might try to “burst [God’s] bonds apart and cast away [His] cords” we are not independent creatures. It is in God alone that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). We are fully dependent on our fully independent God. This is great news because it reminds us that God’s love for us does not flow out of a need in Him. The gospel also reminds us of the good news that the Spirit is transforming our foolish self-deluded hearts into faithful God-dependent and worshipful hearts.
Thank God today that he does not need you but he still has chosen to set His affections upon you. Remind yourself of your dependence and His fullness.
I gave you examples yesterday of taking this truth and applying it to your heart. Read through Psalm 50 and Acts 17 and then give it a shot.
Tomorrow, we will look at God as the self-giving creator.