The Attributes of God: God's Aseity

By Billy Rice - March 22, 2022

As we grow into adulthood, the idea of being self-sufficient is intrenched into our minds. Countless books have been written, shows have been recorded, articles have been published pointing adults at the importance of self-sufficiency. I once saw a book humorously titled, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Self-Sufficient Living.”


But what does it mean to be self-sufficient? Webster’s dictionary defines self-sufficient as the ability to maintain oneself or itself without any outside aid. While this idea is noble, is it actually possible for us? The answer is not at all. As humans, we are completely dependent upon everything around us to live and sustain our livelihood. Now you may balk at that notion believing that you are dependent on no one and nothing, but you and I are actually quite fragile creatures. We depend upon air to breath, food and water to sustain, the sun to keep us warm, and gravity to hold us down. All of these things we mostly take for granted, but without them, we could not survive.


However, there is one who is completely and totally self-sufficient, and He is God. Contrary to our dependence upon the entirety of Creation to exist, God is absolutely independent and self-sufficient. He depends upon nothing and no one to continue being God. He has always been and He would still be God even if He had never created anything.


This self-sufficient attribute of God is known as His aseity, which comes from a Latin term meaning “from himself”. It means that God’s very existence is in Himself. Other ways to describe God’s aseity are to say that He is self-existent, self-sustaining, or self-glorifying.


God declares His aseity to Moses at the burning bush by revealing Himself as “I AM” (Exodus 3:14.


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


In his speech at Athens, Paul declares, “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 what makes God so different from us. He created us. None of us created ourselves. God is the only one Who exists without beginning and maintains Himself by the power of His own aseity. No plant, or animal has ever or will ever bring itself into being neither can it sustain itself without any outside assistance.


One theologian put it this way, “God is the uncaused first cause, the uncreated Creator, the unmade Maker, the unsustained Sustainer.”


It is often taught that God created the universe and humanity because he was lonely and needed fellowship and worship. However noble the intention, this notion is mistaken. In His High Priestly Prayer, Jesus prays, “Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5). In this statement, Jesus revealed that our triune God is self-exalting or self-glorifying. Jesus further prays, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24) further displaying God’s self-exaltation before creation.


This does not mean that God is not joyful and delighted to receive worship from His people. God delights in His creation and rejoices because of them. When He completed His act of creation on the sixth day, the Bible tells us that “God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). In the Lord’s reminding of salvation to Isaiah, He declares, “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5).


God loves His people. And His attribute of aseity shows us that out of His self-sufficiency, He is self-giving. He is the provider for all of His creation. The apostle John writes, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). In God, all of His creation lives and is sustained by His power.


God’s ultimate act of self-giving was the giving of Himself for His creation. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The whole reason Christians have new life in Christ is because Christ gave Himself for us. How do you receive this new life?


Repent from your sin and believe in the Good News of Jesus Christ! Our perfect, self-sustaining God will supply your need for salvation. He will “supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).


For, He is good all the time. And ALL the time, He is GOOD!


For the Truth,


Pastor Billy