2 Knowledge of the Holy God s Actuality, Aseity, Necessity, and Eternality
3 Who Made God?
4 I may say that when I was a young man and was debating these questions very seriously in my mind, I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day, at the age of eighteen, I read John Stuart Mill's Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: "My father taught me that the question 'Who made me?' cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question `Who made god?'" That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. -Bertrand Russell From Why I am not a Christian
5 A Category Mistake What does the color blue taste like? Where is the bachelor s wife? A category mistake, or category error, is a semantic or ontological error in which "things of one kind are presented as if they belonged to another or, alternatively, a property is ascribed to a thing that could not possibly have that property.
6 The Cosmological Argument (Correctly Stated) Everything that BEGINS TO EXIST must have a cause The universe began to exist Therefore, the universe must have a cause God didn t begin to exist, so God doesn t need a cause. Don t ask Who made the unmade?
7 Philosophy and science have not always been friendly toward the idea of God, the reason being that they are dedicated to the task of accounting for things and are impatient with anything that refuses to give an account of itself. - A. W. Tozer
8 God s Pure Actuality (Existence) and aseity
9 What is Pure Actuality? Actuality is that which IS (existence) Pure Actuality is that which IS with no possibility to not exist It has no potential to not exist Many things can have existence, but only One thing can be existence Other things have being but God is Being
10 But why anything at all is, or exists, science knows not, precisely because it cannot even ask the question. To this supreme question, the only conceivable answer is that each and every particular existential energy, each and every particular existing thing, depends for its existence upon a pure Act of existence. - Etienne Gilson
11 Biblical Support for God s Pure Actuality/Existence Then Moses said to God, Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you. Now they may say to me, What is His name? What shall I say to them? God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM ; and He said, Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. (Exodus 3:13 14)
12 The Tetragrammaton - YHWH I AM WHO I AM Literally: I be that I be a statement of self-existence; not dependent upon anything else for His own existence Tetragrammaton a word having 4 letters
13 A name that denotes what he is in himself (v. 14): I am that I am. This explains his name Jehovah, and signifies, (1.) That he is self-existent; he has his being of himself, and has no dependence upon any other: the greatest and best man in the world must say, By the grace of God I am what I am; but God says absolutely and it is more than any creature, man or angel, can say I am that I am. Being selfexistent, he cannot but be self-sufficient, and therefore all-sufficient, and the inexhaustible fountain of being and bliss. (2.) That he is eternal and unchangeable, and always the same, yesterday, today, and for ever; he will be what he will be and what he is; see Rev. 1:8. (3.) That we cannot by searching find him out. This is such a name as checks all bold and curious enquiries concerning God, and in effect says, Ask not after my name, seeing it is secret, Jdg. 13:18; Prov. 30:4. Do we ask what is God? Let it suffice us to know that he is what he is, what he ever was, and ever will be. - Matthew Henry
14 Biblical Support for God s Pure Actuality/Existence In the beginning, God (Gen. 1:1) Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (Psalm 90:2) Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:5) He is before all things (Col. 1:17) I am the alpha and omega (Rev. 1:17)
15 God Gave Existence to Everything Else So God created... Every living and moving thing (Gen. 1:21) Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7) The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4) Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it (Isaiah 42:5) Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made (John 1:3) For by Him all things were created... All things were created by Him and for Him (Col. 1:16)
16 Jesus Expresses His Pure Existence So the Jews said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am. (John 8:57 58) Before Abraham was, I am. That is to say: Abraham s existence presupposes mine, not mine his. He was dependent upon me, not I upon him for existence. Abraham came into being at a certain point of time, but I am. Here is simple being without beginning or end. - The Great Doctrines of the Bible
17 A most deeply hidden God, He who is is also a most obvious God. By revealing to the metaphysician that they cannot account for their own existence, all things point to the fact that there is such a supreme cause wherein essence and existence coincide. - Etienne Gilson
18 What is Wrong with this Statement? Aside from God, nothing is selfcaused -A. W. Tozer Knowledge of the Holy, Pg. 25
19 What is Aseity? From Latin aseite, literally of oneself It denotes that God exists in and of Himself, independent of anything else He has no need of anything God is an uncaused being, which is different than self-caused A being cannot be ontologically prior to itself; self-causation is impossible
20 God s Aseity All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life (John 1:3 4) The Father has life in Himself John 5:26 He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else (Acts 17:25) Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? (Romans 11:35)
21 God s Necessity
22 What is Necessity? A necessary Being is one whose nonexistence is impossible. A necessary Being is a Being whose: Nonexistence is not possible Existence is essential Essence is to exist Essence and existence are identical
23 Everything else is a Contingent being A contingent being is a being whose: Nonexistence is possible Existence is not essential Essence is not to exist Essence and existence are not identical
24 God s Necessity If He should determine to do so, If He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath, All flesh would perish together, And man would return to dust. (Job 34:14 15) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Col. 1:17)
25 God s Necessity The Vertical Cosmological Argument Everything in the universe is dependent (contingent) If every part of the universe is dependent, then so is the whole Therefore, the universe is dependent right now on some independent / Necessary Being for its present existence "And He... upholds all things by the word of His power..." Hebrews 1:2-3
26 God s Eternality
27 What is Eternality? God has no past, no present, and no future like we do God is transcendent over time Eternal does not mean endless time, but beyond time Eternality means being nontemporal or timelessness
28 Biblical Support for God s Eternality In the beginning, God (Gen. 1:1) Even from eternity I am He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it? (Isaiah 43:13) But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity. (Micah 5:2)
29 Biblical Support for God s Eternality Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. (Genesis 21:33) Everlasting God = ēl ʿôlām the God of eternity/god, the Eternal One
30 Biblical Support for God s Eternality For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20) Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17) how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)
31 Applications for Us
32 A Self-Existent, Eternal God?? Gimme a Break! Impossible!
33 A Self-Existent, Eternal Universe?? Gimme a Break! Impossible!
34 Fact: You Must Go Back to A Self-Existent, Eternal Something If you deny a self-existent, necessary, and eternal Creator, you must automatically embrace a self-existent, necessary, and eternal universe (or a combination of the two, which is pantheism) Every drop of scientific data we have points to the conclusion that the universe had a beginning and is not eternal Why is an eternal Creator preposterous and an eternal universe not? Because an eternal universe is an amoral entity who doesn t hold anyone accountable.
35 Application #1: Don t be a Rebel Because we are born rebels against God, we are unaware we are one We try to assert our own self-hood and think we re in total control You are never more like the devil than when you rebel against God The attributes of God covered in this presentation are a reminder to us that He is the ultimate and we are not
36 The natural man is a sinner because and only because he challenges God s selfhood in relation to his own. In all else he may willingly accept the sovereignty of God; in his own life he rejects it. For him, God s dominion ends where his begins. For him, self becomes Self, and in this he unconsciously imitates Lucifer, that fallen son of the morning who said in his hear, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.... I will be like the Most High. - A. W. Tozer
37 Application #2: Stay Humble Can a vigorous man be of use to God (Job 22:2) They all wait for You To give them their food in due season. You give to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good. You hide Your face, they are dismayed; You take away their spirit, they expire And return to their dust. You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the ground. (Psalm 104:27 30) What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Corinthians 4:7)
38 Sin has many manifestations but its essence is one. A moral being, created to worship before the throne of God, sits on the throne of his own selfhood and from that elevated position declares, I AM. That is sin in its concentrated essence; yet because it is natural it appears to be good. - A. W. Tozer
39 Application #3: Rely on and Trust God Who among all these does not know That the hand of the Lord has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind? (Job 12:9 10) Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. (1 Timothy 6:17) I will put My trust in Him. (Hebrews 2:13)
40 Application #4: We will Experience the Eternal State As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:14 16) When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)
41 Knowledge of the Holy God s Actuality, Aseity, Necessity, and Eternality
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