GOD IS SELF-EXISTENT
A being without beginning or end is uncaused.1 Nothing created God, God simply exists. Again, Genesis 1:1 states, “in the beginning God.” God’s existence is stated here as a self-evident truth. Unlike ancient pagan cosmologies, Scripture provides no origin tale for God.2 This lack of a record is meant to support the truth of God’s self-existence.
Self-existence means that God is the source of His existence. God is independent of anything or anyone else; He is the source of His own life (John 5:26). To deny that God is self-existent is to deny the clear teachings of Scripture. Furthermore, a God that is not self-existent is no God at all. Such a denial makes one a fool (Psalm 14:1).
Everything in the created realm is dependent on something else. This dependency is called causation. The Law of Causation states, “Everything which exists in the world must have an adequate cause; and if this is so, the universe must also have an adequate cause, that is a cause which is indefinitely great.”3 In other words, nothing can happen without being caused. Also, the Law of Causation states, “Everything which has a beginning has a cause.”4
Does causation undermine the reality of God’s self-existence? No, it does not. First, the Law of Causation has limitations. It is limited to those things which have a beginning. Scripture says that God has no beginning (Psalm 90:2). Also, note the phrases, ‘everything which exists in the world’ and ‘the universe must also have an adequate cause.’ Causation is limited to the created realm. Since God is eternal, He exists outside of the created realm and not beholden to the Law of Causation.
Second, the Law of Causation requires that everything which exists have an indefinitely greater cause. In other words, something larger than the universe must exist, which in turn created the universe. The Scripture states that God created the universe (Genesis 1:1). The phrase, ‘the heavens and the earth’ is a Hebraic figure of speech which refers to the universe (cf. Genesis 14:19, 22; 2 Kings 19:15; Psalm 121:2).5
Third, that Causation is a Law necessitates the need for a lawgiver. The Scripture states that the Law of Causation is a God-ordained law (Hebrews 3:4). The one who builds all things is none other than God. God is the only cause, and there are no others (Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 45:5; 46:9). Genesis 1:1 reveals that the eternal God is self-sufficient.
1. Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki, Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 47.
2. Nahum M. Sarna, Genesis, The JPS Torah Commentary (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989), 5.
3. L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1938), 26.
4. W.T. Stace, A Critical History of Greek Philosophy (London: MacMillan and Co., 1934), 6.
5. This is known as a merism in which two opposite terms or ideas are joined together into a single, all inclusive concept or idea.
#SelfExistence #Genesis #Genesis1 #God #Theology
God is Eternal
Genesis 1:1 states, “in the beginning God.” The Hebrew term b’rêshîth or beginning refers to an absolute beginning. The phrase in the beginning relates to the absolute beginning of all things. All things include time, space, and matter. In other words, at the beginning of time, space, and matter, God was already existing. God was already existing is known as eternality. Eternality means that God has no beginning or end (Deuteronomy 32:40; Psalm 102:27).
Since God is without beginning or end, He is free from the succession of time (1 Corinthians 2:7).1 The term ages, in 1 Corinthians 2:7, comes from the Greek term aiōn, which refers to the existence of time. Paul states here that God's wisdom was decreed before the existence of time. If God’s wisdom existed before the existence of time, then God Himself must also exist before time. God’s eternality extends beyond time; He is infinite (Psalm 90:2). “From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God” demonstrates that there is no distinction in time for God. The past, present, and future are an equally current reality to Him.
God not only existed before time; He existed before all of space (Ephesians 1:4). The term foundation (katabolē) refers to the process of conception. The term world (kosmos) refers to the universe. Thus the “foundations of the world” relate to the method of the universe's conception. Before the universe was conceived, God chose to make believers holy and blameless.
Furthermore, God existed before all of matter (Psalm 90:2). Scripture views the mountains as one of the most ancient parts of inhabitable creation (Deuteronomy 33:15). The idea is that the mountains would have been the first part of the land that emerged out of the sea. The mood of the verb brought forth (yalad) means to be born. Thus, the phrase “before the mountains were brought forth” is a Hebrew mechanism for expressing the idea of “before the earth was born.”2 In other words, before the earth (i.e., matter) came into existence, God was. God’s eternality means that He exists before time, space, and matter. As well, He is not dependent upon time, space, or matter; rather, God is beyond time, space, and matter. Genesis 1:1 reveals the eternal God.
1. A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1907), 276.
2. Albert Barnes & James Murphy, Barnes' Notes on the Old and New Testaments: Psalms, Volume 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1983), 3.
#Eternality, #God, #Genesis; #Genesis1 #Theology
Rev. Gregory G. capel, jr
Pastor of Trinity Bible Church, Administrator of Trinity Biblical School of Theology, and President of Beginning with Genesis Ministries