The Self-Existence of God

by Mike Ratliff

24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Acts 17:24-28 (NASB)

Over the last few decades (perhaps much longer) our society has been doing all it can to eradicate all remnants of what we call the “Christian Worldview” from everyone’s mindsets. Of course this is being done through education, entertainment, social reforms (in name only) and many other things that put the emphasis of our being on man rather than on God. Just a week ago or so I forced myself to watch a history timeline series done in England a few years ago about the 50 days that led up the start of the English Civil war.

I am a history buff and I know quite a bit about several of the people involved in that timeline such as Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, John Bunyan and John Owen. I have also studied the diary of Samuel Pepys who lived during that period. In any case, another thing I am very familiar with is what made up the Puritan movement. I know what it was about and what it was NOT about. This is why it was so painful to watch this 3 part series because it was done by a group of historians in England who did everything they could to misrepresent the Puritans. One line that the one who did most of the talking said that made me almost throw my shoe through the tv screen was this, “The Puritans were all about making sure that no one was having any fun anywhere at any time.” In other words, they painted them as a group of Self-Righteous bigots whose animosity was against the Roman Catholics and anyone who tolerated them. Sigh, yes, they had a great deal of anxiety about what had taken place during the reign of Queen Mary (Bloody Mary) who attempted to return England to the Pope, but, no, their main focus was on purifying the Church of England and worshipping God the way God intended. Why? They believed that all Christians’ main purpose was to live and walk before God was to bring Him glory.

1 Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
3 You turn man back into dust
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
4 For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it passes by,
Or as a watch in the night.
5 You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep;
In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.
6 In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew;
Toward evening it fades and withers away.
7 For we have been consumed by Your anger
And by Your wrath we have been dismayed.
8 You have placed our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your presence.
9 For all our days have declined in Your fury;
We have finished our years like a sigh.
10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
For soon it is gone and we fly away.
11 Who understands the power of Your anger
And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?
12 So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
13 Do return, O LORD; how long will it be?
And be sorry for Your servants.
14 O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness,
That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us,
And the years we have seen evil.
16 Let Your work appear to Your servants
And Your majesty to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;
And confirm for us the work of our hands;
Yes, confirm the work of our hands. Psalms 90 (NASB) 

When the Bible declares that God is the Creator of universe, it indicates that God Himself is not created. There is a crucial distinction between the Creator and the creation. The creation bears the stamp of the Creator and witnesses to His glory. But the creation is never to be worshiped. It is not Supreme.

It is impossible for something to create itself. The concept of self-creation is a contradiction in terms, a nonsense statement. Pause and reflect a bit on that. Nothing can be self-created. Not even God can make Himself. For God to create Himself, He would have to be before He is. Even God can’t do that.

Every effect must have a cause. That is true by definition. But God is not an effect. He has no beginning and therefore no antecedent cause. He is eternal. he always was or is. He has, within Himself, the power of being. He requires no assistance from outside sources to continue to exist. This is what is meant by the idea of self-existent. Granted, it is a lofty and awesome concept. We know of nothing else quite like it. Everything we perceive in our frame of reference is dependent and creaturely. We cannot fully comprehend anything as self-existent.

But just because it is impossible (by definition) that a creature be self-existent does not mean it is impossible for the Creator to be self-existent. God, like us, cannot be self-created. But God, unlike us, can be self-existent. Indeed, this is the very essence of the difference between the Creator and creation. This is what makes Him the Supreme Being and the source of all other beings.

The concept of self-existence violates no law of reason, login, or science. It is a rationally valid notion. By contrast, the concept of self-creation violates the most basic law of reason, logic, and science–the law of noncontradiction. Self-existence is rational; self-creation is irrational.

The notion of something being self-existent is not only rationally possible, it is rationally necessary. Again, reason demands that if anything is, then something must have, within itself, the power of being. Otherwise there would be nothing. Unless something existed in itself, nothing could possibly exist at all.

Perhaps the oldest and deepest question of all is, why is there something rather than nothing? A necessary answer to at least part of the question is because God exists. God exists in Himself eternally. he is the source and fountain-head of all being. He alone has, within Himself, the power ob being. Paul declares our dependence upon the power of God’s being for our own existence when he says, “for in Him we live and move have our being” (Acts 17:28) – The Self-Existence of God from The Reformation Study Bible TM  (2016) – Page 976

Lastly the following is from the Chapter 5 of the Westminster Confession Faith

Of Providence.

I. God, the great Creator of all things, doth uphold, direct dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

II. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly, yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

III. God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at his pleasure.

IV. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first Fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.

V. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God, doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.

VI. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had; and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptatoins of the world, and the power of Satan; whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.

VII. As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures, so, after a most special manner, it taketh care of his Church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.

Soli Deo Gloria!