In this series, we are establishing a theological foundation for conservatism, specifically the objective nature of aesthetic judgments. See part 1 here.
God’s aseity is the foundation of a fully Christian worldview.
Definition of aseity
Aseity is at least roughly synonymous with the concepts of the self-existence and independence of God. Cornelius Van Til is fond of another similar expression; he regularly speaks of God as the self-contained Trinity. In short, we acknowledge that God is a se (that is, of himself) when we assert that “God does not need us or the rest of creation for anything.”1
The simplest path toward understanding the aseity of God is to consider God’s existence prior to and thus apart from2 creation. God, apart from creation, was utterly without need or lack. Nothing about God depends on the existence of creation; to assert that creation is, in any way, necessary, brings Creator and creature to the same ontological level.
Even if we believe, in some sense, that God created for his own glory, this cannot drive us to the conclusion that God lacked some level of glory, and that he addressed this deficiency by means of creation.
Biblical foundations of the aseity of God
2Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
11You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.
John 17:5, 24
5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
24Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
24The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 160. [↩]
- I recognize the problems of this language; prior to creation, time did not exist, and thus it is nonsensical to speak of anything prior to time. And apart from creation seems to denote spatial relations that, likewise, would not be meaningful before creation. Unfortunately, I don’t believe I have any better language available to me. [↩]