Theology for All #5: God is Independent

One of the most humbling aspects of God is that He is completely “other” than we are. To put this in other terms, we have no innate capacity to approach God. What we know about God must be learned through revelation. If God does not show Himself to us, we will not come to know Him. That’s a little scary. But the good news is that He has revealed Himself. We talked last week about how God has revealed Himself generally in creation. But God has revealed Himself specially in His Word, the Bible.

            Over the next few articles in this series, we’re going to look at some of the attributes of God that He has revealed about Himself in the Scriptures. If we are going to know our God better and to worship Him more passionately, then we need to study more and more about how He has presented Himself to His creation.

            In this article, I want to look at God’s independence. This may seem like a minor character trait, or even common sense, until you begin to think about it, and realize how unique this attribute is in the history of religions of the world. One of the hallmarks of most world religions is the list of things that the god of the religion needs from its adherents. For example, Baal in the Ancient Near East needed gifts from his creatures in order to ascend from the depths and grant them a good harvest. The God of the Bible is different. The God of the Bible needs absolutely nothing from us. Acts 17:24-25 tells us that God needs nothing from mankind. This may strike a dissonant chord with you. We are often raised to believe that worth is equivalent to production or need. I am needed; therefore, I have value. If I am not needed, what purpose is there to my life? That’s a good question, and it’s one that God answers.

            God didn’t create us and the world because He was lacking something that we would make up for. He created us and the world to bring glory to Himself (Is. 43:7). He created us in His image so that we might experience relationship with Him and live-in fellowship with Him for eternity. Our lives have purpose…we were created to glorify the God of the universe and to steward His creation as his representatives.

            So, what do we do with this aspect of God’s nature? First, it should drive us to a greater awe of Him. Our God needs nothing outside of Himself. Second, it marks out our place in creation. We are not “needed,” but desired. God created us, not out of a lack in Himself, but because He wanted creatures who would glorify Him and have relationship with Him. We are made in His image, and for His glory. Finally, because God is complete within Himself, we can completely trust Him and His promises. There are no contingencies with God where He would find Himself in a position that would prohibit Him from keeping His promises.

            God is independent. He doesn’t need us. And that’s a good thing.