Aseity is one of the attributes of God. It essentially means that God is self-existent. His existence is not dependent on anyone or anything else. I believe that the name God uses for himself when talking with Moses at the burning bush describes this attribute well. God tells Moses that his name is “I Am“. God just is.
Necessary and Contingent
Philosophers use a pair of words to describe existence. A being, or thing, is either necessary or it is contingent. A necessary being is one that must exist. There is no possibility of its non-existence.
A contingent being, on the other hand, depends on something else for its existence. And a contingent being does not have to exist. For example, I am contingent. I did not have to be born. And my continued existence depends on many other things. I am contingent on the decision of my parents to have me, a suitable environment to sustain me, and the ongoing existence of the universe.
The universe itself is contingent. The universe has not always existed. Nor is there any known physical reason why it exists rather than not. It could just as easily not have been.
Inherent in the attribute of aseity is that the God of the Bible is a necessary being. He has always existed, and there is no possibility of his non-existence. He is the ultimate cause behind every contingent being or thing.
A necessary being is necessarily an eternal being. Since there is no possibility of its non-existence, it must be eternal. Without beginning and without end.
Our finite human minds do not comprehend eternity very well. At least mine does not. Trying to imagine an existence that has always been is hard. And it is an existence that precedes everything else. Before the universe existed, God was.
But just because I struggle with imagining the eternal existence that is a part of aseity does not negate it. Something must, of necessity, have existed before the universe in order to bring it into existence.
In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,Psalm 102:25-27 NIV
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.
Where Did God Come From?
Some will argue, who created God? This is really only a silly argument from an atheist who has not thought it out very well. All of existence is dependent on something that necessarily exists. Otherwise, we have to speculate an infinite regress of contingent causes that ultimately produced the universe.
But if the causal chain was infinite, it could never have reached the point of creating us and our universe. So, if there is not a necessary God, then some other universe-creating mechanism must be necessary. And that is really no better than accepting God as necessary.
- The Doctrine of the Sovereignty of God (7/2/2015) - God is sovereign, and has a plan and purpose for his creation that will be accomplished. But his plan takes into account his foreknowledge of our choices.
- The Doctrine of the Trinity (12/26/2016) - The Trinity is a uniquely Christian doctrine, teaching that there is only one God, but in three persons having one essence.
- The Doctrine of Election: Who Are the Elect? (2/8/2019) - The doctrine of election is confusing and lies at the heart of many theological disputes. It simply refers to God's choosing of his people.
- The Doctrine of the Kingdom of God (2/22/2019) - What is the Kingdom of God that is spoken of so much in the New Testament. It is the spiritual rule of God in the life of believers.
- The Doctrine of Prayer: What Is Prayer? (9/6/2019) - The doctrine of prayer looks at what the Bible has to say about prayer. Why do we pray? Does it accomplish anything? What is its purpose?
- The Doctrine of Hope: What Is Our Hope As Believers? (5/22/2020) - The doctrine of hope is an important one for believers. Hope is the earnest expectation of what God has in store for us. And hope holds us steady today.
- Aseity, the Self-existence and Eternally of God. (9/4/2020) - One of the attributes commonly associated with God is aseity. That God is a self-existent necessary being who is eternal.
- The Doctrine of Predestination? (9/3/2021) - The doctrine of predestination is hotly debated. But it is not really that complicated. It simply refers to what God has decided beforehand.
- The Doctrine of Corporate Election (10/21/2023) - The doctrine of corporate election teaches that we are elect when we are in Christ. Election is not an individual matter.