My greatest fascination in this life is with the area of theology known as ‘divine ontology’ – in other words, the nature of God’s being. I actually feel quite excited whenever I direct my attention towards this subject area and ponder the immensity of the universe and what this indicates in relation to its Creator.
Perhaps the one attribute of God that delights me the most is His aseity. Without being too gushing about it, the truth is I find it difficult to capture in words the extent to which I’m enthralled by this. It is a truly wonderful and awe-inspiring concept to behold.
The word aseity has Latin roots, with a meaning ‘from’, se meaning ‘self’, and ity meaning ‘ness’. So aseity means ‘from-self-ness’. To expand upon this we might say that the word means ‘self-existing’, and when applied to God, it means He is uncaused or uncreated.
This is very relevant to the philosophical problem of why there is something rather than nothing. Many scientists posit that existence started with a ‘big bang’, but this theory will always beg the question of what came before. It is illogical to argue that something can emerge out of nothing. The solution to this problem is God’s aseity – there has never been a time when God didn’t exist, as His very nature is being.
Pondering God’s aseity has led me to understand that God is not different from existence. If this is true, then everything that exists is a part of God. I’m not arguing for pantheism (which equates God with nature) for I believe the physical world could cease to exist and God, because of His aseity, would remain perfectly whole. Creation is instead contained ‘within God’ and this makes sense because if God is boundless then nothing can exist outside of Him.
The implications of this perspective for traditional theism, where God is seen as separate from His creation, are obvious. If there are no limits to the extent of God’s being, then it logically follows that there can be no freedom from God (free will). Instead, we must see the entirety of creation as an expression of God’s being, and under His control. But that’s another discussion for another time.
What I love about the concept of aseity is that despite being a logical explanation of one of God’s fundamental attributes, it is still deeply mysterious. I invite you to meditate on this concept in all its richness, and should you feel the urge, leave a comment below explaining what the idea means to you.