When I ask students what they believe the greatest attribute of God that is needed to be understood, most will say his love. Others will say his grace and mercy and justice and knowledge. While all of these most definitely are necessary to be grasped–at the same time!–I believe a robust understanding of what has been known as God’s aseity is needed now more than ever.
What lacks in our understanding of God is an exalted majesty. It is commonplace to speak of him as though he were one of us. He is wholly different. He didn’t come from somewhere. He cannot be compared to paltry conceptions of what is acceptable. He made all things and, therefore, owns all things–even your very life.
Rather than this being a sledgehammer, it can be a transcendent balm to my hurts and pain. If he is unable to rule over my affairs, then wherein lies my hope? My ability? Your ability?
Yet, this is still not getting at his aseity.
God exists independently. Free from all things. He does not need us. He does not need the world. He does not need. This is why we can fully grasp his wholly otherness. We can never get out of our fishbowl. He does not need a next breath. He does not need food. He does not need shelter. As Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, he exists in complete happiness and does not need.
The better we grasp his joy as free, the better we will worship him. The better, then, we will grasp his mercy and grace and justice. But it only after we have acknowledged his wholly otherness that we will begin to grasp his other attributes. For then he does not exist in mere service to us and our wants. He transcends even these wants…and thereby is the only one who can satisfy those wants and needs.