I grew up with puppies, ponies, ducklings, chicks, kitties, and bunnies in our large backyard. I saw new babies of every kind. Five years ago I got to see my second grandson just after he was born, and I couldn’t keep the tears from flowing. Birth of any kind is an amazing gift from God. But it’s ironic that God wasn’t born or created -- he is self-existent!
A.W. Tozer quotes the church father, Novation, who said, “God has no origin.” According to Tozer, everything in our world has origin, and origin is a “creature” word, “but when you come back to God, you come back to the One who has no origin. He is the Cause of all things, the uncaused Cause.”
In Exodus 3:11-15 God speaks to Moses through a burning bush, and he says, “I AM the I AM.” Tozer explains that the verb “to be,” as in “I AM,” is the Latin root of the word “essence,” and he describes God as the “original, uncreated essence.” God did not come from any other creature, nothing preceded him into existence. All things originated with God.
How does this attribute of God affect our relationship with him? Certainly it calls us to be humble before God and respect his right to love us and want us to depend on him for ALL things. He is the great “I AM”, and we are the “I am’s,” created in his image. We are the only creature given the gift of speech so that we can enjoy the Word, the Son of God. God’s unique self-existence demands that we acknowledge our position as his creations. Tozer says that the definition of sin is “fallen selfhood.” This means that when we think we are the "I AM", we have disobeyed God and become a little god in our own right. But God made us for something different. We have the opportunity to revolve around him as the planets revolve around the sun. We can experience his warmth, his blessing, his healing, and his light when we recognize that he is the only “I AM!”
I hope that you will take time to ponder Tozer’s prayer and reflect on your personal response to God’s self-existence.
Our Father in Heaven, Thou are God and Thy name is I AM THAT I AM forever. In Thy lovingkindness Thou hast created me, but I have sinned. “All we like sheep have gone astray” -- that’s the essence of sin. We have all turned to our own way, and our own way will end in hell. And our Lord said, “If a man follows Me, let him deny himself.” Father, I recognize Thy right to run my business, to run my home, Thy right to guide my life, Thy right to be all in all to me. “Not I, but Christ be honored, loved, exalted. Not I, but Christ be seen, be heard, be known.” Not I, but Christ.
A.W. Tozer, The Attributes of God, Volume 2, p.32
--by Jane Hall, NCF National Director
This is the eleventh post in a series by NCF Director Jane Hall on God’s attributes. She is inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in The Attributes of God, Volume 2
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