God's Non-Transmittable Attributes (Part Five): Independence
by Martin G. Collins
The great and eternal God is a Being of
glorious attributes, many of which are beyond our limited human capacity to comprehend fully (Job 42:3; Psalm 147:5). However, our understanding and appreciation of how His non-transmittable attributes contribute to His divine nature are crucial to establishing an appropriate relationship with Him (Jeremiah 29:12-13; 31:33-34; II Peter 3:18; John 17:3).
In previous studies in this series, we have discussed His omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, and immutability. Each of these attributes, particularly when considered collectively, suggest another critical aspect of God’s
character, power, and existence: His complete and total independence.
1. What does God’s independence entail? Exodus 3:14.
Comment: Independence is commonly defined as “the state or quality of being independent.” It implies total freedom from any external control
or influence, especially the ability to act without interference by another or by circumstance. It also signifies self-existence, self-support, or self-government.
In Exodus 3:14, God revealed to Moses His eternal, self-existence by declaring “I AM WHO I AM.” The psalmist declares,
“Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3), and “Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven
and in earth, in the seas and all deep places” (Psalm 135:6).
actions are always voluntary; He cannot be compelled to act by any other person or external force. Only His nature and will are determinative of His actions (Ephesians 1:11). God alone created everything (Psalm 102:25; Job 38:4; John 1:3), and gave life, which has always existed within Him, to human beings (John 1:4; 5:26; Colossians 1:16-17). He predated all creation (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 1:10).
2. Does God have any needs? Acts
Comment: Unlike man, God never experiences need. Therefore, serving Him should never be motivated by the thought that He needs whatever we may give or offer (Job 41:11; Romans 11:34-35). In fact, all things, animate and inanimate, depend solely on His power, which
created and sustains them. The Charles Buck Theological Dictionary states:
If, therefore, all things depend on God, then it would be absurdity to say that God depends on anything,
for this would be to suppose the cause and the effect to be mutually dependent on and derived from each other, which infers a contradiction.
Even though He is not dependent on His creatures
or His creation for anything, both can and should bring Him glory (Psalm 8:3; 96:1-9; Isaiah 42:12; Romans 1:20; Revelation 4:11). He is the Creator of everything (Colossians 1:17), and the Provider of everything
3. Has God ever looked to any man
for help? Job 22:2-3.
Comment: Ever since God created mankind, He has
chosen to work many things through human beings. However, God never needed anyone—Abraham, Noah, or Moses (among many others)—to accomplish His works. Being independent, God is not obligated to any man in any way unless He chooses to initiate
an obligation (Genesis 15; Deuteronomy 28:1-14).
He does not have to do anything for us unless He wills to do so (Romans 9:18). Therefore, we cannot
put Him in our debt for any reason (Job 41:11; Romans 11:34-35). In fact, man can place no restrictions whatsoever upon his Creator (Numbers 23:19-20; Isaiah 40:13-14, 17; Job 36:23; Romans 9:20).
God’s independence is such that He is free from limitations on either His goodness or His greatness. His divine nature ensures that His decisions are perfectly wise and consistent. He never acts illogically or absurdly, nor does He act arbitrarily or impulsively.
So, even though He is completely independent, His freedom is perfect freedom. He always acts for good and not evil (James 1:17)
and in ways that reveal His glory and greatness (Exodus 34:5-7). Knowing this, all Christians should follow in Moses’ wise footsteps
as demonstrated in Exodus 34:8: “So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.”