God is Self-Existent – Doctrine 101

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Discussion:
Why do you think God decided to create us?

“Decided” is always an awkward word for anything before the beginning of time. 🙂 I would say it was to manifest His glory, the same reason He does everything else.

In what ways is our kind of “being” influenced by outside sources?

The more I learn about brain psychology, the harder it is to trust
any human reasoning! We are influenced by what we eat, how much we’ve slept, our health, our experiences, etc. — and we rarely realize how much.

How does that make us more like “human becomings” than “human beings”?

My only problem with the term “becoming” is that it implies a fixed goal — which we can only aspire to be true. “Human changings” might be closer to the truth, though at my age I feel more like a “human decaying.”

What are the practical implications of the fact that God is entirely unaffected by anything outside of himself?

God is the one non-contingent reality upon which we can based our ethics, reasoning, and self-worth.
Journal:
Do you believe that God “delights in you”? What difference does that make to the way that you feel about yourself?

Huh. Not sure exactly how this fits into this topic. I suppose the point is that God doesn’t need us, so therefore He is free to love us un-self-interestedly (in a sense). That is, He chose to create me because He loved me.

I’m still not sure how that translates into “delight”, rather than mere “value.” Then again, maybe that’s my larger problem. If I understood/appreciated it better, I’d probably be a lot more psychologically healthy…

Homework:
Read RCS #12 (incl. Bible passages).

Written work:
1. In your own words, write out a definition of what you think the expression “the independence, or the self-existence, of God” means.
2. Summarize the conclusions to the class discussion questions above.

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Doctrine 101: Learning about God
Worksheet 2 – God’s Self-Existence

1. In his chapter on God’s self-existence is R. C. Sproul doing something besides explaining what self-existence means?

Explaining that it is both rational and necessary.

2. Identify what he is doing with self-existence here.

He seems to be using it as an argument for God’s existence.

3. Write down the thoughts that you found especially helpful.

The concept of God’s independence of us, that we are dependent creatures. That is, we need to embrace the “contingent-ness” of our existence and understanding, and find our meaning, purpose, and happiness in God’s non-contingent embrace of us.

4. How does Acts 17.24-26 express the self-existence of God?

He is not limited by our sense of place, or dependent on our efforts for his existence, sustenance, or impact. He made everything we use to serve Him.

5. How does Col 1.16-17 express His self-existence?

He created all things and preceded all things.

6. Write a brief summary of R. C. Sproul’s discussion.

I think his basic point is that there exists a First Cause which is itself uncaused. He makes a philosophical argument such a First Cause must necessarily exist, which is technically true. However, he also asserts that this First Cause is a) discoverable, and b) identical to the God we worship. Which I also agree is true, though (at least here) he doesn’t really justify it.

7. God expects worship and obedience. He does things for His sake. Is He selfish? How does His self-existence help you gain perspective about His demands?

On a larger scale, I think it is actually both rational and moral for every being to seeks its ultimate glory. As created beings, our glory resides in God, which is why it is crucial that we submit to Him. Yet, God also seeks His glory in us, both by glorifying Himself in us, but also by glorifying us in Himself. So, it is not selfish in the sense of exalting Himself at our expense, the way we usually do it on earth.

To me, it is less about God being self-existent that it is about God being the source of our existence. And frankly, we don’t really know what is the source of God’s existence; we just know that everything we perceive is ultimately dependent on (one) God.

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2 thoughts on “God is Self-Existent – Doctrine 101

  1. I really would have enjoyed being in your class! But now I too feel more like decay than creativity, so I will keep my comment to a minimum. I agree, God is the source of everything, including all possibilities–everything is dependent on (one) God. Going out on a limb, the source of God is, for me, the duality of “logical form embedded in the reconciliation of all opposites–Love.”

    In more precise terms, the Buddhist equation form/emptiness, emptiness/form, — the equation that connects everything to everything else, can be expressed as the function/structure of logical implication, which, in turn, forms the root basis of rational exploration. This exploration exists in the psychological mind quadrant of the human being (the motivating source of this quadrant is, as you say, may be influenced by what we eat, how much we’ve slept, our health, our experiences, etc.–but whatever the cause, this cause is still subject to analysis (logic) and that’s why we can identify influences. The evolved universe (non-human universe) also is subject to analysis because it too is structured via logic and physical events. Ultimately, it is this connection, the connection that binds consciousness, emotion, and freedom that liberates the inference that Love reconciles opposites.

    At this level of Wholeness, our human environment (the sensed, emotional, cause/effect environment) becomes the opposite of the psychological mind quadrant or, what I call “the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self” and freedom. My blog name, bwinwnbwi, is an acronym for this condition, being what is not (the sensed, emotional, cause/effect environment) while not being what is (“the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self”}. In other words, God exists first in logic, a logic of opposites, which, in turn, is free to evolve and finally become self-evident in the human species, which, in turn, liberates the The Human Spirit’s Pursuit Of Self-Liberation—the destination of which is “to discover and share love–divine love that makes it all possible!”

    • Thanks! I’m not sure I completely follow you, but I think I largely agree. Except perhaps that I think of “self-liberation” as simultaneously losing and finding oneself by being caught up in love. 🙂

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