As we learn about God there are many incredible truths about Him to discover. Early on we try to wrap our minds around the concept of being truly “eternal”. Only God is truly Eternal in the sense that God is from everlasting and to everlasting. And we struggle to wrap our brains around that. Then we learn that God is All Knowing. And we get quiet as we try to absorb the magnitude of knowing everything. Someone teaches us that God is omnipresent and we clutch at the possibility of being one hundred percent present in every corner of creation and every moment of time all at the same time all of the time. We heard about an attribute of God somewhere called omnipotence. All of our superheroes and legends became smaller as we thought about God being “Almighty”. We almost leap back into the pages of the sacred text to find out more about this God we are learning to know and we turn page after page in wonder as we try to suspend our disbelief and accept by faith that God is still more unknowable than He is known after all this time. And then we read the words that Paul said about God to the Areopagites on Mars Hill. Luke, the Beloved Physician, chronicler of the Christ of God and his holy apostles was moved by the Holy Ghost to record the words so we could read them back again and again. Of the unknown God Paul said this “as if He needed anything…”.
The emphasis on “anything” is mine. I have no idea if Paul inflected the word when first he spoke it. But it’s precisely that word that reveals one of the most incredible truths about God. Jehovah doesn’t need anything. The pagans of Athens had spent centuries bringing him gifts of vegetables, bread, nuts, and flesh. But God doesn’t get hungry. They built Him Palacial temples of ivory and gold. But God doesn’t need to come in out of the cold. God doesn’t go fishing, plant crops, draw water from the well at the edge of town. He doesn’t need to. Once upon a time, God made time. In the Beginning, He made the space that our reality occupies. He made the planets, the stars, including our world and our Sun. That means that He existed without any of those things. And He is eternal. That means He existed forever and for evermore before anything else did. How long could a person live without ground to stand on or a sky to gaze toward? How long can one go without food? A few days? Water? Even less time. But God managed to get along just fine before any of those things existed. Forever.
Some people refer to this truth about God as His “Independence”. Others call it His “self-sufficiency”. Theologians use a word that comes from Latin, “aseity”, which refers to the state of being alone or by oneself. For all Eternity, God existed utterly “By Himself”. Whatever it is called, it is a staggering idea. God doesn’t really need anything… or … anyone.
God doesn’t need me. He got along just fine without me for all Eternity past, and if I chose not to accept Everlasting Life from His open hand, then God would keep on getting along just fine without me for all Eternity yet to come. All of my silly notions of being integral to God’s plans, God’s purposes, God’s essential being are challenged by this truth. I’m ultimately unnecessary. Because in the final analysis the only One Creation needs to exist, is the One Who alone doesn’t need Creation to exist. I don’t know how I feel about that. If I’m not needed, does that mean I am not valuable?
Perhaps the very opposite is true. Could it be that the only way to truly know the value of a person or thing is to completely remove any necessity or profit derived from it. Anyone who needs me finds in me intrinsic value. I am worthy because I am worth something. But anyone who doesn’t need me has the ability to truly value me for me alone. God doesn’t need me. But how does God assess my value? How much am I worth to God?
Before the beginning, in the vastness of the ultimate void where space and time were not, God thought of me. God dreamed of me. God envisioned me. He didn’t decide to make me. He didn’t think up the idea of me. He has always known everything. The Self-existent Eternal Mighty Three always knew me before there was me. He knew that I was going to be. And He knew what and who I would be. Every failure. Every curse. Every stumble. Even every deliberate act of rebellion and every willful hurt. God knew. He knew it all and chose to make me anyway. Or rather, He never wavered from His eternal decree that I would come to be. He also knew that I would be unable to save myself from myself. And that I would need the one thing that only He could become: My Saviour. From time out of mind He always knew what I would cost Him. And He made me anyway. Before He shaped the body of my ancestor from the dust of Eden He already felt the nails in His hands. Before He said “Let there be light” He had already said “It is Finished”. Does God need me? Not at all. But does God value me? There stands a lamb before the throne of God with holes in his hands and feet and a scar in his side. The pierced lamb is the eternal testament to how much I am worth to the God who made me.