What does it mean that God is Independent?
I freely admit that I am a needy person. I need oxygen, food, water, companionship, and so many other things to live. God is in need of nothing. This is amazing!
So, what does it mean that God is Independent? God doesn’t need us or the rest of creation for anything (Acts 17:24-25). He doesn't need us to make the world go round. He doesn't need us for fellowship. For happiness or to some how complete Himself. He has everything that He needs in Himself. Yet, we and the rest of creation can glorify Him and bring Him joy.
I can't truly comprehend the independence of God because I am completely dependent on Him! Yet, we can know certain things, let's look at what God says about His independence.
Independence in the Trinity
I have written a long post about the Trinity, it can be found here. I defined the Trinity as:
The Bible teaches that there is one eternal God (Deuteronomy 4:35; 6:4). The one true God exists in three distinct Persons who share the same divine nature. The Father is God (1 Corinthians 8:6; John 6:27; 1 Peter 1:2). The Son is God (John 1:1; 1:18; 20:28; Hebrews 1:8). The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4; Romans 8:9). There is One God. The Father is not the Son and/or the Spirit. The Son is not the Father and/or the Spirit. The Spirit is not the Father and/or the Son. There are three divine Persons who are co-existent, co-eternal, and co-equal (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19).
This marvelous God who is one and yet three distinct Persons has everything He would ever need in Himself.
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things. (Acts 17:24-25, bold added)
God’s independence means that God doesn’t need us or the rest of creation for anything. Yet, we and the rest of creation can glorify Him and bring Him joy. The Triune God is perfect in everything, lacking in nothing. How wonderful is this? God doesn't need us to fulfill Him in any way. Yet, He loved us enough to give His Son to die for us,
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Some have wrongly said that God needs man to fulfill Him in some way: this is untrue. God doesn’t need man to fulfill anything lacking in Himself. Nothing lacking in the character of God. He also doesn’t need man to do His work. God could do all His holy will with a word. Yet, He chooses to accomplish His purposes using men.
God’s purpose in the salvific sense is to redeem men unto Himself, not because He needs us, but for:
His own glory because of His love (Ephesians 1:3-14)
An inheritance (Ephesians 1:18, Revelation 5:9)
Man’s great pleasure and satisfaction (2 Timothy 1:9)
What a privilege it is that God has chosen to reveal Himself to man. We get to walk with God once again. Not because of anything we have done, but because of everything He has done. If this weren’t enough, we have the awesome responsibility to participate in the reconciliation of sinners unto God.
The Great Cost of Salvation
Every time I think of the independence of God the cost of our salvation overwhelms me. I just can't fathom it. I have heard it said before that the Trinity is a blessed dance. All three Persons independent of man, working together in perfect harmony for eternity. Think of it, God as a Trinity has never been separated. Their relationship was never broken.
Until that cursed day over 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ the Son of God, second Person of the Trinity was placarded to a tree. As a demonstration to all that He was under the curse of God, the wrath of God, because of sin. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) For the first and only time, the independent relationship of the Trinity was severed. This makes me think of the song How deep the Father's Love for us, by Stewart Townend,
How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure, That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure. How great the pain of searing loss – The Father turns His face away, As wounds which mar the Chosen One Bring many sons to glory. Behold the man upon a cross, My sin upon His shoulders; Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice Call out among the scoffers. It was my sin that held Him there Until it was accomplished; His dying breath has brought me life – I know that it is finished. I will not boast in anything, No gifts, no power, no wisdom; But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection. Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer, But this I know with all my heart – His wounds have paid my ransom.
What a cost! It had to be paid. The blessed dance of the Trinity was broken because of sin. My sin, your sin, the sin of every man, woman, and child. I pray that the Lord God would break my heart and your heart over this truth! That we would fall on our knees and praise the God that paid such a price to save us, and bring many sons to glory! (Some of the content on this page is taken out of my book: Knowing the God We Proclaim) (To discover more about God, see our page, Who is God?)