“So brim-full of existence that He can give existence away…”

god finger

This lesson states that God has incredible power and is not bound by the laws of nature. (This is a reaction to the January 1 bible study lesson at http://www.ssnet.org/lessons/13a/less01.html.) The amazing thing is that He actually has infinite power, endless power.

The lesson mentions that we don’t know how God created. That’s true. We can imagine all sorts of amazing construction projects, and we can imagine energy being converted into matter. But what we really can’t understand is existence itself being created. But that’s the only scenario that makes sense, unless you think that the universe has existed forever, and that contradicts the Bible, which says that God created all things. (I remember reading that a famous atheist said that the most profound mystery is why there is existence at all rather than non-existence.)

This reminds me of what the theologian Thomas Aquinas wrote: that God is the source of all existence–nothing else has existence except through Him–and He gives existence away to things and beings who didn’t have it before. The Christian author C.S. Lewis put it this way: “He is so brim-full of existence that He can give existence away, can cause things to be, and to be really other than Himself, can make it untrue to say that He is everything.” The image is of a God overflowing with sheer existence and letting it spill over into new beings who then suddenly exist.

Imagine having all the other qualities of life that you have, such as color and breath and thought, but lacking the quality of existence. It doesn’t make sense. But Aquinas gets deep into the philosophy behind this in his book Summa Theologica. What I got out of it is that God is really amazing in His ability to cause things to simply exist.

That is sort of like His primary power that no other being could ever have. Every other thing or being in existence has to have the quality of existence, and only God can supply it. We are utterly dependent on Him. Wonderfully, He is also utterly loving and constantly giving.

~Lemuel Bach
(Praise Team Leader at New Horizons SDA Church in Republic, MO)

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