Christianity 201

January 24, 2023

God the Uncreated One

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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Today’s thoughts are taken from two consecutive daily devotions by no less than A.W. Tozer, which appear daily at the website of The Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination’s devotional page. Tozer was known for his emphasis on the deeper life movement. His message, informed as it was by A.B. Simpson the founder of The Alliance, brought the missionary call to a massive audience. Today he is still frequently quoted by authors, pastors and Christian leaders.

His books have been published around the world and in many languages. These two devotionals were compiled from the book: The Knowledge of the Holy. (These can be found at the site’s postings for January 22nd and 23rd, 2023.)

Someone Who Was Made of None

Verse:

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.”
— Revelation 11:17

Devotional:

Lord of all being! Thou alone canst affirm I AM THAT I AM; yet we who are made in Thine image may each one repeat “I am,” so confessing that we derive from Thee and that our words are but an echo of Thine own. We acknowledge Thee to be the great Original of which we through Thy goodness are grateful if imperfect copies. We worship Thee, O Father Everlasting. Amen.

“God has no origin,” said Novatian, and it is precisely this concept of no-origin that distinguishes That-which-is-God from whatever is not God. Origin is a word that can apply only to things created. When we think of anything that has origin, we are not thinking of God. God is self-existent, while all created things necessarily originated somewhere at some time.

Aside from God, nothing is self-caused. By our effort to discover the origin of things, we confess our belief that everything was made by Someone who was made of none. By familiar experience we are taught that everything “came from” something else. Whatever exists must have had a cause that antidates it and was at least equal to it, since the lesser cannot produce the greater. Any person or thing may be at once both caused and the cause of someone or something else; and so, back to the One who is the cause of all but is Himself caused by none.

Thought:

God’s nature, the fact that He has no origin, is that which sets Him apart from everything that is not God.

Prayer:

Father, can we ever understand Your majesty, Your self-existence? Never! Help us, then, to understand our place in Your creation as Your created beings.

The Idea of the Uncreated

Verse:

Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
— Exodus 33:21–23

Devotional:

The child by his questions, “Where did God come from?” is unwittingly acknowledging his creaturehood. Already the concept of cause and source and origin is firmly fixed in his mind. He knows that everything around him came from something other than itself, and he simply extends that concept upward to God. The little philosopher is thinking in true creature-idiom and, allowing for his lack of basic information, he is reasoning correctly.

He must be told that God has no origin, and he will find this hard to grasp because it introduces a category with which he is wholly unfamiliar and contradicts the bent toward origin-seeking so deeply ingrained in all intelligent beings, a bent that propels them to probe ever back and back toward undiscovered beginnings. To think steadily of that to which the idea of origin cannot apply is not easy, if indeed it is possible at all.

Just as under certain conditions a tiny point of light can be seen, not be looking directly at it but by focusing the eyes slightly to one side, so it is with the idea of the Uncreated. When we try to focus our thought upon One who is pure uncreated being, we may see nothing at all, for He dwells in light that no man can approach unto. Only by faith and love are we able to glimpse Him as he passes by our shelter in the cleft of the rock.

“And although this knowledge is very cloudy, vague and general,” says Michael de Molinos, “yet, being supernatural, it produces far more clear and perfect cognition of God than any sensible or particular apprehension that can be formed in this life; because all corporeal and sensible images are immeasurably remote from God.”

The human mind, being created, has an understandable uneasiness about the Uncreated. We do not find it comfortable to allow for the presence of One who is wholly outside of the circle of our familiar knowledge. We tend to be disquieted by the thought of One who does not account to us for His being, who is responsible to no one, who is self-existent, self-independent, and self-sufficient.

Thought:

The human mind cannot comprehend the presence of God because He is beyond our knowledge. He is responsible to no one and is entirely self-existent.

Prayer:

Lord, can we, like Moses, ask to see Your glory? We know we cannot see Your face, but can we catch a flitting glimpse of Your back? In doing so, perhaps we can come to understand, if only partly, the concept of Your uncreatedness.

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