Genesis 1:1-The Self Existent God

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God…

One of the problems with being a person who grew up in Church is I find myself reading over verses in the Bible without even thinking about them sometimes because I’ve read them so many times before.

Genesis 1:1 is definitely one of those verses because I have heard the creation story countless times. However this keeps me from realizing just how important the first four words of Scripture are.

In the beginning God

In these four simple words we have a foundational truth about God that will revolutionize the way we look at life. Not only does God exist, but He has ALWAYS EXISTED, and He WILL ALWAYS EXIST.

It’s interesting that there are no proofs are arguments here that God is a real…instead the fact that God’s existence is taken for granted.  The Bible focuses only on the fact that this is an eternal existence.

The fact that God’s eternal is an awesome thought (something we could never truly understand) but the amazing thing is those four words share a more powerful truth.

God’s being eternal means there is no beginning or end.

So He is self-existent.

In the book of Exodus God sends a man named Moses to deliver His people the Children of Israel from Egyptian captivity. Because they had lived in Egypt for so long the Israelites would have many Gods, so Moses asked what God he should say had sent Him. Here is how God responded.

Ex. 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

The name “I Am” and Hebrew name for God Yahweh [1] are basically synonymous meaning “the one who is,” or “self-existent one.[2]

So when Moses asks for God’s name His response is, “I’m the one who exists on my own power. I don’t need anyone elses help or strength.

Why is the fact that God’s self-existent such a big deal you may ask?

It’s actually pretty simple, we aren’t.

See the fact is all of us have been created to rely on others for help. It’s true that some individuals are able to deal with stressful situations better than others, but we all have a breaking point where we turn to someone else for help.

Because God is eternal and self-existent He doesn’t have a breaking point. This is at the same time incredibly encouraging, and convicting.

The encouragement comes from an understanding there is someone who will not be overwhelmed or broken by my struggles. Sadly many times when turning to friends for strength we find they are just as overwhelmed with the challenges of life as we are! There’s an incredible peace in knowing God has the power to care for all of our needs.

There is conviction too however because life teaches us daily that we aren’t self-sustaining (able to care for everything on our own). And with each reminder there is a little voice that says “you know things aren’t supposed to be this way (living in our own strength) [3].

We were created to rely upon the self-existent eternal God for our every need, however we (myself included) prefer to view ourselves as self-existent individuals who can take care of everything on our own.

This is why God brings massive challenges into our lives…to remind us that we weren’t created to live on our own. And deep down inside we know it [4].

Okay so how can the self-existence of God be applied to our lives? It all has to do with how we respond to being overwhelmed.

We are all overwhelmed at different moments, for me it’s first thing in the morning, or falling asleep at night. In those moments part of me goes into fixing mode trying to care for all of my problems.

The problem with this is I can’t do that…I wasn’t created to fix everything.

Lately my response to those situations is prayer to God the self-existent eternal one.

The one who was there in the beginning, and will always be there.

The one who is in control of everything.

And most importantly the one who doesn’t need my help


  1. usually translated “Lord” in our English Bibles  ↩
  2. Note from By This Name by John Cross, pg. 21  ↩
  3. living in our own strength or wisdom  ↩
  4. that feeling of emptiness or lack of satisfaction in life is a huge proof that God indeed exists  ↩

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