Does God Need Us?
I remember vividly a conversation I had once with my dad.
“Hey dad,” I said. “I need you to buy me a new skateboard.”
“What happened to your old skateboard?” he asked. “Did it break?”
“No. They just came out with a new model, and I need to upgrade to the new and improved one. It is way cooler and way safer.” I smiled.
“Let me get this straight,” he said. “Are you trying to tell me that there is nothing wrong with the skateboard you have now, except that it is an old model that is not as cool and not as safe? And this is something you need?”
“Yes,” I said sheepishly.
“Son, we need to have a discussion about knowing the difference between a want and a need. The skateboard is not a need, it is a want.”
After that discussion, my dad and I have had numerous discussions, sometimes battles, concerning what was really a want and what was really a need. It was a riveting time for me to take a good look at my motivations, desires, and sin. Many things that I wanted would be, wrongly, turned into needs to satisfy my sinful desires. I eventually learned over time how vital this distinction is to both our physical and spiritual maturity.
However, we tend to confuse our wants and needs during the journey of discipleship, losing clear sight of the very truth the Word of God declares. Unfortunately, because of this confusion, we can even lose sight of what is right and what is wrong. Iiah 5:20 "What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil,that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter" Isaiah 5:20 (NLT). Because of the corruption of sin in our lives, since the fall of man in the garden, there has been another tug-of-war resting in the realm of wants and needs. We have the tension of Christ wanting us to be good and Christ wanting us to be satisfied. Immediately, we are faced with the problem. What satisfies may not be something good and what is good may not satisfy.
And here we continue our struggle for life and godliness. It is my aspiration that this setting will provide a good foundation for our topic. At any rate, there is hope for us all, and it becomes abundantly clear when we apply this concept to an important attribute of God. The Aseity of God.D.A. Carson gave us a great description of this attribute of God when he said, “God is so much from Himself, that He’s not dependent upon anybody. I’m not from myself. I’m from my mommy and daddy.” Moreover, there is no lack in God. There is no void in Him that He needs filled. He is truly self-sufficient. Augustus Strong wrote in his Systematic Theology, “That God exists by the necessity of his own being. It is his nature to be. Hence the existence of God is not a contingent but a necessary existence. It is grounded, not in his volition, but in his nature.” The question then remains: Does God Need Us?
The answer is a resounding…No. “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need" Acts 17:24-25, NLT. Over the years, we may have looked upon our relationship with God as “symbiotic” or one that is interdependent. We need Him. That much is clear. Nevertheless, we may also have the idea that God needs us as well. We may imagine Him as a lonely divine being sitting on the clouds in the sky wishing that He could at least have a simple conversation with someone. We may see Him as dependent on us to carry out his will like the gods in Greek mythology needed their servants and demi-gods to do their bidding. When we were growing up, we may have been taught that God needs us to motivate us to do His will because His purposes will not be done if we don’t do it for Him. This teaching is declared to cause us to pray more earnestly, to worship more heartily, to evangelize more passionately, to serve more diligently.
Unfortunately, this causes a great distortion to our perception of Christ. Understand that a God that is not independent of His creation is not a God at all. Indirectly, our faith will be weakened, and we will despair in the thought that God is not able because he is so dependent on us. How can a person who is stuck in the mud with you, save you? He may be stronger, smarter, faster, with better reflexes, but he is stuck in the mud nonetheless and needs help himself.
We need to perceive God as the God that is declared in His Word, not the God that we can mentally exhaust in our insufficient minds. Additionally, the more we struggle to understand His being, the more it becomes clear that He is a self-sufficient God. I always put it this way, the more incomprehensible the Divine Trinity, the more comprehendible that it is Divine. Again, the less I can comprehend the very nature of God, the more confident I become that He is God. Consequently, the more like man we perceive Him, the less confidence we have in Him.
Psalm 90:2 - Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. (NLT)
He is self-sufficient and uncontainable. Even His name transcends dependance.
Exodus 3:14 - God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.” (NLT)
Hopefully, I have been able to convince you that God does not need us and we should never think that He does. Now, let’s get our original need and want discussion into the game. If God does not need us then why are we here? This is a question that could lead us to believe that He really needs us. Some may say, “He wouldn’t have created us if He didn’t need us. Right?”
Simply, we are here not because He needs us, but because He wants us. He wanted to share with His creation the beauty of His love and glory. Furthermore, He wanted to give to us Himself so we could experience the majesty and wonder of His Holy Triune Being. Amazingly, He does not need us, He wants us. And because He wants us, He will not ever lose us. Even when sin came into the picture and severed our direct communion with God, He sent His only Son to come into the world to seek and save that which was lost. Yes, Jesus died for our sins and He was buried and raised on the third day all according to the scriptures. He will accomplish all that He desires and what an accomplishment it will be.
Psalm 115:3 - Our God is in the heavens, and he does as he wishes. (NLT)
Isaiah 46:10 - Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. (NLT)
We, His church, belong to Him and His desire is for us. Today, we may struggle and suffer many things in life, but we can confidently rest in God’s self-sufficiency. The understanding of Christ not needing us should not be one of discomfort, but one of true victory and celebration. Because He is not “needy,” we can be confident that He is able to provide all that we need. We can be confident that He is truly able to do much more than we could ever ask or imagine. We can be confident that He truly loves His church. We can be confident that He will finish the work He started in us. We can be confident that nothing will separate us from the love of God. Family, even though He does not need anything from us, He wants to share everything with us.
“Don Carson - The Aseity of God.” May 19, 2009. Video clip. Accessed October 1, 2014. YouTube. www.Youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B4J_An6i2I
Strong, Augustus Hopkins. Systematic Theology: A Compendium. Valley Forge: Judson Press, 1967.