What do we mean when we say that God is self-existing?
When we say that God is self-existing we mean that He does not owe His existence to any other being.
As a child, each time I heard the story of Moses and the burning bush, I couldn’t help but think of Popeye the sailor man. The words which God spoke to Moses, “I am who I am,” sounded just a little too much like Popeye’s frequent statement, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam!” And although the two statements sound alike, in reality they are very different. When Popeye the sailor man, or any of us for that matter, make the statement, “I am who I am,” we are admitting that we can only be the person that God created us to be. Through our own choices and actions, some of us are more in line than others when it comes to being the unique person God created, but one thing is certain with each and every one of us–we owe our existence to someone else.
God, on the other hand, is self-existent. He has no beginning and no end. He has just always been around. God simply is. Moses’ encounter with God on Mt. Sinai can help us to see a small part of what this means. The story tells us that when told by God to go Egypt as his messenger, Moses responded, “And if I am asked who has sent me, what name should I give?” as if to say, “Which god are you?” God’s response, “I am who I am,” makes it clear that Moses is not speaking to one of the gods nor is he speaking to a creature, but rather to the one God who is the origin of all creation.
When we enter into prayer, we too find ourselves face to face with the God who has existed for all ages. What an amazing thing it is to know that the God who cannot be contained wants to be in relationship with each of us, letting us know that the Creator isn’t finished with his creation. He continues his work on us each day, molding each of us more and more into the unique person he has intended us to be from the beginning.