The Self-Existence of God: An Interview with Tozier (Part II)

A.W. Tozier

See Part I of this “interview” here:

Q: When we think of God‘s origin, how are we to frame that in our minds?

A: 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.

Q: But didn’t God create us to naturally wonder and question things and seek to learn more about them, especially Him?

A: The child by his question, “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 since 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 impels them to probe ever back and back toward undiscovered beginnings.

Q: If created man in His own image, why would God himself create our minds to wonder about the incomprehensible?

A: 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 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-dependent and self-sufficient.

Philosophy and science have not always been friendly toward the idea of God, the reason being that they are dedicated to the task of accounting for things and are impatient with anything that refuses to give an account of itself. The philosopher and scientist will admit that there is much they do not know; but that is quite another thing from admitting that there is something which they can NEVER know, which indeed they have no technique for discovering. To admit there is One who lies beyond us, who exists outside of all categories, who will not be dismissed with a name, who will not appear before the bar of our reason, nor submit to our curious inquiries: this requires a great deal of humility, more than most of us possess, so we save face by thinking God down to our level, or at least to where we can manage Him.

Q: How are we to know, in fact, that God is self-existent?

A: A more positive assertion of selfhood could not be imagined that those words of God to Moses: I AM THAT I AM.  Everything that is God, is set forth in that unqualified declaration of independent being. Yet in God, self is not sin but the quintessence of all possible goodness, holiness and truth.

(Bloggers Note: These excerpts are from A.W. Tozier’s “The Knowledge of the Holy.” Tozier (1897-1963) was a popular evangelical author and the author of more than 30 books. He has been called one of the most influential American evangelists of the 20th Century.)

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