As if He needed anything
‘The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.’
Acts 17:24-25 (NIVUK)
In the scripture quoted above the Apostle Paul contrasts idols with the true God. Idols require human hands: human beings to create them and serve them. Paul states that the true God has no needs: he is a giving God who gives life and every good thing.
Paul reveals the difference between idols and the triune God, but what if God was a single ‘person’? What would a unitarian god be doing before creation and before time began? This god would be alone in eternity and cannot be described as eternally loving because there was nothing in existence to love. Such a god needs creation to be loving: such a god is also needy.
The triune God is unique; Jesus reveals what the true God was doing before creation: ‘Father…you loved me before the creation of the world.’ (John 17:24). For eternity God is the Father loving his Son; this love is mutual; the Son loves the Father (John 14:31), and the eternal Spirit (Hebrews 9:14) is also the Spirit of love (2 Timothy 1:7).
There is an eternal fellowship of love between Father, Son and Spirit which is why John was able to write ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:7-8). The triune God of love, who has ‘life within himself’ (John 5:26), is wholly different from all other gods and is complete in himself.
The gospel message depends upon the nature of the God of the gospel.
God who has no needs created the universe by an act of grace.
The eternal God who has life in himself and has need of nothing, gave life to his creation, and opened the way to eternal life for all humanity through Jesus Christ. He does so by acts of grace.
God wants us to worship him, not to satisfy any need in him – he has need of nothing, but solely for our benefit that we might acknowledge him and develop a close relationship with him.
Some might conclude that because God has no need of us, we do not matter to God. But God loves us and created us in his image to have fellowship with him through Jesus Christ.
Father, we thank you that you have given us the universe, life, and an invitation to eternal life through your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Study by Eddie Marsh
About the writer:
Eddie Marsh attends the Sheffield congregation of Grace Communion International.
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