Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
Only five words labeled the God of the Israelites.
This name is the name that transcends all names.
This name holds a message for us to understand the height and majesty of our God.
Upon reading the conversation between Moses and God one should be somewhat alarmed by the name that God gives himself. God’s name, “I am who I am” was not given to him by an “I Am who created the I Am”. God’s name was not given to him, He labels himself and this name was selected for a purpose. Nobody has named God, God labels himself what He is.
According to a German scholar, “The holy name of God contains power and embraces the secret laws and harmonious order which pervade and govern all existence.” The philosophical implications of this name are enormous. What can we learn?
We see that this name implies that God never had a beginning. He is. His name was present before we even developed a language to wrap our minds around the unfathomable depth of God’s being. This name does not complete God; it mostly gives us a mystery. Our names exist in time His name transcends time. This name shows us that He is the only reality that is truly everlasting. His person is what upholds the universe. The structure of the universe is upheld by the omnipotent God who subsisted before the fabric of the universe ever was.
This name shows us that God is utterly independent and His independence needs nothing. God is, and that is sufficient. Everything else is secondary. The absolute perfection of God does not develop or become better. God is the standard by which His creation strives to be. This independence is what all other matter and life are dependent upon. Because God is the standard, He governs truth. Truth is not what we deem to be truth, but that which God says is truth. This truth, proclaimed by Him, is what is right because God is; and God cannot be wrong.
Some may ask, “Why does God have such a self-centered name and being?” Simply put, our life is dependent upon this reality. If God were dependent upon us, He would not be God. If we governed what truth was, we would develop inconsistencies and lies. What is imperfect can not determine what is perfect. There would be no standard for us to live by. C.S. Lewis famously states,
“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
C.S. Lewis understood that the standard of God proves to us that we are not an absolute. We are not perfect. We can get a glimpse of the perfection by understanding God who is absolute and the standard for truth.
We know that there is something wrong because we understand the standard of who God is, and God is right. Perfectly just and absolutely true; His name proves to us that we are dependent on Him. He has power and truth that we cannot understand or accomplish on our own because we are not the I am.