NAMES OF GOD (part 1): 'THE GREAT I AM'


God said to Moses, “I am who I am.This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am' has sent me to you'.

(Exodus 3:14)

For years of my life, the passage of 'Exodus 3:14' has been one of the most complex to fully understand because of the manner in which God presents Himself to Moses.
Centuries of theological and doctrinal debates have produced explanations and debates on the meaning of God's introduction in Exodus 3:14.

Concerning Exodus 3:14,The two main questions often asked are :

'Why is God introducing Himself as 'I AM'? What did He mean by that introduction?
I have a response to those two questions but before I respond, you should be aware that 'God is a mystery'. No amount of theological or doctrinal knowledge can completely define Him and explain everything about His nature. 

In Psalms 93:2, the psalmist states that God is from eternity (or everlasting). How do you then fully explain or define Somebody whose origin is from eternity?
On the other hand, though we don't know everything about God, we know certain things about Him. And the response I am about to bring in this teaching is based on the partial knowledge I have on Him.
So... why did God God call Himself 'I AM'? What did He mean by that?

One of the best route to understand God self-introduction is to look at His own pattern of 'name-calling'. Before I carry on this teaching, let me remind you of something: 'not all names on Earth were given by God'. You were probably named by your parents,a family member or even by yourself in a name change.

However, God also gives names. And based on His pattern as recorded in the Bible, He gives names for an explanatory reason that could fall under the following three categories:

1. Circumstantial
2. Prophetic
3. Purpose

God can name someone based on the circumstances surrounding the birth of that person (the term circumstance refers to a series of events or actions). For example, the first man of our current civilization was named 'Adam' because he resulted from a series of action where the ground was utilized to make him. The name 'Adam' refers to 'Earth or ground'.

God can name somebody with a prophetic name. In such case, God will name someone as a reminder of a prophetic future that will unveil. Such was the case with the children of prophets in the Bible (reference Isaiah 8:1-4).

God can also name somebody to define and explain their reason for living or their purpose. Such was the case with Jesus when God told Joseph the reason for His existence(reference Matthew 1:21). Such was the case when Abram was named Abraham by God as a reference to his new purpose (reference Genesis 17:5).

God uses name-calling of human as tool to:
1. explain and define the reason of their existence
OR/AND
2. to predict their future
OR/ AND
3. to explain specific circumstances

God-given names are explanatory and defining. A human cannot define you, regardless of the names or nicknames they call you with. BUT if God names you Himself, then you or your circumstances become defined by that name. God-given names are so powerful that it actually explains why very few Biblical characters are named by Him.

GOD INTRODUCING HIMSELF AS 'I AM'

By introducing Himself as 'I AM', God makes reference to His existence. In other word, He also says:' I exist' or 'I am living being'. This is how I analyze the name 'I AM' through the lenses of circumstances and of purpose:

a) Circumstances: 

I know I will astonish many of you, but please hear this: 'Genesis 1' is not the beginning of the universe. In Colossians 1:15, the Apostle Paul writes that Jesus is the first born of all creation. In other words,Jesus is the first birth of God. This explains why Jesus calls Himself 'Alpha' (Revelations 22:13).If 'Genesis 1' was the beginning of the universe, then the episode counting the origin of Jesus would have been mentioned somehow. Therefore, there is a story long,long, before Genesis 1.
Please pay attention to what I am about to write and you will understand why God calls Himself 'I AM'.
In most cases, the names we get are often a reference to words,items or people that existed before us. For example, the name 'Adam' was a reference to the Earth which existed before Adam was born. When someone is called 'Bridge', it's a reference to an infrastructure that existed before he/she was born. Take yourself as an example, and you will notice that your name/s are (is) derived from people,circumstances and words that existed before you were born. In 99% of cases, names exist before the birth of their bearers.
When it comes to God, somewhere, somehow, far back in a dimension called 'eternity or everlasting', He exists. And there are no references like the ones we know in the form of a person,word or circumstance that existed before us. Therefore,the only plausible reference is Himself and His own existence. From that reference, He draws the name: 'I AM'.
And then, at a later stage, God births Jesus. At that point Jesus has a reference in God just like Adam's name was referenced from the Earth. This explains why Jesus boldly tells His enemies: '“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). 

b) Purpose:

In terms of purpose, the name 'I AM' reflects an imprint of who God is and what He does.The term 'I AM' refers to:'existence, being, sustenance of life'. And since God is 'I AM', He does what His name expresses: 'bringing to existence things in form of planets,stars,angels, galaxies,worlds, humans,animals and so forth...His words are life and sustain existence. He goes to the extent of sending His Son into the world to save whomever believes from perishing(John 3:16). He wired the human body and the environment to preserve existence. And even the eternal condemnation in Hell will be experienced through existence. In other words, condemned people and demons will suffer Hell while existing.
By living and working for the sustenance of eternal life, He shows that He is Love. Only those who refuse to believe His words shall perish in a condemned existence.
That's the Father we have. He is 'I AM'.