Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary

21 Independency Of God


Is his existence in and of himself, without depending on any other. “His being and perfections,” as Dr. Ridgley observes, (Body of Div. q. 7.) “are underived, and not communicated to him, as all finite perfections are by him to the creature. This attribute of independency belongs to all his perfections. 1. He is independent as to his knowledge. He doth not receive ideas from any object out of himself, as intelligent creatures do. This is elegantly described by the prophet, Is 40:13,14.—2. He is independent in power. As he receives strength from no one, so he doth not act dependently on the will of the creature, Job 36:23.—3. He is independent as to his holiness, hating sin necessarily, and not barely depending on some reasons out of himself inducing him thereto; for it is essential to the divine nature to be infinitely opposite to sin, and therefore to be independently holy.—4. He is independent as to his bounty and goodness. He communicates blessings not by constraint, but according to his sovereign will. Thus he gave being to the world, and all things therein, which was the first instance of bounty and goodness; and this not by constraint, but by his free will; ‘for his pleasure they are and were created.’ In like manner, whatever instances of mercy he extends to miserable creatures, he acts independently, and not by force. He shows mercy, because it is his pleasure to do so, Rom 9:18. That God is independent, let it farther be considered, 1. That all things depend on his power which brought them into and preserves them in being. If, therefore, all things depend on God, then it would be absurdity to say that God depends on any thing, for this would be to suppose the cause and the effect to be mutually dependent on and derived from each other, which infers a contradiction.—2. If God be infinitely above the highest creatures, he cannot depend on any of them, for dependence argues inferiority, Is 40:15,17.—3. If God depend on any creature, he does not exist necessarily; and if so, then he might not have been: for the same will by which he is supposed to exist, might have determined that he should not have existed, which is altogether inconsistent with the idea of a God. From God’s being independent, we infer, 1. That we ought to conclude that the creature cannot lay any obligation on him, or do any thing that may tend to make him more happy than he is in himself, Rom 11:35. Job 22:2,3.—2. If independency be a divine perfection, then let it not in any instance, or by any consequence, be attributed to the creature; let us conclude that all our springs are in him: and that all we enjoy and hope for is from him, who is the author and finisher of our faith, and the fountain of all our blessings.”

Charles Buck (1771-1815) was an English Independent minister, best known for the publication of his “Theological Dictionary”. According to the “Dictionary of National Biography”, a Particular Baptist minister named John C. Ryland (1723-1792) assisted Buck by writing many of the articles for the aforementioned publication. One may conclude, based not only Buck’s admiration for his friend Ryland, but also on the entries in his Theological Dictionary, that he stood head and shoulders with the High-Calvinists of his day.

Charles Buck on the Biblical Covenants (Complete)
Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary