AskDefine | Define aseity

User Contributed Dictionary



From a se + -ity.


  • a UK /əˈsiːɪti/


  1. theology metaphysics Being self-derived, in contrast to being derived from or dependent on another; being self-existent, having independent existence.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Folio Society 2008, p. 374:
      He is Spiritual, for were He composed of physical parts, some other power would have to combine them into the total, and his aseity would thus be contradicted.

See also

Extensive Definition

Aseity is a theological term, referring to the characteristic of being un-derived (from Latin a "from" and se "self", plus -ity) in contrast to being derived from or dependent on another, hence (a priori) predicable only of God in classical theology. Ideally, this term means that God necessarily exists as opposed to it happening to be the case that God exists. Indeed, this is understood by its users to be the content of the term 'God'.
The term "aseity" is used to describe an assumed deity to which the description "ultimate being" is supposed to apply. This term originates in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. The assumed deity is said to ‘possess’ aseity, since it is not supposed to have been created, but rather thought to have always existed, and be necessarily existent.
Whether or not this being should be described as God turns on whether the label 'Creator' is a rigid designator of God. Given that most theists understand all that is not God to be brought about by God, and that many (for example, Aquinas) argue from the non-aseity of the universe to the existence of God, this problem is somewhat theoretical.
Some claim that the universe should be described as having aseity.
Aseity has also been criticized as being logically incoherent with the concept of god as a being or god as existing. Furthermore, it can be argued that for the notion of aseity not to be logically circular or inconsistent, the supposed entity to which it applies would have to be identified with its properties, instead of instantiating, exemplifying or having its properties. This, however, contradicts the notion that god is a person or a causal agent, for no property (or complex of properties) can be a person or an agent.


aseity in German: Aseität
aseity in Portuguese: Asseidade
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