Appendix 14: “I AM”—The Eternal Self-Existent God

by Dr. Henry M. Morris:

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

“I am” is the most characteristic identifying name of God the Creator. All things in the cosmos, and the very universe itself, were created by Him, and the question “Who made God?” is inane. By definition, God is eternal and self-existent, if there is a God at all. One can reject God if he chooses, believing that the universe itself is self-existent and somehow organized itself into its present degree of infinite complexity, but this belief flies in the face of the basic laws of science (e.g., causality, conservation, entropy). He can, on the other hand, choose to believe in the eternal, transcendent, omnipotent, omniscient, all-holy, self-existent God. He must do so by faith, of course, since complete understanding of such a Being is beyond the capacity of mortal minds. However, it is a reasonable faith, consistent with all known laws of science and with the innate witness of human reason and conscience. “I am” then becomes uniquely appropriate as the name of such a being, and this name is closely associated with the commonly used name of God in the Old Testament—Yahweh (or Jehovah), normally translated in the King James Version as “Lord.” Finally, it is significant that the Lord Jesus Christ identified Himself as this Being, when He said: “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).

The “I am” assertions by Jehovah in the Old Testament and the Lord Jesus in the New Testament are most remarkable in both their claims and their patterns of occurrence—the latter centering around groups of seven. The number “seven,” of course, is always associated in the Bible with fullness or completion, ever since creation and the establishment of the seven-day week to commemorate God's completion of His work of creating all things.

The Seven “I Ams” of Christ in the Gospel of John

  • I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35, 48, 51).
  • I am the Light of the World” (John 8:12; 9:39).
  • I am the Door of the Sheep” (John 10:7, 9).
  • I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11, 14).
  • I am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25, 26).
  • I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).
  • I am the True Vine” (John 15:1, 5).

The Seven “I Ams” of the Book of Genesis

  • Thy Shield and thy Exceeding Great Reward” (Genesis 15:1).
  • The Lord (i.e., Jehovah)” (Genesis 15:7).
  • The Almighty God (i.e., El Shaddai, the 'Sustaining God')” (Genesis 17:1; 35:11).
  • The God of Abraham ... with Thee” (Genesis 26:24).
  • The Lord God of Abraham and Isaac” (Genesis 28:13)
  • The God of Bethel” (Genesis 31:13).
  • I am God, the God of thy Father” (Genesis 46:3).

The Twenty-One “I Ams” of Exodus

  • “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14).
  • The Lord in the Midst of the Earth” (Exodus 8:22).
  • The Lord that Healeth Thee” (Exodus 15:26).
  • A Jealous God” (Exodus 20:5).
  • Gracious” (Exodus 22:27
  • The Lord that doth Sanctify You” (Exodus 31:13).
  • Fifteen other occurrences, each essentially a variation on one of the “I ams” of Genesis, making a total of twenty-one (three times seven).

The Suffering Savior in the Book of Psalms

  • A Worm, and No Man” (Psalm 22:6).
  • Poor and Needy” (Psalm 40:17).
  • A Stranger unto my Brethren, and an alien to my Mother's Children” (Psalm 69:8).
  • Full of Heaviness” (Psalm 69:20).
  • Poor and Sorrowful” (Psalm 69:29).
  • A Sparrow Alone upon the Housetop” (Psalm 102:7).
  • Withered like Grass” (Psalm 102:11).

“I Ams” in the Second Book of Isaiah (None in the First Book)

  • The Lord, the First and with the Last, I am He” (Isaiah 41:4).
  • Before the Day was I am He” (Isaiah 43:13).
  • He that Blotteth out thy Transgressions” (Isaiah 43:25).
  • The Lord that Maketh all Things” (Isaiah 44:24).
  • Even to your Old Age, I am He” (Isaiah 46:4).
  • I, even I, am He that Comforteth You” (Isaiah 51:12).
  • I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer” (Isaiah 60:16).
  • Twenty-eight others, for a total of thirty-five.

“I Ams” in the Other Prophets

  • Most used in Ezekiel—seventy occurrences.
  • Twenty-one “I ams” in Jeremiah.
  • Twenty-one “I ams” in the remaining prophets.
  • Last occurrence: “For I am the Lord, 1 Change not” (Malachi 3:6).

Triumphant “I Ams” in the Book of Revelation

  • I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending” (Revelation 1:8).
  • Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last” (Revelation 1:11).
  • The First and the Last” (Revelation 1:17).
  • He that Liveth and was Dead; ... and am Alive Forevermore” (Revelation 1:18).
  • Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 21:6).
  • Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13).
  • The Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16).