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Don Stewart :: Can Anything about God Change? (Immutability)

Don Stewart

Is it possible that God can change in His promises or in His character? Can the laws that God has set down be changed? Can we be assured that God will never change?

There Is No Change In God

When one changes they usually change for better or worse. Since God is absolute perfection no change for the better is possible since you cannot improve upon perfection. The same holds true for changing for the worst. Change is not possible with God. He does not develop or grow. He always remains the same. Consequently there is no inconsistency in Him.

The Scripture makes it clear that God does not change in His character, purpose, His fairness toward humankind, or in His promises. The technical term for this is immutability. The Bible says.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom (Isaiah 40:28).

God's Character Is Unchanged

The Bible insists that the basic character of God is not subject to change. The psalmist said of God:

You are the same, and your years will have no end (Psalm 102:27).

This promise is with respect to the guarantee of Israel's preservation.

In the Book of Malachi God declares:

For I am the Lord, I do not change (Malachi 3:6).

In the context of Malachi, God is guaranteeing the preservation of the nation Israel.

The New Testament also says God does not change:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (James 1:17).

God's Nature Is Unchanged

God, by nature, is a Trinity consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He has always been a Trinity and He always will be. His basic nature will remain forever the same.

You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end (Hebrews 1:12).

Because God's nature does not change His character remains the same. He has been and always will be completely righteous. This means His dealings with humankind are always right; He is never unfair.

The Apostle Paul said of God:

Because he has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom he has ordained (Acts 17:31).

God will judge humankind based upon the standard that He has set down. God will not change those standards. His judgment will be fair.

God's Purpose Does Not Change

Scripture says that God does not change in His purposes.

In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath (Hebrews 6:17).

Paul wrote.

For though [the twins] were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to his choice would stand, not because of works but because of him who calls (Romans 9:11).

In the Book of Job we read.

But he is unique and who can turn him? And what his soul desires, that he does (Job 23:13).

The psalmist wrote.

The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations (Psalm 33:11).

Isaiah the prophet records God saying.

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: my purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please (Isaiah 46:10).

His Promises Do Not Change

The Bible also testifies that God does not change in His promises. The Lord said of Himself.

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that he should repent (Numbers 23:19).

In First Samuel we read.

He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind (1 Samuel 15:29).

Paul wrote to the church at Rome.

For God's gifts and his call are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).

The Bible emphasizes that God is faithful to the promises that He has made to humankind. The prophet Jeremiah said:

Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22,23).

The New Testament also says that God will not deny His promises

If we are faithless, he remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

He Has The Power

God has the power to follow through with His unchangeable promises.

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised (Romans 4:20,21).

Some Promises Are Conditional

When God promises something to us He will complete His promise. Some of the promises God has made to humankind are conditional, based upon humanity's response. The prophet Jeremiah records God saying:

The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey my voice, then I will relent concerning the good which I said I would benefit from it (Jeremiah 18:7-10).

God Is Not Inactive

When we say God does not change we do not mean that He is a static, impersonal being. God dynamically interacts with His creation. Although God does not develop or grow, He is not inactive. To the contrary, He is actively involved with humanity.

Although God's actions and dealings with humanity may vary or change, He does not change. In His essential being He is always the same. Human beings can change, God cannot.

Summary

The Bible says that God will never change. There are a number of specific ways in which the Bible says that God will remain the same. First, there is his basic character - nothing about it will ever change. Next are his purposes - they will remain constant. The Bible also says that his fairness toward humankind will always be the same. Finally we are told that his promises will all be kept. Therefore we can rest assured that God will remain the same.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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