August 25, 2015

Is God Unchanging?

Is God Unchanging or immutable?
Yes, He is.

First, in a previous post I posed the question: Can it be demonstrated that God exists? I believe I answered this question convincingly in the affirmative. In it I explained that there is some first being or first cause that is necessary logically for existence since true existence cannot come from nothingness (ex nihilo). I have referred to that first cause as God. Even Creation didn't really come from nothing, it came from what I have concluded is God in my previous post (not some nameless godless origin-less "force").

To add to that statement, I add that first cause must be pure action, without the addition or mixture of any potentiality (or impetus to act) based on Aristotelian philosophy. For the reason that, absolute potentiality is subsequent to act/action. They are separate and distinct. Therefore everything which is in any way changed, is in some way in potentiality. It is obvious then that it is impossible for God to be in any way changeable. Creation on the other hand which is in action is another story all together. 

Secondly, because everything that is moved in the Universe/Creation has substance; it stands to reason that in everything that is moved there is some kind of composition to be found. But it can be shown that in God at the Creation there is no composition or matter as we understand it. He is Spirit (John 4:24). God cannot therefore be moved according to Newtonian physics (but He can move things through varies means). Thirdly because everything which is moved acquires something by its movement (momentum). Also, since God is infinite, comprehending in Himself all the plenitude of perfection of all being, He cannot acquire anything new (attributes) nor extend Himself to anything He was not extended previously (attributes). Hence previous movement in no way belongs to Him as He is the impetus of all movement. So, constrained by logical truth, I must conclude God is unmovable or immutable unless He choose to change. He has already said in the Scriptures that He does not though.

In opposition to this divine truth some people (including many Christians) often point to the Incarnation or coming of Jesus in the flesh (John 1:14) as an example that God is not immutable. He changed to become human at the point of the conception by the Holy Spirit in Mary. Many will state or imply that the very act of the Incarnation is in itself a violation of immutability because God became something He had not been before. They claim He changed at the point of Incarnation. This is a profound misunderstanding of theology, God’s attributes and His is being. We must understand that God is also timeless among other things including infinite and immutable.

So the real question I suppose that should be asked is: What does this mean to an entity that is constrained by time like humanity and their perception of what God is. It is an issue of human perception and time. Being infinite, timeless and not of the Creation, God stands outside of time or distinct from it. He is diachronic and before Creation, existed independent of time. The Bible says He is from everlasting to everlasting (from the vanishing point to the vanishing point). Therefore He is capable of standing distinct from it. God therefore sees all of time as the eternal “now”. God was the Creator of time. God is not subject to time unless He allows Himself to be for our benefit. Time is subject to Him. He is therefore manifesting to us, in time, an attribute that He chose to show us at a specific time in our existence. It is not that he hadn’t had the attribute of humanity “before”, it is an issue of our recognition of it at a given time the way He chose to reveal it and how He chose to reveal it. That which is timeless does not change. Only that which resides within time and is subject to time can change because change requires a sequence of events that only time can allow. God had decreed at some infinite point in the past that He would eventually take on the attribute of humanity.

In this we see that it is not that God didn't have an attribute of humanity previous to coming in the flesh, He merely took on the attribute of humanity that had been planned at some point previous to the foundation of the world [1 Peter 1:20]. Just as those who had been elected to salvation had been in the Lambs Book of Life [Ephesians 1:4, Revelation 13:8; 20:15].

 Psalms 33:11~ The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.

Psalms 102:25-27 ~ "Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. "Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. "But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.

Malachi 3:6 ~ “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

Titus 1:2 ~ “…in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago”

Hebrews 13:8 ~ “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

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