Is God immutable? Dr. Gordon Isaac Hebrews 13:8 says Jesus the Messiah is the same yesterday, today and forever. It might help you to think of a wheel turning. In the axle driving that wheel there’s a mathematical point right at the center, and that point does not move. It remains constant. It remains still.
Immutable, according to the dictionary, means:
Unchanging over time or unable to be changed.
The immutability of God (His quality of not changing) is clearly taught throughout Scripture. For example, in Malachi 3:6 God affirms, “I the Lord do not change.”
So, one could say then that God is an unmoved mover. But as soon as we’ve said that, there’s a danger lurking, for the language of the unmoved mover is actually the language of Greek philosophical ideas. The god of the Greeks was one who was unknowable.
And that’s not how the God of the Bible is described. The God of the Bible is know to us through Jesus, and he deals with his people, he loves his people, he comes to his people. With a strong right arm he delivers the nation of Israel out of Egypt. So, the God of the Hebrew Scriptures is one who’s a person and one who reveals himself in love. Faithfulness through time we dare not forget that.
James 1:17 also teaches the immutability of God:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning.”
The “shadow of turning” refers to our perspective on the sun: it is eclipsed it moves and it casts its shadow. The sun rises and sets, appears and disappears every day; it comes out of one tropic and enters into another at certain seasons of the year. But with God, who, spiritually speaking, is light itself, there is no darkness at all; there is no change with Him, nor anything like it.
God is unchangeable in His nature, perfections, purposes, promises, and gifts. He, being holy, cannot turn to that which is evil; nor can He, who is the fountain of light, be the cause of darkness. Since every good and perfect gift comes from Him, evil cannot proceed from Him, nor can He tempt any to it. The Bible is clear that God does not change His mind, His will, or His nature.
Numbers 23:19 clearly presents the immutability of God:
“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?”
No, God does not change His mind. These verses affirm the doctrine of God’s immutability: He is unchanging and unchangeable.
Frank Hubeny said:
Good observation: “The god of the Greeks was one who was unknowable.”
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Thank you for this post! This will be an attribute of God i wlll eventually cover for our blog series!
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