The Incommunicable Attributes of God – Unchangeableness

God is unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises, yet God does act and feel emotions, and he acts and feels differently in responce to different situations.

This attribute can also be called his immutability.

  • Evidence in Scripture. God causes the universe to change, but in contrast to this change he is “the same.” See Psalm 102:25-27, Hebrews 1:11-12; 13:8, Psalm 33:11. Further more God is unchanging in his promises. Once he has promised something, he will not be unfaithful to that promise. See Numbers 23:19 and 1 Samuel 15:29.
  • Doesn’t God sometimes change his mind? E.g. Moses in prayer to prevent the destruction of the people of Israel (Exodus 32:9-14) or the failure to bring promised judgement upon Nineveh (Jonah 3:4, 10).

    These are true expressions of God’s present attitude or intention with respect to the situation as it exists at that moment, in other words, God responds differently to different situations. But nevertheless he remains unchanging in his being and his purposes.

  • What if God could change? Think about this for a moment. If God could change (in his being, perfections, purposes, or promises), he can either change for the better or for the worse.

    If God changed for the better, then he would not be the best possible being when we first trusted him. And how can we be sure that he is the best possible being now? But if God changed for the worse, then what kind of God might he become? Might he become a little bit evil? Or even turn wholly evil?

    How could we ever trust a God who could change?

    How could we trust God’s promises? If God can change them, maybe he has abandoned the plan of Jesus’ second coming, and so there’s no point in our hope of Jesus’ return!

    A little reflection shows how absolutely important this attribute is. Everything would fall apart if God was not unchanging. This is because our faith and hope and knowledge all ultimately depend on a person who is infinitely worthy of trust – because he is absolutely and eternally unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises.

Remember, all this can be found in much more detail in Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology or his abridged version, Bible Doctrine.

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