|IMMUTABILITY OF GOD |
(ihm myoo ta bihl' ih tee) The unchangeability of God; in biblical theology, a reference to God's unchanging commitment and faithfulness to the salvation of humanity.
Secular Philosophical Thought In secular thought—God's immutability connotes innate divine perfection and completeness. Since God is complete in and of Himself, relation to anything other than Himself is an addition to His completeness, an addition which is a philosophical impossibility. Since relationship requires change or response on the part of the beings in relationship, God, perfectly complete and completely perfect, cannot relate to that which is outside Himself. This kind of God, who is possessed by an immutability which prohibits relationship to His creation, is not the God portrayed by the Bible.
Biblical Teaching God, as the Scriptures portray Him, responds to the needs of His creation and, therefore, changes in the sense that He relates to what is not God. The biblical idea of immutability is couched in the constancy of God's self-revelation to humanity: He is holy (Joshua 24:19), jealous (Exodus 20:5), zealous, (Isaiah 9:7), beneficent (Psalms 107:1); and righteous (Exodus 9:27). God expresses wrath, though He is “slow to anger” (Nehemiah 9:17). He expresses love (Proverbs 3:12) in the election of His people for service (Hosea 11:1;
Ephesians 1:4) and by sending His one and only Son as the Savior of the world (John 3:16;
1 John 4:9-10). The God of the Bible is the constant, unchangeable God in His revelation and response to humanity. He gives His name as “I am that I am” (lit. “I will be what I will be,”
Exodus 3:14). He is the God who is and will be what He has already been in the past: “the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob… this is my name for ever…” (Exodus 3:15).
The greatest religious significance of the unchanging God is His eternal stance of salvation toward His creation. He is eternally faithful to His people. He therefore repents of judgment when persons answer His call to obedience, as did the Ninevites in
Jonah 3. The unchanging God of salvation is the eternal, free God who reveals Himself in the eternal Son (John 1:1,John 1:18). As such, he is the immutable God who comes to seek and save the lost (Mark 10:45), the God who is the same “yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Hebrews 13:8).
Walter D. Draughon III