Everything is in the state of change. Even something as big as the moon, seeming like it never changes, moves a little further away from Earth each year. Your body changes, your character changes, your mood changes, your age changes, your knowledge changes, your motive changes, your relationships change. We are imperfect creatures, always in the state of changing.
God is in control of what changes, but he is not affected by what changes. He is “the same” always (Malachi 3:6a). This attribute can be better defined as unchangeableness or immutable. As endlessly changing creatures, it sometimes confusing thinking about this attribute. God’s changelessness is a difficult concept to wrap our minds around, but He is the Creator and we are the creation. We need to keep ourselves in perspective in relation to God while studying, musing about, praying, and worshiping Him.
Orthodox Calvinist theologian, Herman Bavinck, in one of his famous publications, The Doctrine of God said:
“The doctrine of God’s immutability is of the highest significance for religion. The contrast between being and becoming marks the difference between the Creator and the creature. Every creature is continually becoming. It is changeable, constantly striving, seeks rest and satisfaction, and finds this rest in God, in him alone, for only he is pure being and no becoming. Hence, in Scripture God is often called the Rock.”
God is the Rock. His character never changes even in the minutest amount. His immutability is a very difficult attribute to write about because of its extreme intricacy. I will do my best to cover it, but I recommend studying it for yourself.
If God is really unchanging this means that he is unwavering in keeping His promises. To say that God doesn’t keep His promises, that would be the same as saying the God is unfaithful, which we know to be false. (1 Corinthians 1:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, 2 Timothy 2:13, Lamentations 3:23, etc.)
Some people take the theological position in saying that God is in some respects temporal, mutable, and passible. These people are supporters of process theology. They say that process and change are essential aspects of genuine existence, and therefore God must be changing over time also, just like everything else that exists. This is NOT TRUE! In my last blog post I talked about God’s Independence. I wrote that because of His independence, God does not need us for anything, which means that we make a 0% impact on his character. These process theologians imply that in order to hold any significance, we must influence the very being of God. To me, that sounds like they blatantly contradict what the Bible says. They bend the scriptures to try and make them feel better about their “significance in life”. God is independent and unchanging, remaining solid as a rock. God determined that we would mean something to Him. Our significance to the Kingdom and for the Kingdom is directly related to whether or not we serve Christ.
Being immutable, God is clearly set apart from the rest of creation. It is massively important for us to make the distinction that God is unchanging. It really is a big deal. If God were changing, it would mean that it is possible for Him to not fulfill His promises. So the promise of the forgiveness of sin could easily change? Whoa, that’s a profoundly sobering thought! So now, you understand why it’s so important to uphold the doctrine of God’s immutability.
How could we trust an always-changing God? As an always changing and imperfect creature, studying this attribute makes me even more thankful for a perfectly righteous and holy God. The entire groundwork of our faith rests on God’s unchangeableness. Without it, Christianity would fall apart. He is our flawless foundation, our righteous stronghold, our unwavering rock, the never changing God of our salvation.
“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”