The Immutability of God – What is it?
The immutability of God is sometimes referred to as His "constancy" or His unchanging nature. He is unchangeable in His nature, perfections, purposes, promises, and gifts. Since God is holy, He can't turn toward sin. Evil can't come from Him, nor can He be tempted by evil. Malachi 3:6 says, "I the LORD do not change..."
Numbers 23:19 says, “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?”
There is no quantitative change. Since God is perfection, He can't increase in anything. If He decreased in anything, He would cease to be God.
God exists outside of the constraints of time. In order for a change to take place, there must be some sort of chronological order.
Why do changes normally take place? There is often new information gained during the situation, which causes a change to take place in one's mind. Or the circumstances change. Since God is omniscient, it is impossible for Him to learn something new.
But what about the verses that imply God can change? For example, Genesis 6:6-7, "The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the LORD said, 'I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.'"
Who changed in the above Scripture? Did God? No, the people changed. God created the people to do good and they chose to do evil.
The book of Jonah also confuses some people. "When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened" (Jonah 3:10). Again we can ask ourselves who changed. God didn't. He ended up showing mercy to the city of Nineveh because the people repented.
"There is a change round about Him [God], change in the relations of men to Him, but there is no change in His being, His attributes, His purpose, His motives for action, or His promises... If Scripture speaks of His repenting, changing His intention, and altering His relation to sinners when they repent, we should remember that this is only an anthropopathic way of speaking. In reality the change is not in God, but in man and in man's relation to God. – Systematic Theology1
The Immutability of God – Why is this important?
The immutability of God impacts us greatly today! Since God cannot change, His love and promises will always be consistent. His salvation is eternal. His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness are forever! The immutability of God means we can trust Him completely.
God is unchangeable. He does not change His mind.
1 Systematic Theology [Eerdmans], 59.
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