Is God immutable? What is the significance of the immutability of God?
Something that is immutable is unchangeable. One dictionary definition states that immutability is the quality of not being subject to or susceptible to change. God cannot change, nor can He be changed. Malachi 3:6a says, "For I the LORD do not change." James 1:17 says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." The Bible reveals the unchangeable nature of God (see also Numbers 23:19 and Isaiah 46:9-11).
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Logically, we know that God cannot change. He is eternally existent. Isaiah 57:15 says that God "inhabits eternity." He created time and is therefore outside of time (read about God's relationship to time in this article). Change is measured over time. Something used to be one way and is now another. Because God is outside of time, He cannot change or be changed.
Change also constitutes something qualitative or quantitative. A thing gets better, gets worse, has more, or has less. God is perfect (1 Peter 1:15). He is complete. There are no attributes for Him to gain. Were He to lose any of His attributes, He would cease to be God.
Information is often what prompts change. God is omniscient, meaning He knows everything (Job 21:22; Isaiah 40:13-14; Romans 11:33; Hebrews 4:13). There is no new knowledge that would prompt God to change. However, there are Scriptures stating that God relents or "changes" His mind. Such Scriptures do not imply that God Himself changes or even that God alters His mind. God will sometimes work in one direction and then seemingly change directions based on our actions. He knows that the change is coming, but our action is still required to make the change. God's relenting or changing His mind can therefore be seen as a change in situation, or His outward dealings with man, in that moment. Because of our limited view of time, we understand Him to have relented or changed His mind, but He knew the final outcome all along.
The unchanging nature of God can give us peace. God's character will not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8; Exodus 3:14). We can trust Him to be who He says He is. God is not going to suddenly stop loving us or suddenly stop being just. In a world where the only constant is change, God remains unchanged. We can rely on Him to be our solid foundation.
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