Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | July 3, 2006

Immutable

I don’t know if you noticed, but in my last entry I employed a new technique that I was unable to do before.  Basically I learned how to edit my hyperlink, so that it does not take up the space of a whole sentence.  This is cool.  This is just one example out millions that can be used to prove that as human beings we constantly change.  Our bodies change, our abilities change, our emotions change and probably most encouraging and most frustrating at the same time our beliefs change.  It is encouraging for change to occur in belief when a person moves from a skeptic or unbeliever to a believer.  However, it is frustrating when Church beliefs move from orthodox to unorthodox.  This tendency to change is inherent to our nature.  Contrary to this, however, God is Immutable in His nature which is a source of great comfort to us.

Today we continue our overview of Article 1 of the Belgic Confession by focusing on the attribute known as immutability.  Francis Turretin explains in the following that God’s immutability applies not only to His existence, but all to His will:

Immutability is an incommunicable attribute of God by which is denied of him not only all change, but also all possibility of change, as much with respect to existence as to will.  3.11.1 

He goes onto cite the following Scriptural references to support this conclusion:  Malachi 3:6 ; Psalm 102:26-27; James 1:17; Numbers 23:19; Psalm 33:11; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 6:17;   As it relates to His existence, God’s immutability is a natural consequence of His being perfect.  A perfect being necessarily will be without change, since there is no need for improvement or possibility of diminishment.  However, when we go a step further and apply this attribute to His will we promote the idea that all things have already been predetermined.  There are some that may find this problematic, however others (like myself) see it as a great comfort.  Essentially, we are saying that God has a plan and this plan will not be changed by Him or any other being.  If He is God, doesn’t He have the right determine the beginning through the end? 

It is a great comfort to know that God will not change His mind.  Certainly, it would be tragic for believers to place their trust in Him and come to find out at the last day that God changed His mind about forgiving our sins.  We are assured by God Himself through His Word that this will not and cannot happen, since it is antithetical to His nature.  The astute adversary may object on the grounds of Scripture itself.  They may point to the changes that have occurred in Scripture.  For example, the abrogation of ceremonial law, the requirement of circumcision, dietary restrictions, the land promises to
Israel, etc.  Turretin responds to such objections in the following: 
 

It is one thing to change the will; another to will the change of anything.  God can will the change of various things (as the institution and abrogation of the Levitical worship) without prejudice to the immutability of his will because even from eternity he had decreed such a change. 

For those who believe that they can access the mind of God, the Apostle Paul responds as well Romans 11:33-36;.  There are also many passages that indicate that God regretted or repented of a decision (Genesis 6:5-6).  However, these passages are obviously Anthropomorphic used as an accommodation for our benefit and understanding.  Otherwise, they would be in direct contradiction to the passages cited above  

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