4. Immutability

Immutability (Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology, Victor Books, 1986,) p. 38.

1. Meaning. Immutability means that God is unchangeable and thus unchanging. This does not mean that He is immobile or inactive, but it does mean that He is never inconsistent or growing or developing.

2. Scripture. Malachi 3:6 and James 1:17. Notice in the former verse immutability guarantees the preservation of Israel.

3. Problem. If God is immutable, how can it be said that He repents?(Gen. 6:6, Jonah 3:10). If there actually was a change in God Himself, then either He is not immutable or not sovereign or both. Most understand these verses as employing anthropomorphism: i.e., interpreting what is not human in human terms. In the unfolding revelation of God’s plan there seems to be change. However, this can be said to be so onlyfrom the human viewpoint, for His eternal plan is unchanging as is He.

However, the expression may simply mean that God was sorry or grieved which eliminates any concept of change.

4. Ramifications in relation to God. “If self-existence should change, it would become dependent existence; eternity would become time; perfection imperfection; and therefore God would become not-God” (Gordon H. Clark, “Attributes, the divine,” Baker’s Dictionary of Theology [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1960], pp. 78-9). Immutability assures us that none of God’s perfections change.

5. Ramifications in relation to us. Immutability offers comfort and assurance that God’s promises will not fail (Mal. 3:6; 2 Tim. 2:13). Immutability reminds us that God’s attitudes toward sin, for example, do not change. Therefore, God can never be coaxed or compromised into changing.