God’s Unchanging Nature: The Immutability of God

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What does it mean that God is immutable?   How can we understand that God’s nature is unchanging since every other created thing changes?

What Immutability Means

Imagine that I am on the couch and I want to mute the sound on my TV but there are no batteries in the remote control.  It is impossible for me to mute the TV’s sound with a remote control that has no batteries.  That gives us an idea, although it is a poor example, of how it is impossible to mute God’s purpose.   We are human and to try and mute what God says in His Word or to thwart the divine will, plans, and purposes of God is a task that is destined to fail.   Just as no human can prevent the sun from rising, no human effort can stop what God has planned or is doing at present.  God is immutable and that is what the Word of God says as we shall later read about.

God Cannot Change

God has no need to change for He is complete and perfect in Himself and has no need of anything.  The Covenantal name that He gave to Moses to tell the people of Israel just Who God was is this:  I AM that I AM or I AM the self-existent One.  We are human beings and there was a time when we had no being or did not exist.  We are but finite creatures dependent upon food, air, water, sun and so on.  We had a beginning and will have a physical ending but God has always existed and there was never a time that He did not exist and there will never be a time when He won’t exist.  God needs nothing outside of Himself to exist.  He is fully self-sufficient and self-contained.

How can we understand that God’s nature is unchanging since every other created thing changes?

How can we understand that God’s nature is unchanging since every other created thing changes?

It is hard to imagine but no change is possible with God, neither is there any cause for Him to change. What God promises cannot be broken and what God sets forth cannot be stopped.  God says about Himself “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6 ). Hebrews 6:17-18 says “God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise (that is Christians) the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” God cannot lie nor is He able to lie because that is not His nature to do so, unlike humans who have the propensity to lie all the time.  God cannot lie just as He cannot make a square circle.

Further, 1 Samuel 15: 29 declares that “the Glory of Israel [God] will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.” Psalm 102: 25-27 testifies that “Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.”  Since Jesus Christ is God it is no surprise that Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” and with God “there is no variation, or shifting shadow” (James 1:17).  When Peter spoke of Jesus being crucified and being buried, he stated that it was impossible that the grave could hold Him (Acts 2:24b) because He was sinless.  In other words it was impossible for Jesus to stay in the grave because the wages of sin is death and Jesus being sinless meant that it was not possible for the grave to hold him for the David wrote that God would “not abandon [His] soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption” (Psalm 16:10).

God’s Unchanging Nature

Even Jesus’ words are unchanging for He said that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away (Matt 24:35) [for] the word of the Lord remains forever” (1 Pet 1:25).  The fact is that “the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (2 John 2:17).  So we too, if we are born again before Christ’s return, will be in “a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet [be saved] for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” just like that (1 Corinthians 15:27)!  Humans can change and indeed we need to but God’s promises are just as sure as His nature is…it doesn’t change.  Psalm 9:7 gives us the picture quite clearly by telling us that “the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice.”

Conclusion

One important thing about God’s immutability is that “His mercy ceases not, for it is ‘everlasting” (Psalm 100:5).   If you have repented and put your trust in Jesus Christ, then you have received His mercy and that mercy isn’t dependent upon how well you perform or how little you sin.  That’s good news for humans.  That the mercy of God is “everlasting” is a comforting thing.  To know that He doesn’t change His mind about us is reassuring because we often have doubts but God knows the future…the end from the beginning.  Once you are saved, then you will never change your eternal destiny for you have eternal life and can never face the corruption of sin, decay or death again one day.  To be certain that you will live forever with the Lord, fall on your face right now and tell Him that you repent of your sins, that you can see just how serious your sins are and to see your desperate need for the Savior and then put your trust in the One Who will never change His mind…Jesus Christ.  He is the same…forever.  That is an immutable fact that you can never have any doubt about.

Read about more attributes of God here: 7 Attributes of God

Resource: New International Version Bible (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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