In a world that is constantly changing, is there anything that remains consistent?  How are we to view God in a rapidly shifting world?

Incorrect Perception: The Upgraded God

We live in a world of constant updates and revisions.  The groundbreaking technological gadget is obsolete in mere months due to ever-changing upgrades.  What once seemed sufficient becomes obsolete quickly.  Books require revisions, software require updates, devices require enhancements, homes require renovations, and standards require revisions.  We live in a world that assumes everything needs an upgrade.

Our culture seems to believe that God requires an upgrade as well.  The centuries of experience make us believe that he must have updated along the way and we can now help determine what revisions he currently needs to make to himself.  If God is to make it in our time, he is going to have to get up to speed with our thinking.  Even if he used to think a certain way doesn’t mean he thinks that way now.

God does not need an upgrade.  God is immutable.

The Immutability of God

 The immutability of God means that he is unchanging in his person, purposes, promises, and passions.  

  1. Person – God’s person cannot be altered (Ps. 102:25-27).
    1. God cannot alter from worse to better (Heb. 1:12).  If God can improve, he is not God.  By his very nature, his character must be perfect without the possibility of enhancement in the slightest degree.
    2. God cannot alter from better to worse (Mal. 3:6).  If God possessed the potential for his character to deteriorate, the world cannot handle the instability.  If an all-powerful God could plunge into all-encompassing evil, his nature would completely consume creation.  If he is susceptible to moral declination, he ceases to be God.
    3. God cannot alter from this to that (James 1:17).  Only God can be God.  If he is able to upgrade or downgrade, it prohibits his deity.  God is God – nothing less (because he would cease to be God) and nothing more (because there is nothing greater than God).
  2. Purposes – God’s purposes cannot be adjusted (Heb. 6:17-18).
    1. Once God established his plan, it will assuredly be accomplished (Ps. 33:11; Isa. 46:9-11).
    2. If God’s plan could benefit from a revision or update, the plan was not originally perfect.
    3. God has concretely purposed regarding Christ’s appearing (John 17:5; 1 Pet. 2:20), our salvation (Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 2:19; Rev. 13:8), his wisdom (Matt. 13:35), the kingdom (Matt. 25:34), his plans for us (Ps. 138:8), our inheritance (Eph. 1:11), his grand redemptive plan (Eph. 3:9, 11),
  3. Promises – God’s promises cannot be thwarted.
    1. If God’s Words are true for a moment, they must be true for eternity (Isa. 40:8).
    2. God cannot waver in his promises to his children or his enemies (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29).
  4. Passions – God’s passions cannot be manipulated (Heb. 13:8).
    1. God’s passions are always perfectly stable and fair.
    2. If God’s emotions could be manipulated by another’s, justice could never be accomplished (Ezek. 24:14).
    3. The cross of Jesus proves God’s perfect consistency regarding wrath and mercy (Rom. 3:26).

Questions

  1. Does God Change His Mind?
    1. When Scripture indicates God’s change of course, it is always precipitated by another’s positive or negative change.
      1. God’s sorrow over his creation of Mankind (Gen. 6:6).
      2. Moses praying to spare the Israelites (Ex. 32:9-14).
      3. God’s regret over making Saul king (1 Sam. 15:10).
      4. Hezekiah’s request for a longer life (Isa. 38:1-6).
      5. God’s relenting of Nineveh’s destruction (Jonah 3:4, 10).
    2. God’s changeless dispositions respond to others’ changing directions.
    3. God’s plans include our prayers as a part of his process and purpose.  The greatest thing that prayer changes is us.
  2. Does God Change His Emotions?
    1. God’s emotional reactions are always consistent with his immutable character.
      1. God feels joy (Isa. 62:5), grief (Ps. 78:40; Eph. 4:30), wrath (Ex. 32:10), pity (Ps. 103:13), and love (Isa. 54:8; Ps. 103:17).
    2. God’s emotional responses never compromise his sinless integrity.

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.