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What difference does it make if god is immutable

Realizing that the Christian faith portrays God with many names, concepts and images, cadets were asked to chose an attribute of God and indicate within their writing: Immutability Immutability refers to the inability of a subject to change.

Immutability of God

After a consideration of this attribute this paper will suggest reasons why an immutable God is significant for North American culture and conclude with suggestions regarding the potential influence this attribute of God could have on leadership within The Salvation Army. This should not be taken to mean that the Bible does not discuss the immutability of God though. Due to the lack of literal use of the word it is necessary for a person to have a clear understanding of what immutability means; Biblical scholars from the age of the Patristics have lent insight into this.

  • I believe this confusion has come from the desire to label God as impassible as a result of immutability;
  • Being able to identify the reliability and relevance of God makes me His servant question, what do I need to do to make sure that as a leader I reflect this character at all times?
  • Because God is omniscient, He cannot learn something new that He did not already know;
  • But because God is perfect, He cannot be made better or develop into a holier being;
  • God seems to act differently from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant;
  • The reasoning behind this argument comes from the notion that if God could feel, this implies that He must be able to change.

Tertullian argued that God was the supreme being, perfect in every way which meant he was incapable of change because change would imply that he was either not perfect to begin with or has changed for the worse.

For this reason He is always infinite and there is nothing greater.

If God is immutable, then how could He have free will?

He is always eternal, because there is nothing older. That which is without origin is preceded by none, because it is not temporal. One of the most popular scriptures used to discuss the immutability of God is Malachi 3: But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.

It is clear from this portion of the Psalm that the psalmist is exclaiming the immutability of God as both eternal and unchanging. The pictures appear unbalanced and are often a cause of confusion, if He is a God who is always the same then where was the God of love in the Old Testament? I believe this confusion has come from the desire to label God as impassible as a result of immutability.

The reasoning behind this argument comes from the notion that if God could feel, this implies that He must be able to change. For some this change implies being corruptible, which would imply that if God were to change via effect of emotion then it would be a change for the worse.

This argument says that it is necessary for God to be impassible if He is to be immutable because it is impossible to be immutable with feeling. Why, then should He be their equal in changeability…His nature is different from the condition of all other things. Do we serve a God who will react to prayers and respond to the requests of humans? He was a God of love because He was a God of relationship to His people. Although His anger is expressed, He is still a God who is concerned for His creation, despite this feeling of concern He is able to maintain His supremacy.

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When I think about how tradition of the church has expressed the immutability of God I immediately think of worship. Sung theology is one way that this attribute of God has definitely been portrayed. It is in this aspect of God and Jesus that we see the creeds reflect the immutability of God.

Having discussed the immutability of God and its expression in the church, this paper will now consider why this attribute is of value to North American culture.

God is Immutable

The significance of having an immutable God in North American culture comes from the reliability that can only be found in an unchanging God. Thanks to new technologies there is a constant need for education of sorts in order for individuals to remain up-to-date with society.

In a world with so much change, our culture can find refuge in a God who never changes. Due to the nature of God never changing the ability to read and discover Him in the Bible is the same today as it was when it was originally written.

With this in mind, it is necessary for individuals to recognize that because God never changes all of who God is in the Bible is all of who He is today.

He is still a God who judges sin, [26] He gives free will but there are still consequences for disobedience. The notion of impassibility was mentioned earlier and it was stated that the significance of the argument behind a God who can be both immutable and in touch with his creation would be revisited. Having a God who responds to His creation is significant because it means we have a God who desires to be in relationship with His creation.

He is a God who can remain constant throughout the storms of our lives. He is a God who remains constant despite our own changing feelings about Him. He is a God who cares and because of this He is a God who is personal. This is significant in North American culture because He presents Himself as a God who wants to understand what we experience.

God Is Immutable, Yet Does He Repent?

This paper attempted to describe the attribute of immutability of God, by considering how it has been portrayed in Scripture and the traditions of the church. This paper also attempted to explain why this attribute is significant for North American culture. It is no secret that officers and members of Salvation Army Corps experience various seasons of change in their lives; potentially every 5, 7 or 9 years the leadership of a Corps changes and with this can come changes in the congregation, leadership styles, etc.

Serving an immutable God means that despite the physical, earthly what difference does it make if god is immutable to the Corps, the foundation of each Corps remains stable. If leaders in The Salvation Army remained focused on being vessels for God then throughout their leadership they could remind their congregations that although the earthly leadership changes, the Spiritual leadership of the church never changes.

Sometimes congregations can idolize for lack of a better term the pastor, what happens in this case is when the pastor leaves the congregation feels lost. Remembering that we serve an immutable God brings focus to who we place in charge of our Corps, and the Army. Although we have people as leaders, God is the ultimate leader.

Although human leadership changes, His message needs to remain. The immutable God creates the solid foundation on which the church stands and teaches. As leaders we need to bring the message of the immutable God and remember to point all honour and glory His way. He is the one who is faithful, not us. Being able to identify the reliability and relevance of God makes me His servant question, what do I need to do to make sure that as a leader I reflect this character at all times?

Am I hindering people from seeing a God who is faithful? If so, how can I correct that? The difference an immutable God makes is found in the focus it brings to those in leadership.

To see Bibliography and Footnotes click here. Cadet Laura Hickman, along with her husband David, is a part of the Proclaimers of the Resurrection session.