The Unchanging God
Feb 5, 2007
A newly commissioned Navy captain took great pride in his first assignment to be in command of a battleship. One stormy night the captain saw a light moving steadily in their direction. He ordered the signalman to send the following message: "Change your course ten degrees to the south." The reply came back: "Change your course ten degrees to the north."
The captain was determined not to give way to another vessel, and so he sent a counter message. "Alter your direction ten degrees. I am the captain." The answer flashed back promptly: "Alter your direction. I am the lighthouse."
Flux and flicker are characteristic of the world we live in. Kingdoms rise and fall, fashions come and go, facts are proven and unproven, and desires are created and killed.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus preached that All is Change. His words were “There is nothing permanent except change.”
Genghis Khan, the 13th century Mongol conqueror, asked his philosophers to come up with a truth that would always be unchangeable. Thinking about it for awhile, they came to their leader with this quote: "It too shall pass." Solomon exclaims in Eccl. Everything is a vapor, there is nothing permanent, just a repetitious circle of events leading nowhere.
The experience of an incessantly changing world takes hold of our consciousness to shift our focus from things eternal and unchangeable to things transitory and ephemeral. As a result the man who was supposed to triumph over the world by the strength of reason becomes the slave of his circumstances.
The inter-flow and inter-change of information in the past decades has brought to front several counter-belief systems. This has resulted in a skeptic approach to knowledge claims, to the extent that if anyone claimed to possess knowledge of truth, he is immediately labeled as arrogant, fanatical, or anachronistic. Disbelief in absolute truth is directly connected with disbelief in an Absolute God.
Yet, in the midst of all such conflicting opposites and confusing waves, stands the immutable figure of Almighty God, the Eternal I AM, the Unchanging One, the Alpha and the Omega, the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, to whom belongs all glory and honor forever and ever Amen.
· If there is anything unchanging it must necessarily be founded on the very constant nature of God.
Nothing unchangeable can be founded on something changeable. No solid house can be built on loose soil. All unchangeables, therefore, must be seen as founded in the unchangeable nature of God and in nothing else.
The Bible clearly proclaims that our God is an unchanging God. Metaphors like Rock, Standard, and Shield tell us the eternal and constant nature of our God. He is the sure foundation- the eternal rock against the massive winds, tumultuous waves, and shifting sands of time.
1 Sam 15. 29; Mal. 3.6;
Shadows change and flee being relatively real. God is constant and absolutely real.
1. God is Unchanging in His Being (What He is) (Jas. 1.17)
I AM THAT I AM
Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Change
Can God become not-God? Intrinsic Change
Hindu Philosophy: Yes, gnostically, i.e., the deity dreams itself as non-deity. They deny the essential metamorphosis of God. But how can the deity change gnostically without it being imperfect.
Xtn Theology: God is perfect and cannot change in His very essence.
Incarnation: How can the Creator become the Created, the eternal become temporal? How can the transcendent enter the spatial? The Word became flesh ≠ the divine became human, it means the divine took on, came in a human form, essence; the word ginomai has been translated as came or come c. 142 xms. Thus, the human nature is added to in a way that the divine and the human remain distinct and unmixed in Christ. There is no intrinsic change whatsoever in the divine Godhead.)
St. Athanasius: The sun’s rays are not made impure by contact with the dust of the earth. Why? Because He is intrinsically pure and unchangeable.
2. God is Unchanging in His Purpose
The Teleological Argument doesn’t tell us the purpose.
It can only be known by revelation.
2 Kinds of Purposes
(a) Eternal Purpose (Eph. 3.11, Hb. 6. 17)
Eph 1.9-12: (i) The Praise of His Glory (v. 12; Rev. 4: 11)
(ii) The Consummation of all things in Christ, the Alpha and Omega (v.10).
Predestination is in accordance to the purpose, not the purpose
(b) Temporal Purpose (Isa 14.24-27; 46.8-11)
Even Moses could not stop the hand of God against the Israelites.
Not all the strategies of the world could keep Joseph from being blessed.
3. God is Unchanging in His Promises
God cannot lie. Because He is truth. He hates lying (Prov. 6. 17)
His word is unchangeable (Isa 55. 10, 11)
(a) Promise of Eternal Life (1 Jn. 2. 25; Titus 1.2)
(b) Promise of Eternal Inheritance (Hb. 9. 15)
- When God becomes the foundation of our lives, we stand unshaken. (His Words, Right relationship with Him).
- The Purpose and Promises of God are only available to us in Christ as we abide in Him. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (2 Cor 1.20). Our abiding is crucial to our bearing fruit.
- Our lives must be governed by His unchanging absolutes that He revealed to us. Like the captain had to obey the signal of the lighthouse, we must obey the voice of our God.