Immutability: Doctrine

The immutability of God and its meaning for doctrine gives us another way to judge doctrine and discern the truth. If a doctrine requires God or His will to change, then we can know that the doctrine is not true. This attribute also gives us great comfort as we look at doctrines because we can know that the vital teachings of Scripture are always true and do not change with the changing tides of public opinion.

The majestic and glorious doctrine of the Trinity has an extra luster when seen in light of the attribute of immutability. If we think of the Trinity in terms of the inner workings of the triune Persons of the one God, it teaches us a lot about God. Scripture tells us that God is live. When we see this in terms of the inner Persons of God, we are treated to a delectable feast for the soul. We can now understand it in terms of the Father loving the Son and the Son loving the Father. When we see that love is the fruit of the Spirit, we know that all love in the human realm is at least through the Spirit. But immutability steps in and informs us about this love. It tells us that the love that flows within the Trinity is a love that does not diminish and does not stop. It is a perfect love that will never change and will never cease. Since God will never change, He will always be love within the Trinity. Surely this is a picture of what heaven will be like.

Hebrews 13:8 sets out for us another aspect of the Trinity and how it relates to us: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” All of our doctrines of Christ are linked to this. If Jesus Christ changed at any point, then our Savior would be different than He is. Our Savior would also be different at some point in the future. This shows with clarity how necessary it is that we think of the Trinity and of Christ in terms of immutability. It is only if God does not change and if Christ does not change do we have any ground for real hope.

If God could change, or perhaps did change, then what would that do for the teaching of Scripture about the covenants? What if God changed and no longer held to His promise with Noah? Then maybe the world would perish again with huge flooding. What would happen if God changed His mind or purpose with Abraham? If we look at the covenant with Abraham as we should in the light of the teachings of Galatians, then the whole fabric of the Gospel would be changed. Perhaps it would now be a Gospel of works. If God changed regarding His covenant with David, then would Christ be on the throne now? Then again, if God changed in some way, what would become of the covenant that the Father made with the Son to redeem His people? We are not sure, but it would certainly appear that the Gospel itself would be changed.

Let us think of the doctrine of creation in light of immutability. In one sense God has already created and so that could never change in terms of fact. But if God changed, would the laws of “nature” be changed as well? Would God change His mind about gravity? What if He decided to move the sun closer or farther away from the earth? What if He decided that He liked a faster rotation of the earth? We also know that God upholds the world by the word of His power. What would happen if He decided not to do that? When we look at the teachings of Scripture regarding the Trinity and of creation, both depend on the attribute of immutability. Every day when we get up, we depend on God’s immutability whether we recognize that or not. When we walk outside and the sun is shining, we can only walk and the sun can only shine because God has not changed.

An amusing thought related to this is that of science and evolution. What would happen to the “laws” and practices of science if God changed? One can imagine a scientist doing an experiment a hundred times and getting the same result. The next time he did the experiment the result might be completely backwards. The next time the result would be even different. Scientists themselves depend heavily on the immutability of God even while some deny that He has anything to do with anything.

If God could change, what would happen to the doctrine of sin? Since God Himself is the standard, we would have the possibility of a different standard each day we woke up. Heaven and hell might be emptied if God changed and they might even have to switch places. But because God does not change, there is an eternity of joy for all who are in Christ. Because God does not change, there is never any hope on earth or in hell for those who do not have Christ. People who want another way of salvation simply want God to change. That cannot happen.

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