GOD IS UNCHANGEABLE
It seems that all things are changing. The Eastern block crumbled. The
mid-east became a hot spot. The price of gas bounces like a rubber ball.
The television programming is changing. A recent survey showed that the
once most popular Cosby show, was losing out by a majority to the Simpson's.
Almost everything there is in the world changes.
Can you think of anything that is not changing, with the exception of
God and things relating to him? There doesn't seem to be anything that
is not changing. Thus in a world of drastic change, an unchangeable God
should be very relevant to the people that we meet.
Immutability is another term that is often used for this doctrine. God
is unchangeable, or immutable.
Immutable means according to Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary,
".....not capable of or susceptible to change....." (By permission. From
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster
Inc., publisher of the Merriam-Webster (registered) Dictionaries.)
Thus, immutability may be a little better word for use with God. The
idea of not capable of change would be a stronger idea than unchangeable.
In reference to God there is no capability of change.
He is not capable of change thus cannot change. Ex. 3:14, ". . .I AM
THAT I AM. . . ."; Nu. 23:19; Ps. 33:11-12; Mal. 3:6; Heb 13:8; James 1:17.
Bancroft mentions, "The self-existence and eternality of God may be
considered arguments for His immutability. As an infinite being, absolutely
independent and eternal, God is above the possibility of change." (Taken
from the book, ELEMENTAL THEOLOGY by Emery H. Bancroft. Copyright 1977
by Baptist Bible College. Used by permisssion of Zondervan Publishing House.
There is no change in God's nature, mind, character, thought or will.
He never changes in greatness, goodness, intelligence, size, or quality.
Bancroft continues, "Immutability does not imply inactivity or immobility,
for God is infinite in power and energy. Nor does it imply lack of feeling,
for God is capable of infinite sympathy and suffering and of great indignation
against iniquity. It does not imply that God is incapable of making free
choices, for to God belongs the inalienable right to choose ends, and the
means of attaining them. Nor does it prohibit God from progressively unfolding
and carrying out His plans and purposes." (Taken from the book, ELEMENTAL
THEOLOGY by Emery H. Bancroft. Copyright 1977 by Baptist Bible College.
Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. p 79)
Theissen mentions that all normal change must either be for the better
or for the worse. God cannot change for the better because He is already
perfect. God cannot change for the worse for two reasons. First, He is
perfect, so He cannot change and become worse. Secondly, if He changed
for the worse He would no longer be perfect which would be impossible for
Some suggest that the Bible shows that God changes, in that we no longer
have the Law and sacrifices. The same God is unchanged but he has changed
how He deals with man. This is not changing Him, but how He relates to
man. This is logically acceptable. Let me illustrate: The sun never changes,
yet it melts snow in one spot of the earth and dries clay in another part
of the earth. The sun doesn't change.
An example of this is found in I Sam. 15:10, 29. This text mentions
that God repents in the dealings with men but never does He repent in dealings
Another text that indicates that He does change in his dealings with
man is Ezk. 24:14, "I the Lord have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and
I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I
repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they
judge thee, saith the Lord God." The fact that He promises not to do things,
indicates that He could if He so desired.
In the context of Ezekiel God gave His people every opportunity to turn
to Him and they have not, so He pronounces this promise of judgment.
Jonah 1:1-3 and 3:10 also mention this idea of repent. The term repent
actually means a change of mind, so really does not relate to the immutability
question. (Bancroft Elemental Theology, p 77 discusses this further.)
1. His promises never change, once given to a people.
2. His moral character can never change thus His quest for our holiness
will never change. That is in our walk and our ultimate holiness in eternity.
What is right is right no matter the time with God. With man, right
and wrong shifts with the whims of the ungodly. What do you think about
that last comment? Is it really accurate to relate the comment only to
the ungodly? I'm not sure that it is. Christians tend to vary right and
wrong quite nicely as well.
3. What He has promised in the way of salvation will never change. I
4. It is a stern warning to the lost. His judgment has been set and
it will come to pass no matter how many cry peace as they did in Jerusalem.
The lost are surely lost for God will not change in His attitude toward
sin, nor His set judgment.
GOD IS OMNIPRESENT
Omnipresent means that God is present everywhere there is at any given
moment. God is simultaneously everywhere at once and is present at all
Many years ago when I was young and foolish I went squealing around
a corner and took off down the highway. That night my dad very casually
said, "Where were you going in such a hurry this noon when you were heading
east on Highway 30?" I had to wonder if he were omnipresent. I didn't know
where he was, but was sure that I didn't think he was anywhere near when
I was speeding!
God is everywhere in the universe present at the same time. The deist
may hold to omnipresence however He will see God's presence as far off
while He is omnipresent in his effect on the creation.
Anselm stated, "Nothing contains thee, but thou containest all things,"
(quoted by Shedd, William G.T.; "DOGMATIC THEOLOGY"; Grand Rapids: Zondervan,
1984, p 340)
Augustine mentions that God "is not at some particular place. For what
is at some particular place is contained in space; and what is contained
in some space is body. And yet because God exists and is not in space,
all things are in him. Yet not so in him, as if he himself were a place
in which they are." (Shedd, p 341) How would you like to be a member of
his congregation and trying to take notes?
Pardington, "He is present everywhere and there is no point in the universe
where He is not" (Quoting Farr, Pardington, Rev. George P. Ph.D.; "OUTLINE
STUDIES IN CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE"; Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications,
1926, p 86) I'd add there is no point outside the universe where He is
Bancroft mentions, "He is present everywhere, and there is no point
in the universe where He is not." (Taken from the book, ELEMENTAL THEOLOGY
by Emery H. Bancroft. Copyright 1977 by Baptist Bible College. Used by
permission of Zondervan Publishing House. p 87) Sound familiar? It is the
same as Pardington's quote from Farr.
Strong, "By this [omnipresence] we mean that God, in the totality of
his essence, without diffusion, or expansion, multiplication or division,
penetrates and fills the universe in all its parts." (Strong, Augustus
H.. "SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY"; Valley Forge, PA: The Judson Press, 1907, p
Do you agree with these Definitions? Let us consider the facts for a
1. Is He not larger than the universe? We don't know the limits of the
universe but most assume there are limits. God, if there are limits to
the universe is everywhere in the universe, and outside the universe as
2. Do you agree with the statement that God is everywhere there is to
be? How about within the nonbeliever? We believe that a demon can't enter
into the body of a believer because the Holy Spirit dwells there. Thus
we must concede that quite probably the Spirit is not within the lost person.
However, indwelling may well relate to His special manifestation while
His presence is everywhere - even the nonbeliever. (He can be present in
hell so this would be consistent. Christ descended to Sheol after the resurrection.)
The term "ubiquitous" may be a better word than omnipresence in that
it has within its definition the idea of simultaneous presence everywhere.
Ubiquitous relates to a being that is present everywhere at the same time.
My definition would be, God is totally unhindered by space or time and
is in all places totally and completely at all times. His holiness limits
his indwelling manifestation within the unrighteous, yet they are in Him.
He is everywhere present in totality. In other words his big toe isn't
in India and his heel in Japan.
I Ki. 8:27, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven
and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that
I have builded?" The very least we can draw from this text is that the
highest heaven is above the heavens of the universe. We know that the throne
of God is beyond the universe.
See also, II Chron. 6:18, Ps. 139:7-10, Isa. 66:1, Jer. 23:23,24, Acts
17:28, Heb. 1:11, 12.
How do we explain the phrase in Gen. 11:7 which tells us that God came
down to the tower of Babel? ("Come, let Us go down," vs 5 also).
The answer is that God usually manifests Himself in some specific place.
At that point in time He was in heaven. In the 40 years of wondering He
was over the Ark of the Covenant. In the days of the Temple He was in the
Holy of Holies. Another example is Matt. 6:9, ".....Our Father which art
1. If we are in Him and He is everywhere then there is no way that Satan
can get us out! We are secure. This may be a doctrine that would help teach
security of the believer. We are in Him so Satan can't carry us away, nor
can we exit on our own power. God is much more powerful than Satan or us.
2. If we really believed that He is with us and in us then, you would
think that we would clean up our acts some! Many Christian's lives do not
reflect their belief in this doctrine.
3. If He is really this big then He is one to serve under, rather one
to dictate to.
4. He is within us! We have a resident friend and strength! "Jesus answered
and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father
will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
5. It should be a warning to the lost. Amos 9:1-4 mentions the extent
of God's ability to find those that try to evade Him. vs. 2-4, "Though
they dig into hell, thence will I bring them down: And though they hide
themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence;
and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will
I command the serpent, and he shall bite them: And though they go into
captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it
shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for
good." (Jonah 1:1-3 also.)
I would like to quote Bancroft at this point.
The parish priest of austerity
Climbed up in a high church steeple,
To be nearer God so that he might
Hand His Word down to the people.
And in sermon script he daily wrote
What He thought was sent from heaven
And he dropt it down on the people's heads
Two times one day in seven.
In his age God said, "Come down and die,"
And he cried out from the steeple,
"Where art Thou, Lord?"
And the Lord replied,
"Down here among My people."
(Taken from the book, CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY by Emery H. Bancroft. Second
revised edition Copyright 1976 by Baptist Bible College. Used by permission
of Zondervan Publishing House. p 80)
God is great, immense, limitless, and yet He desires to dwell among
His people. Remember this as you seek to minister to them.