Immutability (theology)

The Immutability of God is an attribute that "God is unchanging in his character, will, and covenant promises."[1]

The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that "[God] is a spirit, whose being, wisdom power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth are infinite, eternal, and unchangeable." Those things do not change. A number of Scriptures attest to this idea (such as Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29; Ps. 102:26; Mal. 3:6; 2 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 6:17–18; Jam. 1:17) [2]

God's immutability defines all God's other attributes: God is immutably wise, merciful, good, and gracious. The same may be said about God's knowledge: God is almighty (having all power), God is omnipotent (having all power), God is omnipresent (present everywhere), God is omniscient (knows everything), eternally and immutably so. Infiniteness and immutability in God are mutually supportive and imply each other. An infinite and changing God is inconceivable; indeed, it is a contradiction in definition. [3]

Criticism

While most Judeo-Christians believe that there are aspects of God that do not change, opponents believe that the benevolence of God is often expressed through his willingness to change his promised course of action which implies a certain level of mutability. (See Exodus 32:14 and Numbers 14:12-20; Jonah 3:10; Amos 7:3-9; Jeremiah 26:3)

For example, when God was giving the law and the Ten Commandments to Moses, he was gone for so long that Aaron, his brother the high priest, and the people, thought that he was dead or that something had happened, and the people asked Aaron to build them the Golden Calf. On that occasion, and during another when the people rebel against Moses and God, God threatens to destroy the people and make a nation out of Moses alone, but Moses reminds God of the promise he made to Abraham to make Israel a great nation, and the earlier promise to Noah not to wipe out all human beings ever again until time's end. God relents, but says that all those who participated will not be allowed to enter Canaan, the promised land.

It could be said that God knows beforehand all the possible steps each creature- i.e., each human, could take at any given moment, whether good or bad, and God also knows beforehand from eternity what he will or will not ultimately do in any given situation, knowing that sometimes he will say he is going to do something worse, and then doing either a less negative response or nothing at all. This allows God to exhibit a unique form of free will, and to show his mercy an forgiveness and holiness- qualities God values.

See also

References

  1. ^ The Immutability of God, Theopedia: http://www.theopedia.com/Immutability_of_God
  2. ^ Muhling, K.,Reformed Answers: Immutability
  3. ^ The Immutability of God. http://www.tecmalta.org/tft133.htm/
Causa sui

Causa sui (Latin pronunciation: [kawsa sʊi], meaning "cause of itself" in Latin) denotes something which is generated within itself. This concept was central to the works of Baruch Spinoza, Sigmund Freud, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Ernest Becker, where it relates to the purpose that objects can assign to themselves. In Freud and Becker's case, the concept was often used as an immortality vessel, where something could create meaning or continue to create meaning beyond its own life.

Norman O. Brown, in his masterpiece, Life Against Death, argues Sigmund Freud's Oedipal complex is essentially the causa Sui (father-of-oneself) project where, after the traumatic recognition that we are separate from the mother; that we are 'other,' we seek for reunification with the mother.

In traditional Western theism, even though God cannot be created by any other force or being, he cannot be defined self-caused (causa sui), because this concept implies the Spinozian pantheistic idea of becoming, which contrasts with the belief of scholastic theology that God is incapable of changing. The Catholic concept of [...] God as absolutely independent and self-existent by nature, and, consequently, all-perfect without any possibility of change from all eternity, is altogether opposed to the pantheistic concept of absolute or pure being [that] evolves, determines, and realizes itself through all time. Changing implies development, and since God is to be considered the Absolute Perfection, there is no further need to change: he is the so-called actus purus or aseity. Instead, the recent process theology inserts this concept among the attributes of God in Christianity.

On the other hand, Baba Nanak defined God as self-existent in his bani Japji.

Immutable characteristic

An immutable characteristic is any sort of physical attribute which is perceived as being unchangeable, entrenched and innate. The term is often used to describe segments of the population which share such attributes and are contrasted from others by those attributes, and is used in human rights law to classify protected groups of people who should be protected from civil or criminal actions which are directed against those immutable characteristics.

For example, a legal debate about sexual orientation concerns whether it is a mutable or immutable characteristic. If it is immutable, then homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, heterosexuality, etc., are all immutable characteristics that naturally occur and cannot be changed. If it is mutable, then those characteristics can be changed.

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