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Is there any verse of Scripture anywhere that says that God has not changed?

Malachi 3:6 says "For I am the LORD, I change not".

This is present tense, and also there are verses which denote His unchanging nature in the present and infinitely into the future:

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8)

However, this same verse places a potentially time-bound retrospective on His unchanging status. All other verses I have found convey this same directionality: That in the present and future without end God is unchanging and unchangeable, but with respect to the past, there is no indication of never having changed.

All of us are tempted at some points to wish that God would change, but we know He won't. There can be no question about the integrity or steadiness or absolute virtue of God. This is not a question about His integrity or virtue. This is not the same as the question of whether God does currently change. This is a question about whether God has ever changed in the past. It is a non sequitur of course to say that if He has changed in the past then He is capable of changing in the present or in the future. The Scriptures explicitly and categorically rule out such a notion. What I am having difficulty finding, however, is any indication that He never changed. Do the Scriptures say that God never changed? If so, where?

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    Do you take Hebrews 13:8 as meaning that the day before yesterday he was not the same? Dec 23, 2023 at 13:43
  • @MikeBorden That is not literally implied, and yet it does not say anything about the day before the yesterday of the first time this revelation was given. That is certainly interesting and it admits my belief.
    – pygosceles
    Dec 23, 2023 at 18:38
  • Hebrews was most likely written between 25 and 30 years after the ascension of Jesus. Yesterday, taken literally, means Jesus hasn't changed since at least 9,124 days after he ascended. Dec 23, 2023 at 22:51
  • @MikeBorden Clearly, at least. And those limitations are important to consider and respect. The fact that the Lord never made any statement to the tune of "I have never progressed" helps us to eliminate damning creeds.
    – pygosceles
    Dec 23, 2023 at 23:24
  • So do you think Hebrews is teaching that Jesus has maybe changed between, say, day 100 and day 9,000 since his ascension? Dec 24, 2023 at 1:17

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That might depend on which God / god you refer to. The reason why I say that is that there are some groups / denominations generally considered to be Christian, but which believe in a multiplicity of divine beings who all required to be created by an older, more 'senior' God. Any created being is a creature that had to have a starting-point in time, and to develop from there on. Development of that kind requires changes, especially if the idea of being 'born' and growing into 'godhood' is incorporated into the belief system. Believers in such a multiplicity of divine beings would have a very different understanding of [any] God changing with respect to the past.

Orthodox Christianity (trinitarian Christianity) says there is but one Creator God who made everything that was made. This is based on (amongst many other Bible texts) Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1-3 (note their striking parallels.) The Christian God is complex, not simple, and both those texts need to be put together and held in faith to be orthodoxly Christian. This leads to the orthodox Christian doctrine that neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Spirit are three separate, distinct beings, but that all three are uncreated and subsist in the one Being of God. So, one uncreated God who has that complexity in his Being. In other words, three Persons share the divine nature. The Father and the Son share the one, divine nature, with absolute unity of the Spirit in that nature.

Once this is understood, then it can be seen why this one God does not change, nor has he changed. He was never created, nor was the Word of God who was with God in the beginning, who is God, and who made everything that was made, and the Holy Spirit is equally part of creating all else, also being uncreated himself.

The question asked only makes sense if the God in question was created by another, and so had a starting point in time, requiring development and progression (towards godhood).

That is why trinitarian Christians will answer that our God has not changed, nor does he change. As the question brings in the matter of Jesus Christ, trinitarian Christianity would add that it was the eternal, uncreated Word of God who condescended to become flesh as the man, Jesus, at a certain point in time, but that that was not the start of his existence, nor was he 'birthed' spiritually in some realm long before then, becoming man in order to progress his godhood.

There are some who would claim that their God has changed in the past, even though he will not change now. Those ones are not trinitarian Christians.

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  • I am of course referring to the God found in these verses. If people cannot identify the God of Scripture, or who is being referred to, that is a matter for them to discover by revelation. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." It is easily seen how interpolations of men, special pleading and a mistranslation of the word "create" leads to the confusion cited in this answer.
    – pygosceles
    Dec 23, 2023 at 18:52
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God is perfect in all his attributes. He always has been perfect. He always will be perfect.

In God there is nothing that looks like change, for better or worse; not better, because then he were not perfect; not worse, for then he should cease to be perfect. He is immutably holy, immutably good; there is no shadow of change in him. ("A Body of Divinity" by Thomas Watson, first published 1692; from chapter entitled "The Unchangeableness of God")

God exists outside of time. It therefore makes no sense to talk of the possibility of God changing. (See HOW does the existence of the Universe make those who do not worship God to be "without excuse"?)

Therefore Jesus said "Before Abraham was I am".

"From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God." Psalm 90:2

God is the great "I am" without explanation of origin: He says "I am that I am" (Exodus 3:14) and that is the explanation of his being, without cause, the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last (Rev 1:8), who lives forever and ever (Rev 4:10).

"I am the LORD, I change not." Malachi 3:6

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48

If he is "from eternity" and he "changes not" and has "no variation nor shadow of turning" and he is perfect now, then he has always been perfect and perfectly the same from eternity to eternity.

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end. (Psalm 102:25-27 )

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  • What Scripture says that God always has been perfect? Existing before Abraham was born and even having a failproof foreordination of God is not the definition of being perfect. The Lord did not say, "Before Abraham was, I was perfect". How do you make sense of the Lord's command to be perfect, even as His Father is perfect, if we rule out the possibility of a Perfect Being ever becoming perfect? Therefore there is nothing at all about the definition or permanent status of being perfect that is contradicted in any way by a process of becoming perfect.
    – pygosceles
    Dec 20, 2023 at 2:23
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    @pygosceles Comments are not for launching into a cross-examination of the answer given. The answerer may choose to respond, of course, but mainstream Christianity teaches our God as being utterly perfect and having always existed like that, from before he created space-time for us to live in, and through all eternity, which is his domain. Perhaps you could post a fresh question, 'Where does Scripture say that God exists outside of time?' or similar (just a friendly suggestion.)
    – Anne
    Dec 20, 2023 at 13:09
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    @pygosceles - "I am the LORD, I change not" (Mal 3:6) is an emphatic self revelation about the nature and character of God. It is not just for present tense and the future only. The scriptures tells us God does not change.. period. If you cannot appreciate the permanent eternal scope of Mal 3:6, Heb 13:8, Psalm 102:25-27, from everlasting to everlasting, then in my opinion the problem is with your willingness to submit to scripture and the God of scripture. Dec 21, 2023 at 10:20
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    God is "from everlasting to everlasting" Psalm 102:25-27, Dec 22, 2023 at 9:42
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    @AndrewShanks Yes, agreed. The eternal life that God gives is not a transfer. It is a begetting. Eternal life begets eternal life, It is not a creative act. Thus it had no beginning. Thus, also, the everlasting Testament. It is between the Father and the Son (not between God and men) thus it also had no beginning. The gifts God gives are not things - he gives of himself. Thus these gifts had no beginning. But if one knows not the eternal, has never had personal dealings with the eternal - then there will be no experience of these eternal things and thus no understanding of them.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 23, 2023 at 12:04
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Proverbs 8 indicates that he has not changed in wisdom. In this chapter, wherein Wisdom is personified as a literary device, we read:

The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.  When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:- Proverbs 8:22-29

As discussed in the answers to this related question, the term 'from everlasting' indicates an unsearchable depth of past time. In that moment, whatever point of approach toward the horizon of past time that is in view, He is God:

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. - Psalm 90:2

Wisdom, personified as full and complete in Proverbs, is possessed by God at that unreachable horizon of past time. Additionally, terms like "beginning" and "ever the earth was" are excluded from indicating a commencement in time by being qualified by "from everlasting".

Never having changed or grown in Wisdom, at the very least, must exclude learning in any fashion and, if nothing is learned, in what attribute could God ever have grown, developed, or changed?

Alternatively, what attribute could have developed from non-God to God without some change in Wisdom which is excluded in Proverbs and Psalms at the least?

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  • "from the beginning"... Of what? This answer presupposes a very particular view of creation. "From everlasting to everlasting" is also translated as "from eternity to eternity". Which eternity to which eternity, seeing there is more than one eternity? Does it make sense to say everfirsting? If a man is given eternal life, does that mean his life never had a beginning? I see too much special pleading here around theological terms.
    – pygosceles
    Dec 23, 2023 at 22:23
  • "the term 'from everlasting' indicates an unsearchable depth of past time" according to what or whom?
    – pygosceles
    Dec 23, 2023 at 22:25
  • @pygosceles "beginning is qualified by "from everlasting". Go toward the unreachable horizon of past time to try and arrive at the beginning.. Horizons cannot be reached. Dec 23, 2023 at 22:26
  • @pygosceles According to the definition of the word translated as everlasting. Dec 23, 2023 at 22:27
  • According to whose translation? 1) long duration, antiquity, futurity, for ever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world 1a) ancient time, long time (of past) 1b) (of future) 1b1) for ever, always 1b2) continuous existence, perpetual 1b3) everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity godrules.net/library/kjvstrongs/kjvstrongspsa90.htm
    – pygosceles
    Dec 23, 2023 at 23:31

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