Aseity | Creator | Eternity | Goodness | Immutability | Impassibility | Ineffability | Necessity | Omnipotence | Omnipresence | Omniscience | Perfection | Trinity
The doctrine of divine immutability holds that God is not subject to change. Many have found this a source of comfort as they struggle with lifeís difficulties: no matter how we are, or how the world is, God, according to this doctrine, is as dependable as ever.
Immutability is, however, one of the more controversial divine attributes, with many theists holding that although Godís fundamental nature and character are unchanging, there are nevertheless other less important respects in which God does change. Whenever God acts, it seems, he must go from a state of planning the action, to performing it, to having performed it. It is natural to say that this involves God undergoing change, even if in all important respects he remains the same.
One reason for thinking that God is immutable, in the strongest sense of the word, is the argument from perfection. The argument from perfection holds that Godís perfection entails his immutability, that it is because God is perfect that he cannot change. If a thing changes, it is argued, it must change either for better or for worse. If a thing changes for the better, though, then it cannot have been perfect prior to the change. If a thing changes for the worse, then it cannot be perfect subsequent to the change. Anything that changes, then, is imperfect. That which is perfect, therefore, cannot change.
A second reason for thinking that God is immutable is the argument from eternity. The argument from eternity holds that Godís eternity entails his immutability, that it is because God is eternal that he cannot change. Change cannot take place, it is argued, without the passage of time. For a thing to change there must be a time when it is in its original state followed by a time where it is in its altered state. God, though, according to at least some understandings of divine eternity, exists outside of time. It therefore makes no sense to talk of him as having different properties at different times. God cannot change; he is immutable.