Weinandy on Divine Immutability

One should not be misled into thinking that God’s immutability is like the immutability of a rock only more so. What God and rocks appear to have in common is only the fact that they do not change. The reason for their unchangeableness is for polar-opposite reasons. The Rock of Gibraltar does not change or changes very little because it is hardly in act at all, and the change that it does undergo is mainly from outside causes—wind and rain. God is unchangeable not because he is inert or static like a rock, but for just the opposite reason. He is so dynamic, so active that no change can make him more active. He is act pure and simple . . .

What the critics consistently fail to grasp is that God’s immutability is not opposed to his vitality. Nor need one hold together in some dialectical fashion his immutability and his vibrancy, as if in spite of being immutable he is nonetheless dynamic. Rather, it is precisely God’s immutability as actus purus that guarantees and authenticates his pure vitality and absolute dynamism. Thus, when the critics assert that because Aquinas and the tradition believe God to be immutable they espouse a static and inert conception of God, they but demonstrate their own lack of understanding.
(Thomas Weinandy, Does God Suffer? 78–79, 124)


Tom Nicholson said…
What a coincidence -- I'm still ploughing my way (with a fine tooth-comb!) through H. Keizer's "Life Time Entirety" study on olam/aion(ios) -- available complete on Google Books -- and what do I see on pages 131-2:

Isaiah 26:4
Trust in the LORD for evermore,
the LORD the rock of olamim

And she makes the point that the LXX avoids translating directly the Hebrew word "rock" and replaces it with "the great" instead: "the God, the Great, the Aionic".

Maybe this Greek rendering seems more dynamic than the static Hebrew "rock". But for the Hebrew text she concludes: "... the olamic rock describes the Lord as being strong and to be trusted at all times."

Very dynamic! So thanks for the further meditation on the theme !!
Matt said…
Absolutely fantastic. And I got slammed as a heretic for saying the almost the same thing in a sermon a few months back!
Alex Smith said…
Thanks Robin (& Tom for your comment), I've often wondered about how to understand Divine Immutability. I think I might now understand it a little bit more than 5 minutes ago :)

Popular Posts