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Does God Change?

When we talk among ourselves about miracles, gifts of the Spirit, or the covenants of God, some of us are apt to remind the others that, according to the Bible, God does not– and cannot change. Others are likely to point out that, over time, the God of the Bible has changed the ways in which he has progressively revealed himself, and related to us.

This is one of the many truths of the Bible that come to us with a healthy tension and balance.

There are two sides to the coin:

A. God does not change in character (Mal 3:6; Num 23:19; Heb 13:8; James 1:17). And yet,

B. He does change in his response to us— because he does not change in character. Since he is forever good and faithful, his thoughts and affections change in ways that are lovingly appropriate to what he sees in us. To show us how involved he is with us relationally, he even takes the risk of being misunderstood by portraying himself as One who changes his mind, not arbitrarily, but in ways that show how much he cares about us (Gen 6:6; James 4:6-10).

Another healthy tension lies in the fact that,

A. God does not change the principles on which he forgives and helps us. He has always accepted by grace those who put their faith in his offer of help (Eph 2:8-9; Rom 4:1-16). At the same time, though, it’s important to realize that,

B. Over time, he has progressively changed the ways he has asked his people to express their faith in him. (Gal 3:23-29).

A third balancing set of truths is that,

A. God warns those of us who are ignoring or resisting him that he will not always be as unresponsive as he now seems to be (2Peter 3:1-10). And,

B. God comforts those who are trusting him by reassuring us that he will not always be as unresponsive as he now seems to be (2Peter 3:11-15).

Nowhere is this balance of character and personality more clearly seen than in Jesus who, as the image of the invisible God, shows us how He, his Father, and his Spirit respond personally to self-righteous, tired, and broken people.

In a few exceptional periods of Bible history, God openly and miraculously intervened in the course of normal human events, with signs and wonders. For the balance of history, however, he asked his people– as he now asks us– to believe that he can and will intervene in what now looks like the ongoing, everyday, common laws of nature.

So in this light, let me ask you, does it make sense to you that, as a rule, our God seems to reserve the right to test our trust by hiding his supernatural control over the “predictable” laws of nature? Is it just as clear that God’s ability to provide for us in ways that he can make strikingly clear to us is not limited to the kind of visible suspensions of natural law that we see in the days of Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Jesus, and his apostles?

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9 Responses to “Does God Change?”

  1. mikewise07 says:

    Greetings from Houghton College and the Houghton Inn. I’m a parent from Ohio up for the year-end athletics banquet….

    After reading ODB this morning in the quiet of the hotel lobby, I stumbled across Been Thinking About.

    Simple but tough questions… I often find it a bit futile to try to understand, really fathom, all the ways that God could possibly be working in my life. To consider His work around the globe and in the lives of people around the world is absolutely beyond my comprehension. But one thing I’m petty sure about… My lack of understanding and my clouded vision do not change what God is doing, only what I can sense.

    But I do know beyond a shadow of doubt that Jesus died for me and I have been called to die for him. Beyond that, I’ll trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit and walk one day at a time in the little time I have left.

    Interested in other thoughts…

  2. dep7547 says:

    I believe you hit the nail squarely on its head with both questions, Mart! In a sense, all of history shows that God has reserved the right to test our faith. This is how we learn to grow in his word. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that mankind was at its peak when religion and science went hand -in-hand; in fact, there are instances recorded in some of the apocryphal books that indicate that their authors had made advanced discoveries of of how the universe operates many generations before science had acknowledged them. If Daniel prophesied that there would be much running to and fro and exchanging of knowledge in the last days, it only makes sense to me that God wants to test our faith in his word.

    I believe this to be evident as well through our own evolution as a species. For example: God has condoned capital punishment from the time that the floodwaters had receded from the earth, yet, my understanding of Christ,s commission to forgive men their sins renders it impossible for me to condone such a practice–even though I have read of people who have committed such heinous atrocities that I cannot comprehend that we are of the same race! Did God want us to evolve with with an understanding of such dilemmas? Does he still?

    As for his ability to make his will strikingly clear to us, I could not enumerate the number of times I have prayed for a blessing and looked for its fulfillment to come in one direction only to receive it more bountifully from a direction that I was unprepared to look for it in! Does that make its receipt any less supernatural? I believe that this is one of the most fascinating ways that our heavenly father maintains a personal relationship with each of his children individually. When we gather together, we should share our supernatural experiences with one another for our edification as believers and for his ultimate glory.

  3. Your Love Inspires says:

    This is definitely food for thought. I think the bigger question should be, do people change in their response to God’s word? Are the workings of The Holy Spirit evident in a persons thoughts and actions? Do we love another as ourselves?

    It is unfortunate that throughut history and as of recent, many are decieved by those who would claim to come in Faith, but are eventually shown through their actions to be wolves in sheeps clothing, to the detriment of the message and The Messenger. Let us let God be God and keep our focus on carrying out His great commision through our love and gratitude for Him and what He has done for us. Saving souls should be our full time job, especially during these troubled times, evidenced through a willing vessel. How many are being lost today by those who claim to know the heart of Jesus because of their selfish, self serving agendas?

    I apologize for going South on you but this has been on my heart lately.

  4. poohpity says:

    The only fact that I hang onto is that God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    Obviously we have evolved in some areas for the better but other areas we have remained corrupt through and through. Whether God intervenes rests on us. He has always asked us to put Him first in our lives but the acquisition of wealth, daily stress, sensuality, etc. seems to over take our focus but then again is that anything new.

    So I wonder if knowledge is the only thing that has changed. It seems that the smarter we get the dumber we get to spiritual things. It seems like we rely more on ourselves through intellectual reasoning than on faith. Then again scripture says He will even confound even the wisest.

    You know what God is God we try to put Him into our little boxes and He breaks out every time. What an awesome God we have.

  5. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    Good Afternoon evryone, Mart, I believe God never changes, because of several reasons, one of the main reasons is, God is God, no reason to change as us humans do constantly, God does not make mistakes whereby He needs to change, His word will be the same forever.
    Pray for me as i try to get out of my heart some thoughts many have gotten angered at me for, becasue i believe parts of the bible have been place there by what i call hypicritical people, because i do not believe God changes.
    Many of the 600 statutes in Exodus, and other places are contridicted in others places unless God changes.
    Many food items concidered sins if eaten, but God tells Peter to eat these forbiden foods, and also has told me all things are cleansed if recieved in thanksgiving.
    Some have said an eye for an eye, but i believe God says, turn the other cheek, and also He God is the avenger.
    I believe God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth, and each one is responsible not only to rightly divide the truth, and to use it rightly, but not just to believe what satifies us for the moment.
    I do believe God deals with individuals, and events differently, but i do not see this in a way that God changes in order for this to happen.
    I may need help with this Mart, because i have had many tell me if you do believe every word in the bible is from God, you cannot really believe any of it, but at this time in my life, i must believe God does not change, but either King James and others that have translated, and put in what they believed to be from God, could be wrong instead of me, but i have been wrong before, and i know many believe i am wrong, but i know i believe a very high percentage of the bible, and i believe God Became flesh and dwelt among us, shed His blood to cover my sins in this life, went to hell in my place, rose again, and is making intersessions for me, because i am His child.
    My desire is to always be as honest with everyone as i can be, and i desire to know the truth, if any one knows i am wrong, and can give me thoughts from the bible i have missed that cause me to believe as i do, i desire to always have an open mind to listen.
    Forgive me Mart for not excepting every word in the bible as not being God breathed as many call it, if you believe otherwise.

  6. alexdizon says:

    Yes, Matt. It makes sense to me that God’s ways are not as overt as we want them to be. whAtever His reasons are for this, it is inevitable..it is a test we all must go through. We believe what we see but being a true follower of Christ means we have to go beyond what is tangible. Faith in God’s sovereignity & omnipotence means holding on to His promises, His plans, His truth & His love against all odds. like soldiers in a battle, we may not see our general or president, but we know that wherever we are stationed, whatever we are tasked to do, it is part of a great big plan & we are right where we should be. We are all expected tO fight a good fight of faith by wearing God’s full armour and by pressing on after totally abadoning & entrusting ourselves to God. This has always been the basic plot & thrust of each of our lives. We first failed in the area of obedience, it is perfectly logical that we are tested & strengthened in this area before we can even catch a glimpse of the mansions He has built for us. As for miracles & God’s interventions, they happen everyday…small & big alike… forever consistent to God’s loving character, perfectly timed, strategically congruent to all circumstances & masterfully crafted such that only an omnipotent Creator & an all-knowing Architect can orchestrate them.

  7. daisymarygoldr says:

    We worship an unchanging God who was,is and is to come. Being infinite and eternal in nature, He prefered to introduce Himself as “I AM”. His purposes are immutable (Heb 6:18),His plans are the same for all generations (Ps 33:11,Isa 14:24)and He is not man to CHANGE HIS CHARACTER. His regrets in Gen 6:6(and several other instances)reflect His deep love and concern for mankind but that did not in any way cause Him to change his mind and prevent the flood. He has revealed Himself in various ways at different time points throughout history(Heb1:1)…and today he speaks to us through His Word. Supernatural events did not change the hearts or attitudes of the Israelites in the wilderness nor the folks who lived during the time of Jesus…it will not be any different today for people to see God’s miraculous power and then believe on Him(Luke 16:31). Do miracles occur today? Yes, they do…every day the medical world witnesses visible suspension of natural laws that defy scientific explanations. The greatest miracle that baffles every one including the angels is when God transforms a sinner into a saint!

  8. Ted M. Gossard says:

    The Spirit is creative and I believe all the gifts in some way continue on. The letters in the New Testament are very charisimatic, and all believers in Jesus actually have the charismata of the Spirit, regardless what we believe about the gifts today.

    So it depends on the Spirit’s working. I remember it was said that more people in London were healed through Charles Spurgeon’s prayers, than through all the physicians there, put together.

  9. edgar1764 says:

    God does change not in his nature and being but in his ways, dealings, and decisions with reagrds to changing man. As a matter of fact, he needs to change because he is God: “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is CHANGED within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. FOR I AM GOD, and not man- the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath.” (Hosea 11:8,9). If God would not change his mind concerning us, then we (sinners) are hopelessly doomed to hell. We were all at one time “objects of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). Imagine if God does not change his mind towards us nobody will be saved. But thank God because he is not an “unmoved” being. He felt compassion on us all and thus gave us grace to be saved.

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