God’s Immutability: Hebrews 13
Put simply, the doctrine of immutability teaches that God is unchanging. Now, we have to be careful when we speak this way because God is not immutable or unchanging, in every way we might imagine. For many centuries traditional systematic theology has been careful to identify specific ways in which God is unchanging. In fact, there are only three major ways in which God may be spoken of as immutable.
In the first place, God’s character does not change. God is always loving, always just, always knowing all things, always all powerful, always present everywhere. God’s attributes never vary with time. This is what the writer of Hebrews meant when he wrote in Hebrews 13:8:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
God cannot become something other than he is. We can count on his character to remain the same because his attributes are immutable.
There’s another sense in which God is immutable beyond his character or attributes. That immutability has to do with his covenant promises. When God makes a covenant oath, it remains valid forever and it will never be broken. Once again, the writer of Hebrews succinctly summarized the teaching of the Scriptures in this matter. In Hebrews 6:16-17 we read these words:
Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.
As this passage makes clear, when God takes an oath in covenant, we can be sure that He will not vary from what He has said.
A third way in which the Scriptures teach that God is immutable is with regard to His eternal counsel, or His eternal plan for the universe. Although some Christian groups fail to see this teaching in Scripture, God has an unchangeable plan and that this plan governs all of history.
Put simply, God has a plan for the universe. It is all-comprehensive, and it cannot fail. The apostle Paul spoke of this plan of God in his epistles. For instance, in Ephesians 1:11 he wrote these words:
[God] works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.
According to the apostle, God has a plan that includes everything, and God will work all things according to that plan.