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« Does Baptism Have Regenerative Significance? | Main | Links Mentioned on the 2/10/15 Show »

February 10, 2015

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I believe it is saying God's inherit character and eternal purpose to redeem mankind never changes.

It is a progression of sorts:

Possibility. Conceivability. Actuality. Time. Timelessness.

Then:

The skeptic (falsely) equates motion with change. Motion, void of first, void of last, within Being, within Self/Other, within Unity, amid ceaseless reciprocity ~ Trinity ~ finds otherwise. Motion here is not stasis and fails to grant the Skeptic's definition of unchanged which is, as all his definitions are, defined from the perspective of the reality of contingent contours inside of motion. Such contours we cannot find in God even as we find Motion amid all that can be called Possibility, Conceivability, Actuality. Possibility lies proximal in Him, an ontic-hard-stop even as the Actualized lies distal beneath Him equally an ontic-hard-stop as all by Him - in Him - of Him - from Him - derive what form they ever can have.

Then:

But we are contingent lines and so cannot fathom such amid Possible/Actual for in us and of us there must be some First, some Last, though in Him, in Necessity, that cannot be. And in Him we do in fact find our First, our Last, our A, our Z. But that is our perspective from here inside of contingency. That is not His vantage point. That is to say, it *cannot* be the vantage point of the Necessary.

Then:

It's not easy to assume His vantage point. Picture yourself, if you can, with no beginning in ceaseless motion in all possible "directions", though there are no "directions". Or, as T. Gilson asked, when God created “space” where did He put it? Did He change when He did thusly? When God fills “space” how is it that the space He created yet remains? Did God change when He did “that”? Causality finds in its regress the permanence of the ceaseless wellspring and here Materialism falls off an ontic-cliff as it cannot contain nor demonstrate those peculiar vectors of Necessity’s Permanence.

Finally, we come to God in Man, Man in God. Or, to mutability and immutability and the amalgamation thereof as such pertains to, not *things* per se, but to *Person*.

As in....

As in:

Man and God, that is to say, Insufficiency and All-sufficiency, that is to say, the Created and the Necessary find the unavoidable semantics of juxtaposition arriving at some seam somewhere and then crossing that very same seam into the unavoidable semantics of amalgamation, that is to say, into the unavoidable semantics of incarnation as Necessity fills Contingency. Seamlessness. And when Necessity is Trinity, is love, we then find in all such contours those peculiar motions of volition and self-sacrifice as that which is debased and poured out glorifies that which is filled. Such unchanging motion amid Being's Volition is spied there in Trinity - ad infinitum as love's eternally sacrificed Self is found in filiation eternally begetting the beloved. We are moving towards Man.

God always was, is, such pouring, such filling, such debasement/privation, such rising/glorification, such ceaseless filiation – the beloved ever begotten there in Trinity's ontic-distances which we in our contingent reflections can never, fully, spy. We think we know the distances of those lines we call Privation/Death and Wholeness/Life but, in fact, we find, being contingent, that we lack the reach of perfect vision not only in those vectors but in all vectors. Trinity’s innate milieu affords Being’s Self/Other and finds that the Self in God just is God even as the Other in God just is God even as filiation’s ceaselessly Begotten in God just is God. Such is Trinity’s Image, such is God’s Image, such is Love’s image, and such is Man’s unavoidable landscape.

But that is God. In Contingency any Self is Insufficiency – ipso facto – and privation there finds, in all possible worlds, Need, and this both in innocence and in wretchedness for it is privation period which finds the contingent Self thusly, as ontic-mutability and ontic-contingency just is ontic-thirst – that is – until juxtaposition gives way to amalgamation. Eden and Gethsemane both house – not full and final amalgamation – but rather juxtaposition. There is no possible world where these lines can be otherwise. And so we come again - as we always do - to Water and Cup, to Pour and Fill. To Trinity’s interior milieu – to God’s Image – to Man’s ontic-real-estate. (We are moving towards “What and Who experienced Change?”)

That Image never can be any other than love's pouring, love's filling, love's debasement, love's glorification, Necessity's emptying, Contingency's filling, for such is the unchanging landscape of final reality both in possibility (Man) and in actuality (God), both in the conceived and in the actualized. We find here – eventually – that *Christ* is the fullest expression of – the express image – both of all Possibility and of all Actuality. Eden and Gethsemane are one and the same where Man, Contingency, is concerned as the First and the Last, both in innocence and in wretchedness, find love's acquiescence approaching at the speed of light there in love's eternally sacrificed self. Such Gardens just will be the landscape of Self/Other and God cannot create God and so Man there in Privation, both in Innocence and in Wretchedness, finds not what God finds in Privation’s yield inside of Trinity (the yield there is God) but finds instead the yield of Man’s Privation to be – ipso facto – Need, Thirst, Lack, and this in all possible scenarios, in all possible worlds. Short of amalgamation, that is to say, short of the semantics of incarnation, Man in privation period (obedience or disobedience matters not) just does wait for, run face first into, such semantics. Man’s ontological topography just is this same triune landscape of Self/Other and of Unity, including Privation, including Glorification, and everything in between, for the singular library just does house all the books, and it is Man who thus tastes Time’s Change, Actualization, Possibilities, and it is God Who remains the very essence of the whole show through and through – Who remains the very essence of Permanence.

Possibility here finds the Contingent, Man, as that which changes and assumes, actualizes, the very Image of what David Bentley Hart calls that infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality. It is we who assume His form, not He ours, for love ever houses filiation's acquiescence, debasement, privation, self-sacrifice, even as love ever houses filiation's begetting, filling, union, amalgamation, glorification – there in Trinity’s unavoidable milieu. In *Christ* we find seamlessness here where the Created and Uncreated likewise motion, where Contingency and Necessity likewise motion. To qualify all of this: Necessity here is not something akin to, say, Gravity, void of sight, void of ought, void of volition, but, rather, in the Christian metaphysical paradigm the immutable love of the Necessary Being is ipso facto the end of all lines and therein we find Trinity as we come to love, and therein we come to person, and therein we come to volition, and therein we come to love’s ceaseless reciprocity – the ontic-ought – and therein we come to Being. While God is – timelessly – all such contours in seamless simplicity it is we who must taste Time, Change, and therein become, be made into, that Image, His Image.

As for Time and Space and Physicality and Material and the Created Order and God, well, as WisdomLover noted somewhere, Time (Etc.) is, like a pen, something God both makes and does with whatever He chooses. Shall I build a house and not fill it? Shall I not go outside said house? Please. Mutability (which changes) and Immutability (Who is Permanence) find – in love’s ends – the unavoidable semantics of amalgamation – that is to say – the unavoidable semantics of incarnation. We find in Possibility, in Actuality, only that form which such derive from Him as – by Him – in Him – of Him – each houses form’s ontic-hard-stop. And what of our mutability, our possibility, our actualization? Well that is obvious: Mutability gives way to Immutability even as our brutal moral experience is relentless here in our privation even as He is relentless in His dive into such for us – whom He calls His beloved. Having now poured into us, He shall, on the grounds of Genesis’ Protevangelium and Israel’s centuries of Prophets – across millennia – finally fill us full with our final felicity such that no man shall need to be taught of love by another man ever again – as it will be the immutable love of the Necessary Being Himself Who fills us. Wherever we shall then look, that is to say, wherever we shall then motion, whether beneath our feet, or above our heads, or into our chests, we will find that beautiful Freedom called Permanence.

The Skeptic who wonders if Permanence is not Permanent forgets necessity’s geography and he forgets love’s necessarily triune landscape and he forgets scripture’s meta-narrative and so he just misreads the whole show.

There is in Scripture’s meta-narrative the entire continuum of Self/Other – and of Unity – of the Triune God – from the wholeness of unity’s bliss to the bitter pains of our own fragmentation – privation – of what David Bentley Hart sketches as he describes that we “….encounter the world….. through our conscious and intentional orientation toward the absolute, in pursuit of a final bliss that beckons to us from within those transcendental desires that constitute the very structure of rational thought, and that open all of reality to us precisely by bearing us on toward ends that lie beyond the totality of physical things. The whole of nature is something prepared for us, composed for us, given to us, delivered into our care by a supernatural dispensation. All this being so one might plausibly say that God – the infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality…..” becomes ever more observable in and through Gods many modes of revelation.

It is in *Christ* in Whom we find all these vectors, all those many modes of revelation, seamlessly converging there in the fullest expression of all possibility, the express

Typo Correction to close the last paragraph:


There is in Scripture’s meta-narrative the entire continuum of Self/Other – and of Unity – of the Triune God – from the wholeness of unity’s bliss to the bitter pains of our own fragmentation – privation – of what David Bentley Hart sketches as he describes that we “….encounter the world….. through our conscious and intentional orientation toward the absolute, in pursuit of a final bliss that beckons to us from within those transcendental desires that constitute the very structure of rational thought, and that open all of reality to us precisely by bearing us on toward ends that lie beyond the totality of physical things. The whole of nature is something prepared for us, composed for us, given to us, delivered into our care by a supernatural dispensation. All this being so one might plausibly say that God – the infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality…..” becomes ever more observable in and through Gods many modes of revelation.

It is in *Christ* in Whom we find all these vectors, all those many modes of revelation, seamlessly converging there in the fullest expression of all possibility, the express image of all actuality.

The challenge fails to make a distinction between God's nature and God's purpose. God has been defined as loving, faithful, and willing to forgive sins. How this occurs in time may change. Levitical sacrifice of the Old Testament leads to vicarious atonement in Christ in the New. To achieve His purposes, God would need enter a world of change and flux. His nature did not change, only His tactics. Still, there is a symbolic link between Levitical sacrifice and vicarious atonement.

To illustrate this point, take your friendly neighborhood fireman. He looks much me and you, but in his purpose to fight fire and save life he undergoes change. He (or she) dons protective clothing and gear (fifty pounds). He engages in activities that one would call illogical (dash into blazing buildings). He endures peril to save lives of strangers (usually not my pay scale). The person remains the same, but the changes he assumes is done for noble purpose.

I don't know how some would place this challenge on the "bad-argument-o-meter," but to me, this doesn't rise much above a quibble.

There are a couple of different ways to respond to this. One way seems a bit esoteric to many people, and the other may be more persuasive, although it begs the question of the proper interpretation of scripture.

In the first way, there is an explanation of God's nature that admittedly many theologians debate that satisfies the challenge. God's immutability is a logical feature of his eternality. The nature of eternity is what is debated. Some may say that eternity is simply infinite time. Indeed, it is easiest for us to think of it in those terms and the Bible even presents infinite time in such a way that it seems to fall into the category of eternity.

On the other hand, eternity proper is a state of absoluteness from which all things come. The classical arguments for God leave us with a description of this kind of eternity. God being the Creator of all things fits these arguments. Therefore, his nature is necessarily tied up in his eternality.

One of the things that he has created is time. (I would say that infinite time is an analog of eternity.) One feature that time has is to allow for a progression of revelation, or the acting out of God's nature in a way that breaks his nature into manifold categories so that his finite creatures can understand him and know him. The incarnation is the pinnacle of this revelation: the ultimate anthropomorphism so to speak.

The other way of explaining this is to come at the same thing from a human point of view. That is to say that we can observe that the statement that "God never changes" refers to his nature. However, there are ways that God certainly appears to change. One way is in the incarnation. One day he was not a man and the next day he was. The reason he did this is perfectly consistent with his nature. In other words, he planned all along to become a man for the purpose of fulfilling the revelation of himself to his people in redemptive history.

The question that remains unanswered is how we know to apply these particular categories. There's an answer, but it may require backing up into something as esoteric as the first answer. It may be enough to say that this is one explanation that demonstrates that the incarnation isn't necessarily contradictory to God's nature even if we we leave some loose ends.

If God created man in His image, why is this even a question?

Amy,

Who is asking the question?

We, humans, exist within the universe of space and time, matter and energy. For us, the dimension of time moves continuously forward. (Sometimes it may seem to be moving more quickly and other times it may seem to drag, but we cannot go back to the past, nor can we skip ahead to the future). All matter and energy within the universe change over time.

God created the Universe of matter and energy, space and time. Matter, energy, space, and time are all things God created. They are not eternal things. They would not and did not exist "until" God created them. That means from God's perspective outside of time there is no such thing as "before" or "after". God cannot change over time, because God does not exist within the framework of time. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, because for God there is no such thing as "past" or "future". For God, all time is effectively "now".

From our perspective within Time, God-the-Son "became" a man. But from God's perspective outside of time there is no "became". It is precisely this eternal aspect of Christ that empowers His sacrifice thousands of years ago, thousands of miles away to be effective for you here and now.

It's also why the oft asked question "who created the creator" is meaningless. There cannot be anything "before" God, because before God created Time there was no such thing as "before".

If I take off my polo and put on my t-shirt, I've changed. However, I have not "changed" in the sense that a close friend would mean if they said "I don't know man, you've changed. It's like I don't even know you anymore."

The "God never changes" is the second sense. The "change" of "God became man" is closer to (but not identical to) the first sense.

God's essence and character were not modified when the person of Jesus Christ incarnated as son of Mary, betrothed of Joseph.

I could ask "In what way does becoming Human change the nature and character of God?" But I think that is the wrong question here.

I think we should define terms and find out what they think it means to be Human and go from there. It's an erroneous assumption that being Human means being flawed when that is now how we were created.

Once we can establish that truly being human is not being flawed, we can see that there is no contradiction

So, apparently one size fits all?

I listened through the response on when human life begins and found it entertaining, informative and a bit amusing. If he has trouble handling some of the information he's sharing, how are we supposed to wield it with confidence in the marketplace (point #6 Mission and Values)

If the teachers' aren't comfortable/confident with the material they're teaching, how's the student supposed to be?

2. Immutability

By this we mean that the nature, attributes, and will of God are exempt from all change. Reason teaches us that no change is possible in God, whether of increase or decrease, progress or deterioration, contraction or development. All change must be to better or to worse. But God is absolute perfection, and no change to better is possible. Change to worse would be equally inconsistent with perfection. No cause for such change exists, either outside of God or in God himself.


Strong, A. H. (1907). Systematic theology (p. 257). Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society.

Nothing changes in its essence or nature.

If a thing undergoes an essential change, it is destroyed.

That's what it means for an attribute to be essential.

All things are immutable if you just mean that they never change in their essence or nature.

So that's not what it means for God to be immutable (assuming that immutability is something special about God).

I'm not sure what it means for God to be immutable.

I think the best bet is probably to appeal to the timelessness of God. All change in God is apparent to time-bound creatures, but time predicates don't really apply to the creator of time.

If you go that route, God might be (and is), at the level of appearance, quite mutable. Just be aware that all that change in God that you can't help but see, is only apparent. It's really that you are changing.

And the incarnation in particular is not an essential change in God. The 'Hypostatic Union' is an eternal aspect of the second person of the Trinity. There have always been Two Natures in Christ. The Incarnation is how this mystic union was revealed in time. But it was always there.

I think this is much simpler than some above have made it. Kelly's answer was a good one. The answer is, God did change. Part of the trinity took on human form. However, that doesn't mean God's essential nature changed, which is what we mean we say God doesn't change. We also see in scripture that God takes the form of an angel, the form of a burning bush, the form of a cloud, and the form of smoke. This doesn't mean God actually changed fundamentally, it means God is infinitely powerful and thus can change His form or can speak to people without a form. That doesn't mean that God truly changed.

@ JBerr

“Part of the trinity took on human form” VS “In him dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily” Colossians 2:9?

Or;

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: And the government shall be upon his shoulder: And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God,The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace?

that doesn't mean God's essential nature changed, which is what we mean we say God doesn't change.
My essential nature cannot change. That's what it means to say it is an essential nature.

When we say that God cannot change, we are saying something special about God. We are not saying something that is true of literally everything in the universe.

We as Christians do not say that, please do not generalise. A lot of Christians may take Jesus also as their God, but please do remember that there are a lot of Christians who believe what God said and accept Jesus to be a master teacher and prophet of the Only One True God, the God of Abraham.

No Christian believes that Jesus is merely 'a master teacher and prophet of the Only One True God, the God of Abraham', Marcus.

To be a Christian is, at a minimum, to adhere to the Apostles', Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. And that is not compatible with the position you've incorrectly identified as Christian.

Why?

Because everything is what it is and not something else.

But anyway, Jesus is YHWH...the God of Abraham. That is a very clear teaching of the New Testament.

I must also say, Marcus, that I don't see what your anti-trinitarianism has to do with the Immutability of God.

Water: Liquid, Gas, Solid

According to the bible God never changed and never changes. He also never became a man. According to the Bible to which Christians should refer to find knowledge, Jesus is not at all the God of gods, but is called 'son of man', 'son of Abraham', 'son of Isaac', 'son of God' but never god the son. It are the trinitarian Christians who took on the false teachings from the 4th century.

Real followers of Christ do accept what is written in the Torah and in the Messianic Scriptures, that Jesus is a sent one from God, a prophet and master teacher who prepared the way to enter the Kingdom of God.

Christadelphians, Marcus-

Jesus is identified as YHWH, or God, or both in every book of the New Testament (except James I think).

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