Does the Bible Teach That God has Changed?

Posted: August 18, 2020 in Mormon Studies, We Agree With Moroni 8:18

A “We Agree With Moroni 8:18” Day Special Edition

A common Latter-day Saint apologetic in response to the “We Agree With Moroni 8:18” initiative goes something like this:

“Then how do you deal with the changes in God through time? This is a serious question that cannot be answered by posting an odd verse or two. It requires in-depth consideration of all that God has done over time from the beginning until today.

Those Christians that believe in the incarnation are the greatest of believers in the changeability of God. Why, then, are they blind to basic exegesis and the purpose of this verse and its expression in Hebrews 13:8 which in the KJV Bible says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever”, when the Bible also contains many passages of God’s changing, such as BECOMING man, SUFFERING, DYING, being Raised from the dead, and then being EXALTED? Trinitarians accept a changeable God.”
(Mormon Apologist arguments posted on the “We Agree With Moroni 8:18” Facebook page on 2020-05-01)

Other related arguments that we hear are that because God appears as a burning bush, cloud, pillar of fire, rock, Captain of the Lord’s Host, as a man striving with Jacob, as a man appearing to Abraham and Sarah, etc., etc., etc., He clearly changes in the Bible.

To this, we would simply assert that neither in theophanies nor in the incarnation did any of God’s essential divine attributes change. And the most important of all those attributes is explicitly stated in John 4:24 by Christ Who clearly and blatantly stated: “God is a Spirit”. Further, the Bible is quite clear that that Spirit is: eternal; omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient.

Given that omnipotence, that Spirit can most certainly manifest Himself in any form or in any way that He chooses to. After all, a potent Being can most certainly choose to control His potency just as a human parent must choose to restrain theirs when they play or handle a small child who would be harmed, even killed, if they failed to do so. In other words, they must choose to humble themself for the sake and out of their love for the child and the purpose and role that they currently engaged in for that time, place, and audience. Similarly, and logically, if God can’t limit the expression of Himself then He isn’t authentically omnipotent because He lacks potency over Himself. Isn’t this precisely what Paul was describing in Philippians 2 when he spoke of God’s condescension as the incarnate Christ?

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.”
(Philippians 2:3-5 KJV) 

Further, Biblical orthodoxy is clear that Christ was both fully God and fully man. The divinity in Christ (which is spiritual) remained unchanged even though He took on human flesh (which is physical). Thus God could come become fully human without changing any divine attributes. God did not change. God the Son freely and permanently added a human nature to himself without modifying his divine nature. Nothing in the incarnation improved upon any of his essential attributes.

To that last point, the Bible also teaches that God is an uncreated, eternal omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Being consisting of three uncreated, co-eternal, co-equal, co-omnipotent, co-omniscient, co-omnipresent and distinct Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are one in essence, yet three in person – one God.

Thus, God the Son can take on and possess a physical human body without it having any impact on the overall ontology of God any more than God the Spirit taking on the form of a dove, cloud, or fire does.

For a Being who is physical, all the above is impossible. However, again, the Bible is clear that “God is spirit”. And that Spirit, even though He has manifested Himself in many ways and has taken on many different forms, has never changed just as the Bible so clearly states:

Malachi 3:6
“For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

Psalm 90:2
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”

Numbers 23:19
“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Psalm 102:25-27
“Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. “Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. “But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.

Psalm 33:11
“The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.”

Isaiah 46:10
“Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;”

Isaiah 43:10
“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.

Psalm 138:8
“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.”

Philippians 1:6
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Exodus 3:14
“God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”

Romans 11:29
“…for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

Titus 1:2
“…in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,”

Hebrews 6:17
“In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath,”

James 1:17
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

Hebrews 13:8
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Further, the Book of Mormon is in complete agreement with the Bible:

Moroni 8:18
“God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.”

2 Nephi 27:23
“For behold, I am god; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

2 Nephi 29:9
“And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Mormon 9:9
“For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever , and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?”

Mormon 9:19
“And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchanging Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.”

Moroni 7:22
“For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.”

Mosiah 3:5
“The Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity…”

As is Doctrine & Covenants:

D&C 20:17
“By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them.”

D&C 76:4
“From eternity to eternity he is the same and years never fail…”

Again, and to end where we began, we would simply assert the Bible is clear that neither in theophanies nor in the incarnation did any of God’s essential divine attributes change. To claim otherwise isn’t exegesis, it’s eisegesis. Stated plainly neither the Bible or the Book of Mormon teach that God changes. Rather, they are both emphatic that God is immutable and does not change.

So now that we have that settled, the real question that remains is this: Why does the modern LDS Church disagree with and contradict both the Bible and the Book of Mormon? No, God may not change according to the Bible and the Book of Mormon, but, yes indeed, according to Mormon Doctrine sure He sure does, doesn’t He?

So, to our Mormon friends, we would simply ask, why is that? Why does modern Mormonism contradict both the Bible and the Book of Mormon in regard to God’s immutability?

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