Immutability is the divine property of being unchangeable, meaning that God cannot undergo change that is real or intrinsic to his being. Plato argued that since God is a perfect being, any change would be a move away from perfection; but it is impossible that God cease to be perfect and therefore impossible that he change. This argument fails to consider the possibility of change that does not deviate from perfection, like walking on a mountain ridge rather than stepping off the peak. Strict immutability also follows from both divine simplicity and atemporal eternity, however. While immutability is an important aspect of classical theism, it appears to stand in tension with the Christian claims that God creates and then, as the Son, becomes incarnate, both of which suggest intrinsic divine change. In order to reconcile these claims Thomas Aquinas argued that God lacks any real relation to creation. Instead, the change God experiences with creation is analogous to the change a father experiences when his son grows taller than he is. While he loses the property of being taller than his son and gains the property of being shorter than his son, the father does not undergo any intrinsic change. Regarding the incarnation, defenders of immutability have claimed that the change it brings about is limited to the human nature of Christ while the divine nature timelessly experiences all that the incarnation involves. Some Christian philosophers have advocated a weaker version of immutability in which, while God's essential nature remains unchanging, God undergoes intrinsic change as he interacts with creation. Such a view implies a rejection of atemporal eternity for a sempiternal or everlasting view.
   Further reading: Dorner 1994; Weinandy 1985

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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  • immutability — immutable ► ADJECTIVE ▪ unchanging or unchangeable. DERIVATIVES immutability noun immutably adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • Immutability (theology) — Immutability is the doctrine of classical Christian theism that God cannot change; this has been variously interpreted to mean either that God s nature cannot change but that God can, or that God himself cannot change at all.The term is important …   Wikipedia

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  • immutability — im·mu·ta·bil·i·ty || ɪ‚mjuːtÉ™ bɪlÉ™tɪ n. permanence, quality of being unalterable, unchangeability …   English contemporary dictionary

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