Recently, Miley Cyrus released her new single Younger Now along with its music video. Check out the lyrics:
No one stays the same
You know what goes up must come down
Change is a thing you can count on
I feel so much younger now
People have been criticizing Cyrus, though, because of her “sanitized reinvention.” After her “Bangerz” days, full of twerking on Robin Thicke and grinding a wrecking ball naked, critics question this seeming return to her Hannah Montana-squeaky-clean-roots. The New Yorker even goes as far to call it a “creepy return to wholesomeness.” I want to be like, HELLO? Did you not read the lyrics to this song? Miley herself has said in interviews that she’s evolving, and going back to her Tenessee roots.
With all of this talk of change, especially in our current political climate, it’s helpful for me to rest on the unchanging nature of God. We as people, just like Miley, are constantly changing, growing, and (hopefully) becoming better people. Sometimes we do it as blatantly, and perhaps even obnoxiously, as Miley. (No swinging on wrecking balls in your birthday suit, please.) Sometimes, it’s just more subtle. Our ideas change about the world in such subconscious ways that we don’t even realize it’s happening.
Yet, God never changes. Neither does His truth.
The unchanging nature of God is critical to who He is because it means He is a reliable, trustworthy God. Christian apologists call this immutability.
Many deities through the centuries have all changed. For example, Zeus’ origins, wives, children, etc. all seem to change in every mythical tale told about him. Zeus’ relationship with Hera seems to constantly change; sometimes they are a couple, and other times they are related. I wonder if the Romans ever thought to themselves, “Y’know? We really can’t seem to get it straight when it comes to Zeus!”
However, God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Malachi 3:6 says, “I, The Lord, do not change.” Further, Revelation 1:8 says, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega….who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.'”
His unchanging nature means that His standards for us do not change. For example, has a role model ever told you one thing and done another? In the sort of “Do as I say, not as I do” way? That can leave us feeling demystified and disillusioned by our mentors.
God, however, never does that. We have an absolute standard. It is always wrong to lie, and never right to murder, for example. There is no confusion when it comes to God’s morality. There is no relativism.
Arthur W. Pink, an English Christian evangelist and Biblical scholar, says,
“If God varied as we do – if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow – if He were controlled by impulse, who could confide in Him? But all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will is stable, His word is sure. Here then is a Rock on which we may fix our feet while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us.”
Why is God’s unchanging nature significant? Throughout the entire Bible, God makes a promise to all men: that He would provide a Savior for us so that we might be cleansed, saved, and be with Him. How wonderful it is that our God is unchanging, so that this promise may never be altered or withdrawn!
It also means that any promises God has given to you in Scripture or personally will remain.
Now, there are a couple places in Scripture where it says God changed his mind (Exodus 32:14, Jeremiah 26:19, Amos 7:3-6). In Genesis 6:5-7, God even regrets making mankind! Wait, didn’t we just talk about how God doesn’t change His mind because He doesn’t change?
There are several explanations on this subject, but none of them satisfy me. Instead, they end up making me, at least, feel more confused! Here’s how I think of it: If God is outside of time and knows everything, then doesn’t it stand to reason that God would never change His mind because He knows the outcome of everything? Instead, “changed His mind” would be a figure of speech, in that He warned He would do one thing (like wipe out the Israelites in Exodus 32) but ended up doing something else. God knew the whole time He wouldn’t wipe Israelites out. God knew when He created the world in Genesis 1 that the people would turn evil in Genesis 6.
In my mind, Moses was using language in Genesis and Exodus to help us somewhat understand God’s thinking over these situations by using the phrase “changed His mind.” (This phenomenon is called anthropomorphism, which means attributing human feelings to God in order to somehow understand His complexities.)
For you and I, we can rest on the fact that God will never change. He is always just, merciful, and gracious. His salvation is always ours for the taking. We can take comfort that we will go to Heaven after accepting Christ, because God’s not going to take our salvation away (Romans 8:38-39, Romans 11:29, John 10:28-29). We know if God tells us something will happen, it will definitely happen (Numbers 23:19, Joshua 21:45, 1 Kings 8:56, Psalm 119:160). The Lord never changes.
What do you think? How does God’s unchanging nature bring you comfort? How are you changing as an individual? Tell me in the comments.