Tag Archives: Relented

Is God Constant and Unchanging?

Ever heard the phrase, “All change is not improvement but all improvement requires change”? I see God wanting to bring about a new creation on planet Earth. I don’t see the current world as the culmination of perfection, so I think there is room for improvement.

I hear people occasionally say that God is constant and unchanging. But is this so? If God is 100% constant to the point that he will not or cannot change, then how do we as Christians explain away Exodus 32:14 (quoted here in context)?

7 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

9 “I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. “O LORD,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’ ” 14 Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

“Relented” in verse 14 sounds like a “change” word to me. Moses even violated God’s direct commandment to leave Him alone to accomplish His divine wrath in verse 10, but God does not hold it against him.

There are other nebulous passages too like Abraham’s pseudo-sacrifice of Isaac. God told Abraham to kill his son, but stopped him at the last moment. So I don’t think God is 100% constant and unchanging in every situation. God certainly let Moses sway His opinion of the Israelites – though some bible scholars see this as more of a test of Moses than a reflection of God’s personality. Personally, I fail to understand why it must be one or the other. I think this beautifully illustrates both the character of God and Moses’ love for his people. God brought this out by putting Moses in this situation. Thus, I think it’s clear that God is more complex than a mere description of His being constant or unchanging accurately reflects.

Furthermore, until Jesus’ return, I believe God uses human beings to accomplish His will and it is God’s will that I consider improvement. He in fact chose us to partner with him in transforming and restoring our world for Him and to Him. We can do nothing apart from Him, however, but he does use us. Therefore, until Jesus’ return, we are the vessles of change in our world.

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