Title

Divine Immutability.

Department/School

Philosophy

Date of this version

2009

Document Type

Article

Keywords

immutability

Abstract

Divine immutability, the claim that God is immutable, is a central part of traditional Christianity, though it has come under sustained attack in the last two hundred years. This article first catalogues the historical precedent for and against this claim, then discusses different answers to the question, “What is it to be immutable?” Two definitions of divine immutability receive careful attention. The first is that for God to be immutable is for God to have a constant character and to be faithful in divine promises; this is a definition of “weak immutability.” The second, “strong immutability,” is that for God to be immutable is for God to be wholly unchanging. After showing some implications of the definitions, the article focuses on strong immutability and provides some common arguments against the claim that God is immutable, understood in that way. While most of the historical evidence discussed in this article is from Christian sources, the core discussion of what it is to be strongly immutable, and the arguments against it, are not particular to Christianity.

Published in

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Citation/Other Information

Pawl, T.J. (2009). Divine immutability. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://www.iep.utm.edu/div-immu/