Can the Perfect change and still be Perfect?

A few weeks ago I got into a debate online about whether or not YHWH could change his mind. I presented the few verses that directly indicate that he has changed his mind…

Exodus 32:14 – “So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.”

This was when YHWH told Moses that he was going to destroy all the people he just saved from the Egyptians because they were turning to false gods. Moses told YHWH to remember the promise he made to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel about multiplying and blessing their descendents. And while Moses was interceding on the behalf of the Jews they were building a Golden Calf to worship.

Jeremiah 26:19 – “Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord, and the Lord changed His mind about the misfortune which He had pronounced against them? But we are committing a great evil against ourselves.”

This verse is about how YHWH changed his mind about killing King Hezekiah when the king repented of his wrong doings. Now this verse is easily dismissed because people say that it is just YHWH responding to our repentance and it has the appearance of changing his mind. Unfortunately, the Exodus verse above cannot be so easily dismissed. There was no repentance from the Jews who were still in the act of

But I have been thinking about this topic since that online debate, trying to wrap my head around the truth, when this past Easter I attended a church gathering. Obviously the sermon’s topic was about Jesus’ death and resurrection. This verse made me think about this topic again.

Matthew 26:39 – “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.'”

This is when Jesus was praying right before Judas gave him up to the chief priests. When I thought about it this began to rattle in my brain, “Is Jesus asking YHWH to change his mind?”

Of course, if you do a Google search for “can god change his mind” you’ll get a number of posts at the top of the results that without a doubt say that YHWH cannot change his mind. He is immutable and perfect and therefore is forever unchanging. And if you believe that he can change, you have to reconcile Malachi 3:6 “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” If you believe he cannot change, you have to reconcile the verses above that say he has changed his mind, the requests from Jesus to change his plan, as well as the numerous calls for us to pray to him to “ask” and “receive” things. And then you have to reconcile all of this with the idea that traditionally it is believed that YHWH knows everything that will ever happen, in fact, he might have ordained it all to happen.

Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what I believe about all this. I do not think it is as cut and dry as we typically believe. If it were, it would probably be the first thing about YHWH that was!

So, I think it is much more complex than saying that the perfect can never change. What if perfection cannot be perfect unless it also has the ability to change? What if there are events in our present, past and future that immovable and unchanging, but there are other events that are flexible? All I am saying is that I am not convinced that a god who changes his mind necessarily makes him a lesser god. What are your thoughts?

Comments

  1. Scott Mc says:

    Matthew 26:39 – “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’”

    This is the only verse I have issue with. God is God…and Jesus is God, in human form as His Son. The Holy Trinity proves this. Who is the Holy Spirit? God in omnipresence after the day of Pentecost, “The promised Comforter”. God in pure Spirit. Who is God? The Eternal “Iam” Yaweh , different spellings are used…Adonai, El Shaddai, Elohim, ect…Point being, God has no aspect of Earthly time constrain, God is forever, before forever and remain after “earthly” understanding of forever. Last, what was Christ asking of God in Matt. 26:39? The explanation placed and impressed upon my heart to share is: Lets start with the first words “My father” This is God the Father or My equal throughout my earthly tenure.. Next, “If this is possible, let this cup pass from me” Is what Jesus actually asking “God in heaven”, Why can’t we go ahead and put and end to the question of my purpose, as their Messiah by allowing all the people to see that we are truly ONE and end the debate? Last, the final componentv,”yet not as I will, but as You will.’”v Christ already knows he is Messiah, however, the Jews still do not believe, is Christ also asking to prematurely release the Holy Spirit as a comparison to the cup and allow it to overflow? Overflow not only to have the day of Pentecost with a mighty rush and immediate and possibly even allow, even the Jews, to recognize the truth, as the Spirits outpouring ( allow the cup to overflow ) and “open the Jewish Rabbi’s hearts to see and recognize that they, foolishly and intentionally, are about to cause unthinkable pain, suffering and eventual death to God in the flesh? We all know, the Jews are God’s chosen people, thus, why not allow them to be Holy Spirit gifted with discernment of what they are about to do, especially since they are the Chosen? Christ leaves the final decision to the Heavenly aspect of his duality and accepts the inevitable.

    I truly think this is in the “master scheme of things on earth” and Christs purpose is for all to have the chance of Eternal Life because God knows (Jesus, as well, as He, too is God, just in the flesh and the fleshly aspect is to question alternatives to an excruciating death, no matter of Jesus being God , He is of flesh, feels pain and already knows the suffering to come….(Who, in their own right mind wishes to feel the heartbreak of betrayed by a close friend/follower over money that Jesus knows (Judas, as well) is an earthly possession, be arrested for a crime that the very people, Jews, He was sent for to deny him, have him mocked , beaten, spit upon, sentenced to death for speaking the truth, compared to a known murderer and choose the murders release over His, endure Roman punishment (history shows that the punishment administered by Romans was usually a death sentence due to the implements used, as they tore flesh from bone and caused such severe wounds. The infection, as well as blood loss, was enough to kill a lesser man) and Crucifixion was certain death…and Christs final sentence.

    As a mere man, I completely understand why Christ asked what He did in Matt. 26:39, as the Bible clearly states He suffered as a man.

    My explanation as to why Christ submitted to God the Father? Christ and The Father knew without the sacrifice, We as “gentiles” would have no chance of Eternal Life without the sacrifice Jesus willfully allowed. Jesus could have easily stopped it at any time, however, He knew the resurrection would be the end result,. He knew He would have the keys to death, hell and the grave, He knew His sacrifice gave a way for all others that accepted Him as Gods son, born of a virgin. willingly subjected to harsh punishment, Crucifixion, willfully commending His life in a mortal body to cease, His burial and His resurrection from death would give eternal life. Again, Why Did Jesus as His equal mention the prior question? His birth, death, burial and resurrection had to be fulfilled in order for the cup to be used however, prophetic fulfillement is here: John 4:13-14 (NIV)
    13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water (probably a common well) will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

    People in The Old Testament were “Filled with the Holy Spirit” as well…Psalms 23:5 (KJV)” Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over” This verse signifies that (David, The Psalmist) God literally filled His children with His spirit to the aspect that the feelings of Praise, Peace, Love and Joy couldn’t be contained. . A lot of this verse is still scriptural in the New Testament.
    James 5;14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. There are four great meals, or feasts, in the New Testament, the meal of grace (Luke 14:15-24), the Lord’s supper (1 Cor.11:23-26), the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev.19:7-9) and the supper of the Great God (Rev.19:17-21). Now, ‘My cup runneth over”, in a spiritual sense, not a literal, tangible cup. I have chosen the Common English Bible ( CEB ) and the entire chapter for apparent reasons:
    1 Corinthians 12:1-31 Spiritual gifts
    1 Brothers and sisters, I don’t want you to be ignorant about spiritual gifts. 2 You know that when you were Gentiles you were often misled by false gods that can’t even speak. 3 So I want to make it clear to you that no one says, “Jesus is cursed!” when speaking by God’s Spirit, and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 4 There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 5 and there are different ministries and the same Lord; 6 and there are different activities but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. 7 A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good. 8 A word of wisdom is given by the Spirit to one person, a word of knowledge to another according to the same Spirit, 9 faith to still another by the same Spirit, gifts of healing to another in the one Spirit, 10 performance of miracles to another, prophecy to another, the ability to tell spirits apart to another, different kinds of tongues[a] to another, and the interpretation of the tongues to another. 11 All these things are produced by the one and same Spirit who gives what he wants to each person. 12 Christ is just like the human body—a body is a unit and has many parts; and all the parts of the body are one body, even though there are many. 13 We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jew or Greek, or slave or free, and we all were given one Spirit to drink. 14 Certainly the body isn’t one part but many. 15 If the foot says, “I’m not part of the body because I’m not a hand,” does that mean it’s not part of the body? 16 If the ear says, “I’m not part of the body because I’m not an eye,” does that mean it’s not part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, what would happen to the hearing? And if the whole body were an ear, what would happen to the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God has placed each one of the parts in the body just like he wanted. 19 If all were one and the same body part, what would happen to the body? 20 But as it is, there are many parts but one body. 21 So the eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” or in turn, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 22 Instead, the parts of the body that people think are the weakest are the most necessary. 23 The parts of the body that we think are less honorable are the ones we honor the most. The private parts of our body that aren’t presentable are the ones that are given the most dignity. 24 The parts of our body that are presentable don’t need this. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the part with less honor 25 so that there won’t be division in the body and so the parts might have mutual concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it. 27 You are the body of Christ and parts of each other. 28 In the church, God has appointed first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, the ability to help others, leadership skills, different kinds of tongues. 29 All aren’t apostles, are they? All aren’t prophets, are they? All aren’t teachers, are they? All don’t perform miracles, do they? 30 All don’t have gifts of healing, do they? All don’t speak in different tongues, do they? All don’t interpret, do they? 31 Use your ambition to try to get the greater gifts. And I’m going to show you an even better way.

    The reason I used 1 Cor 12 is to demonstrate, by an attempted explanation of the “Spiritual Cup”. I believe their are two distinct experiences. At the time a person submits to Holy Spirit conviction (Yes, I do believe, one has to be “drawn by conviction” to Salvation by being enlightened that the person is a sinner, the person recognizes this and accepts Jesus, wholly and fully, as their Savior by unwavering belief that He was born a virgin birth, lived as God in the flesh, was Crucified and Died for deliverance of sin and arose from the dead to prepare a place and will come again, for His flock. This is when we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Now, The Indwelling, Baptism by Water and Baptism of the Holy Spirit are three separate occurrences. The first two are self explanatory. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a completely different, and Christian life changing event. Yes, I understand, many faiths/denominations think it was an occurrence only on the day of Pentecost. I disagree. Answer these questions for me: 1- Was God, God before time…even before any existence of any sort? 2. Does God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit exist together, constantly as a commune, singular Trinity? 3. Rewording #1, Is God remained the same yesterday, today and forever, even after the end of perceivable time? If your answer was “YES” to ANY question, your score is 100% because God is, was and always will be, everlasting and never changing. This said, If I Cor.12:1-31 is what “Makes the Spiritual Cup Overflow” by the gifts of the Holy Spirit ( Remember, God is was and always will be, never changing and omnipresent…so, the SAME Holy Spirit (Comforter) at the day of Pentecost remains the same today, yesterday and forever. Therefore, proving 1 Cor. 12:1-31 as accurate today as it was when written by the Apostle Paul. I never would have fathomed I would receive baptism by the Holy Spirit, as I was saved when I was 8 yrs old. I had turned away from organized religion, but still prayed, from age 16 to 38 and began attending church again, a Baptist Church, as my Stepfather is a baptist minister and my mom is Pentecostal. I was attending a small Missionary Baptist Church with my girlfriend/fiance/current wife (Thank God for my girlfriend and His use by her to get me back in the doors). Even after that, I felt distant at that church, as I knew Christ was my Savior but never been baptized. I asked the pastor to baptize me and I was asked several questions about my denominational beliefs. I answered, “I am a Christian.”. He replied, “No, I mean, are you of Pentecostal faith?” I responded. “Yes, I am….but what does that have to do with my baptism?” He responded,”When you are baptized here, you are a member here.” I paused for a moment and replied,” Sir, I want to be baptized as told to do so…as an outward expression of my inward faith in Jesus as Savior, not to join the church…I am a member of Gods church.” The pastor was quiet for a minute,then replied, “You, my Brother in Christ, just made me rethink the meaning of why I wanted you baptized and why you want baptism….the deacons were forcing me to get a renunciation of faith to the baptist theology….SO, I will only ask this…IS Jesus Christ your personal savior?” “Yes”,I replied…”Do you agree to follow baptist doctrine when attending this congregation?…”I would never impose my faith and beliefs out of place where I know, without a doubt, the Holy Spirit and the movement of the Spirit, will not allow me.” The pastor said, “That’s exactly what I thought you’d say.” We then stepped into the baptistry and received my water baptism, and later, rededicated my life to Christ. My third baptism was blessed upon me, by Baptism in the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues at a revival under Gabriel Swaggart at Lithia Springs Assembly of God, in Douglasville , GA in 2013 on the second night of the revival. I told, ecstatically, my stanch baptist wife,my mother and stepfather about it. Since that occurred, I guess my wife told someone at our local church and I have been…well..let’s just say, avoided, by most members there. Believe me, you can tell when you are less than welcome, at a church. I stopped going to my wifes home church and prayed for guidance where God wants me and my family to be. I have been attending every other Sunday at a local Church of God and I know…especially after 7-20-14, That will be my families new church home. On the 20th, my “Gift of Interpretation of Tongues: was, must I say, unexpectedly revealed to me. Praise God, I have never felt such an indwelling of The Holy Spirit,..even at my initial Spirit Baptism. The messenger was giving a message in tongues, ( No idea what language it was ) and I understood it. Normally, there is another interpretation gifted member there, however, this was meant for me to obey Gods will and speak. I mentioned earlier I hesitated because I knew I understood it but didn’t want to overstep the possibility of an actual church member with the gift.,,about 30 seconds passed and it was, as if, God, himself, stood me up and my interpretation “cup ran over”. I just had gotten off the phone with my friend, also a member there, and she told me that the normal member with the gift was out of the sanctuary, for some reason…my friend was with him. Amazing enough, He did interpret…the exact same time I did, for my friend, in the entry way, as you cant hear the service in that area. She told me on the phone, Scott, you will never realize what happened Sunday!…I said…well…neither will you, since you stepped out…She said, “That is the amazing thing…the normal member with the gift of interpretation was in the entryway with me and just started talking….I listened but didn’t know the connection til today. My friend had just listened to the internet sermon, heard the message of tongues and my interpretation,,,,we both gave an identical account of what was said in tongues.

    I feel led to talk about Pseudo- Salvation and the TRUE way to Christ. Yes, again, I realize that this isn’t a popular topic, especially with some denominations, however, I truly feel God is leading me to express what He has placed on my heart and mind. Never will anyone convince me that one can be saved by just repeating a phrase, being a “good” person ( including someone that has been a “member” of the congregation,,,even a deacon, in that time, even some “pastors” have never accepted Jesus as Savior, nor obtain salvation by water submersion, (here is where I will ruffle feathers), respond to altar call, go through the motions and never change their sinful lifestayle…..example: Bud Weiser walks into church with Pilsner Miller, his boyfriend, responds to the benediction, kneels, appears to have an experience of some sort. walks out the church doors, pops open a “Tall, Cold One, along w his “left handed” cigarette, kisses his proclaimed boyfriend. and claims to be saved. I truly think, it was an experience and not a dedication to a life of christianity- He will bust hell wide open, less he truly gives full submission to Christ. No, drinking in itself is not a sin as the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:11 ESV
    But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

    Ephesians 5:18-20
    And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (ESV)
    9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    Galatians 5:19-21 ESV
    Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God
    (If you read an earlier post of mine and wonder where The Apostate Sins are found, look no further, study Romans chapter 1, for starters)
    Romans 1:26-27
    For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature( Lesbianism); and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men(Gay/Homosexual Men) and receiving in themselves the due penalty (Eternity in Hell) for their error.

    Again, THANK YOU, LEW, for this blog. I know God led me here for a purpose and I appreciate you allowing me to post, interact and have theological discussions with both like minded and those that disagree, including atheist, agnostics, Jews (Yes, Messianic Jews, too, as I saw at least one blogger) and others just looking for answers to common biblical issues/topics. This is how I believe God wants His children to interact on social media/Blog space.

    • Scott Mc says:

      Wow…can’t believe I skipped this….THE MOST TABOO…subject on Salvation…Da…DA..DUMMM…Eternal Security. I am actually glad I did overstep this because I want everyones HONEST input First. I do, However, ask that the answer be in this format: First, Do you believe in Eternal Security. Second,, Why or Why not w explanation…HOLDING BIBLICAL SCRIPTURE, at this time. I want the responders to keep their Bibles CLOSED and give opinion from current and first thought expression (Yes, I realize that a majority of the respondents are sound biblical versed people) Last, Scripture backing the explanation given.

      I will wait a bit before stating my responses.

      again, Thanks

      S. Scott McClure, CCEMT-P (in case you are curious, that is Critical Care Emergency Medical Technician- Paramedic,…proud of my title, Highest attainable level a paramedic can achieve.)

  2. Scott Mc says:

    More about “Can God change?” or “Can God change His decision?”

    I will make this short and simple. No, God is the same as He was before creation, during creation, at Christs Crucifixion, the Day of Pentecost and will be God for eternity. (see above reference to 1 Cor Ch 12 on ‘The Gifts of the Spirit” in my previous post.

    Can God change…a hesitate to say…His mind, rather, can He manipulate a decision prior made or future events?
    Again, Undoubtedly, YES. This is the same God that can do whatever, whenever, however, without question because who are we to question His infinite wisdom?

    Can God change his mind? Part 2- I think it is better thought as, HAS He changed His mind in the past? I honestly can’t answer ‘Yes: to this because of how others interpret Gods word, either by their choice in printed version, someone’s personal interpretation and the undeniable answer that can only be given by God,

    sense not a bit, type I just that…. sometimes I confuse myself