is God immutable

rossum

Well-known member
Your version of morality says that people should seek not to exist. I hardly think that your opinion is very authoritative.
It is not my opinion, it is standard Buddhism. Nirvana is not non-existence. The Buddha attained nirvana at age 35; he died age 80. For 45 years he was living in the world while at the same time in nirvana.

That means that his divine attributes do not change. Perfection rules out improvement. Any change by definition would be a degeneration, which also would be completely at odds with the concept of the God of the Bible.
So, we have a two-part God. One part is immutable and does not change while the other part is mutable and does change. You cannot have one thing that is both mutable and immutable, you must have at least two parts.

Immutability has no implication on God's power.
Yes it does.

MOSES: Lord, please part this sea so your people may cross to safety.​
GOD: I'm sorry Moses. I did not part the sea yesterday and so I cannot part it today because I am immutable. Better swim.​

An immutable God can never take any new actions, since that would be a change. Only the mutable part of a two-part God is able to do anything new.

God can't be irrational, because God is the very definition of rationality. God's divine attributes do not contradict one another.
Which is why an unchanging or immutable entity (or part entity) can never change what it does or ever do anything new. It would be a similar logical contradiction.
 

Thistle

Well-known member
It is not my opinion, it is standard Buddhism.
I stand corrected.
Nirvana is not non-existence.
When a drop of water falls from the sky and lands in the ocean what becomes of the drop? It ceases to be a drop.
The Buddha attained nirvana at age 35; he died age 80.
Jesus defeated death and the grave by the age or 33.
For 45 years he was living in the world while at the same time in nirvana.
Christ has been reining over the kingdom of God for 2021 years, and he's alive.
So, we have a two-part God. One part is immutable and does not change while the other part is mutable and does change. You cannot have one thing that is both mutable and immutable, you must have at least two parts.
You misunderstand immutability. If I understand what you're trying to say, you seem to be putting things that fall under volition, and action into immutability, and that's just false. That's not what immutability is. I think the concept of Augustinian timelessness, which I disagree with, invites people to make the kind of error that you appear to be making here.
Yes it does.

MOSES: Lord, please part this sea so your people may cross to safety.​
GOD: I'm sorry Moses. I did not part the sea yesterday and so I cannot part it today because I am immutable. Better swim.​

An immutable God can never take any new actions, since that would be a change. Only the mutable part of a two-part God is able to do anything new.
Immutability does not apply to action, it applies to God's nature or essence. I think the easiest way to put it is that God knowing everything, could not possibly look back on any of his actions and decide that something else should have been done. He already knows all the prayers that we will pray before we die and he knows exactly how he's going to answer those prayers. And if the answer to that prayer is answered in providential terms, if it required God to start making adjustments 10,000 years ago, then that's precisely what God did.
Which is why an unchanging or immutable entity (or part entity) can never change what it does or ever do anything new. It would be a similar logical contradiction.
Except you don't know what a mutability is because you don't understand the theological meaning of essence or nature. In Romans eight Paul tells Christians that they are being "conformed to the image of the Son." That means that our essence which has been polluted by sin sickness is being rehabilitated into Christ likeness. Literally our nature, or essence, is being changed. This is something that Paul can talk about authoritatively he pointed out that when he met Christ he was a blasphemer and a violent man. By Gods grace Saul of Tarsus became the apostle Paul and he became a lion for the cause of Christ. You see Paul changed, where God doesn't change his nature or essence. All of God's actions emanates from all of God's perfections which are always perfect. Our actions can be better or worse, in motivation, depending on whether our character is becoming better or worse.

One more thing I might point out. In your illustration above about parting the Red Sea, the distinction that you're making there is the distinction between General Providence and sign miracles. General Providence is God's normal rules for running the universe. You might think of it as the theological term for physics. If God needs to do something that creates an exception to general Providence we call that a sign miracle. These instances are Gods calling card. Given that this universe hasn't been around for an eternal past, you have a reason to suspect that there's a creator like me who created it. Now here's some indisputable evidence that that hunch is correct. That's the purpose of a sign miracle.

So your hunch there's something very important about the parting of the Red Sea over and against Gods normal rules for running the univers, was exactly correct, it simply has nothing to do with the mutability. God always intended use general providence in every case that he did not wish to perform a miracle, so it simply has nothing to do with immutability.
 
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rossum

Well-known member
When a drop of water falls from the sky and lands in the ocean what becomes of the drop? It ceases to be a drop.
It ceases to be a drop and it is now immune to drying out.

Christ has been reining over the kingdom of God for 2021 years, and he's alive.
Yes, gods have long lives. We know that.

You misunderstand immutability. If I understand what you're trying to say, you seem to be putting things that fall under volition, and action into immutability, and that's just false.
Something which is immutable cannot act in time; that would be contrary to immutability. Hence we can see that God is a compound of an immutable part and a mutable part. This gives us two parts: i-God and m-God. i-God does not change, does not act, and lacks volition. While m-God has all three. Just as a chessboard is black and white because it is a compound of black squares and white squares.

Your God is a compound God.

Immutability does not apply to action, it applies to God's nature or essence.
One of the basics of Buddhist philosophy is the relative lack of any essences. Such essences are seen as mostly (the Theravada ) or completely (the Mahayana) illusory. They do not exist, they are projections of our own internal mental models out into the real world where we incorrectly think that they have real existence. They don't.

As stars, a fault of vision, as a lamp,​
A mock show, dew drops, or a bubble,​
A dream, a lightning flash, or a cloud,​
So should one view what is conditioned.​
-- Diamond sutra 32​

I think the easiest way to put it is that God knowing everything, could not possibly look back on any of his actions and decide that something else should have been done.
Genesis 6:6 disagrees: "And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart."

Except you don't know what a mutability is because you don't understand the theological meaning of essence or nature.
As I said above, that is one of the areas where Buddhism is very different from Christianity:

"All the elements of reality are soulless."​
When one realises this by wisdom,​
then one does not heed ill.​
This is the Path of Purity.​
-- Dhammapada 20:7​

Essence is an illusion. It has as much reality as the 'water' in a mirage.
 

Authentic Nouveau

Well-known member
Yes it does.

MOSES: Lord, please part this sea so your people may cross to safety.
GOD: I'm sorry Moses. I did not part the sea yesterday and so I cannot part it today because I am immutable. Better swim.​

An immutable God can never take any new actions, since that would be a change. Only the mutable part of a two-part God is able to do anything new.


Which is why an unchanging or immutable entity (or part entity) can never change what it does or ever do anything new. It would be a similar logical contradiction.
Buddhists can't quote The WORD truthfully.
 

DeSanto

Well-known member
MOSES: Lord, please part this sea so your people may cross to safety.
GOD: I'm sorry Moses. I did not part the sea yesterday and so I cannot part it today because I am immutable. Better swim.

An immutable God can never take any new actions, since that would be a change. Only the mutable part of a two-part God is able to do anything new.
Why do you assume the parting the Red Sea was some “new” action God took?

Perhaps it was preordained that the sea would part at that time. Perhaps God already knew all the choices we would make and parting the sea was part of His plan from all eternity?
 

rossum

Well-known member
Why do you assume the parting the Red Sea was some “new” action God took?
Of course it was new. Was the sea already parted when Moses and the Israelites first arrived on the shore? No it was not, Moses had to ask God to part the sea before they could cross. That was an action in time, an action which is impossible for an immutable being. God may be immutable, but His actions are not.

Perhaps it was preordained that the sea would part at that time. Perhaps God already knew all the choices we would make and parting the sea was part of His plan from all eternity?
A plan is not an action. I am talking about the action within time. Since the action is within time then it is not immutable, instead it is mutable. It had a beginning, a duration and an end. That is a mutable action.
 

DeSanto

Well-known member
Of course it was new. Was the sea already parted when Moses and the Israelites first arrived on the shore? No it was not, Moses had to ask God to part the sea before they could cross. That was an action in time, an action which is impossible for an immutable being. God may be immutable, but His actions are not.


A plan is not an action. I am talking about the action within time. Since the action is within time then it is not immutable, instead it is mutable. It had a beginning, a duration and an end. That is a mutable action.
I’m saying, try to imagine all eternity as being one day in the eyes of God. Everything that has ever happened or ever will happen in one blink of His eye.
 

rossum

Well-known member
I’m saying, try to imagine all eternity as being one day in the eyes of God. Everything that has ever happened or ever will happen in one blink of His eye.
I am saying that the sea was not parted when Moses arrived at the shore. It was parted for Moses and then it was not parted after Moses crossed. That is change; two separate changes: not-parted to parted and later parted to not-parted, thus drowning Pharaoh's army.

Since anything immutable cannot change, by definition, then the actions of God are not immutable. Given that one thing cannot be both immutable and mutable, then we must have two separate things. God, who is immutable, and Actions-of-God which are mutable. From there we can analyse these two separate things separately.

Immutability greatly reduces the scope for actions within time. Those actions are separate from the initial immutable entity.
 

DeSanto

Well-known member
I am saying that the sea was not parted when Moses arrived at the shore. It was parted for Moses and then it was not parted after Moses crossed. That is change; two separate changes: not-parted to parted and later parted to not-parted, thus drowning Pharaoh's army.
Not if it God knew what choices the pharaoh would make, and He knew He would lead Moses out to the sea and had already decided that sea was going to part at that specific point and time in history...

before the creation of the world...

All actions and decisions made for all eternity... in the blink of an eye.
 
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rossum

Well-known member
Not if it God knew what choices the pharaoh would make, and He knew He would lead Moses out to the sea and had already decided that sea was going to part at that specific point and time in history...

before the creation of the world...

All actions and decisions made for all eternity... in the blink of an eye.
Decisions? Making a decision is a change. It is a change from "I have not yet decided" to "I have decided".

Actions are inevitably changes: the sea changed from not-parted to parted, and back again. An action which makes no changes is not an action; it does nothing. It would be an inaction.

The decision may have been made before the creation of the world, but not the action. How can you part a sea when the sea does not yet exist? Even an omnipotent entity cannot do that.
 

DeSanto

Well-known member
Decisions? Making a decision is a change. It is a change from "I have not yet decided" to "I have decided".

Actions are inevitably changes: the sea changed from not-parted to parted, and back again. An action which makes no changes is not an action; it does nothing. It would be an inaction.

The decision may have been made before the creation of the world, but not the action. How can you part a sea when the sea does not yet exist? Even an omnipotent entity cannot do that.
Because God is outside of time, all eternity is set out before Him as one action and we, limited that beings we are, living “in time,” cannot comprehend eternity... yet.
 
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rossum

Well-known member
Because God is outside of time, all eternity is set out before Him as one action and we, limited that beings we are, living “in time,” cannot comprehend eternity... yet.
Then Jesus, who was inside time, was not God. If God is outside time then He cannot exist inside time. If God is both inside and outside time then part of God -- as well as Jesus -- is inside time and hence are acting within time. The parting of the sea took place within time. The life of Jesus on earth took place within time. Hence both Jesus and the part of God within time changed.

You can have an immutable God outside time taking no actions whatsoever. The difficulty comes in making the connection between that immutable God outside time to the changing actions we see inside time. The Jewish Sefirot is one way to try to solve the problem while the Gnostic demiurges were a different way. The basic problem arises from trying to link something immutable to something mutable. Wherever you place the boundary there is a problem.
 

DeSanto

Well-known member
Then Jesus, who was inside time, was not God.
But He is.
If God is outside time then He cannot exist inside time.
What if (inside time) exist within (outside time)?
If God is both inside and outside time then part of God -- as well as Jesus -- is inside time and hence are acting within time.
What if time is a construct man created?
The parting of the sea took place within time.
As man understands it.
The life of Jesus on earth took place within time.
As man understands it
Hence both Jesus and the part of God within time changed.
But if God is one and cannot be separated, and “time” is just a physical construct created by man... idk, perhaps our reality is an illusion.

Reality, hijacked by time, distracts us from realizing the truth of our existence as eternal beings.
You can have an immutable God outside time taking no actions whatsoever. The difficulty comes in making the connection between that immutable God outside time to the changing actions we see inside time.
What if outside time is all there really is?
The Jewish Sefirot is one way to try to solve the problem while the Gnostic demiurges were a different way. The basic problem arises from trying to link something immutable to something mutable. Wherever you place the boundary there is a problem.
Creation trying to understand its Creator.
 
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rossum

Well-known member
What if time is a construct man created?
Then the Bible is wrong. The first day to the fifth day all happened before man appeared. Time existed before man, and science agrees with that.

But if God is one and cannot be separated, and “time” is just a physical construct created by man... idk, perhaps our reality is an illusion.
God is not "one" because he has contradictory properties. Immutable and mutable are contradictory. Immortality and dying (on the cross) are contradictory.

A chessboard can be both black and white because it is a compound of black squares and white squares. Similarly the Christian God is a compound of parts with contradictory properties. This is one of the techniques of Buddhist argument: look for contradictory properties and then split those properties into two simpler separate entities so the contradictory properties are separated.

The Christian God has just such contradictory properties and so can be logically analysed into simpler components.

Reality, hijacked by time, distracts us from realizing the truth of our existence as eternal beings.
As I understand Christian theology, we are only semi-eternal. God creates our souls at conception, not before. Our souls have a start, and so can only be half-eternal. There was a time when our souls did not exist. Did any human souls exist during Genesis day two?

This is yet another example of God acting within time, and so another example of God being mutable, not immutable.
 

DeSanto

Well-known member
Then the Bible is wrong. The first day to the fifth day all happened before man appeared. Time existed before man, and science agrees with that.
Maybe your interpretation of the Bible that is wrong. Maybe the the creation narrative isn’t meant to be interpreted literally.
God is not "one" because he has contradictory properties. Immutable and mutable are contradictory.
Immortality and dying (on the cross) are contradictory.
It’s a deep subject, one that has been hashed out centuries ago. I’m just not able to get deep into it with you right now. I’m distracted with life.

Sorry. Maybe some other time.
 

rossum

Well-known member
Maybe your interpretation of the Bible that is wrong. Maybe the the creation narrative isn’t meant to be interpreted literally.
All the evidence, both Biblical and scientific, shows that time existed before humans. If you have any contradictory evidence then you need to show it. All you have so far is a "Maybe..." Not very convincing I'm afraid.

It’s a deep subject, one that has been hashed out centuries ago.
Not yet 'hashed out'. There are still Monophysite, Nestorian and Arian churches out there with different ideas from the more common Dyophysite Christian approach to the issue.
 

DeSanto

Well-known member
All the evidence, both Biblical and scientific, shows that time existed before humans. If you have any contradictory evidence then you need to show it. All you have so far is a "Maybe..." Not very convincing I'm afraid.
Not trying to be convincing. I was literally just saying... maybe.
Not yet 'hashed out'. There are still Monophysite, Nestorian and Arian churches out there with different ideas from the more common Dyophysite Christian approach to the issue.
Okay, so you can study the ancient teachings of the Church, against these heresies, and come to your own conclusions.
 

rossum

Well-known member
Okay, so you can study the ancient teachings of the Church, against these heresies, and come to your own conclusions.
My conclusion is that there is a deep logical contradiction somewhere:
  • God is immortal and so cannot die.
  • Jesus died on the cross.
  • Jesus is God.
Any two of those statements are logically compatible. All three of them together form a contradiction. Furthermore, in logic if you start with a contradiction then you can prove anything. That possibly may explain why theologians are able to prove so many different contradictory things and why those long lived heresies are still going. It is impossible to disprove them.
 
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