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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel


Of God's Unchangeableness

Q. 1. What Scriptures plainly assert this Attribute?
A. Exodus 3;14. And God said unto Moses, I AM that I AM. Daniel 6:26. For he is the living God, and steadfast forever. James 1:17. With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Q. 2. Whence doth God's Immutability flow?
A. The Immutability of God flows from the perfection of his Nature, to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing can be taken away. If anything could be added to make him better than he is; or if anything could be taken away, to make him less good that he is, then he were not the chiefest Good, and consequently not God.

Q. 3. By what other argument prove you his Immutability?
A. I prove it from the Eternity of God. If God be Eternal, he must be Immutable; for if he change by addition of something to him he had not before, then there is something in God which he had not from Eternity. And if he change by diminution, then there was something in God from Eternity, which now is not; but from Everlasting to Everlasting he is the same God, and therefore changeth not.

Q. 4. But it is said, God repents, and Repentance is a change; How then is he Unchangeable, and yet repents?
A. In those Phrases God speaks to us, as we must speak of, and to him; not properly, but after the manner of men; and it only notes a change in his outward Providence, not in his Nature.

Q. 5. But how could God become man, and yet no change be made in him?
A. There is a twofold change, one active, made by God, that we allow. He made a change upon our Nature by uniting it to Christ; but a passive change made upon God, we deny. The Nature of man was made more excellent, but the Divine Nature was still the same.

Q. 6. What is the first Instruction from God's Immutability?
A. That those that are most unchangeable in holiness, are most like God. Let him that is holy, be holy still.

Q. 7. What is the second Instruction from hence?
A. That the happiness of God's people is firm, and sure, being still upon the word of an unchangeable God. Malachi 3:6. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Hebrews 6:18.

Q. 8. What is the third Instruction from this attribute?
A. That the hopes of all wicked men are vain, being built upon a presumption, that God will not deal with them as he hath threatened he will do.

Q. 9. What is the last Instruction from God's Immutability?
A. That Christians may take as much encouragement now from the nature, word, and providence of God, as the Saints in any former Generation did, or might do; for he is the same now, he was then.

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