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What is Immutability?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
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Immutability is defined as something that cannot change. To be mutable means to be capable of change. Humans, for example, are mutable beings. In Christian theology, many use the word immutability to discuss the unchanging nature of God. This is specifically referenced to the biblical passage from Exodus 3:14, where God tells Moses, “I am what am,” sometimes written as “I am that I am.”

This passage has been interpreted as suggesting that God is a stable unchanging figure, representing immutability. According to some beliefs, it does not mean that God cannot appear in various incarnations, like Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, but these are unchanging qualities to God, and he is whatever he began as. Not all Christians believe in the immutability of God.

Some use the doctrine of immutability to suggest that bible based religion is the only way in which to access the kingdom of heaven. Changing times don’t translate to a changing God. He is and has always been what he is currently. They may look at the immutability of Christian law and suggest that even in the modern era, the only way to attain paradise is through following the same Christian laws.

Others may embrace the immutability of God but argue that biblical writings are reflective of the time in which they were written, and therefore may not always help guide the Christian, or the Jew to the right path in the modern world. They suggest that writings were always interpretive and represent the mutability of changing worlds, community and perspectives. In other words, even inspired biblical text may have been influenced by its writers.

Certain religious laws, like the ban on eating pork, are considered mutable because at the time of writing, the ban made sense. Pigs could easily transmit diseases to people. Now with safer dietary practices, eating pork is no more dangerous than consuming lamb or beef. Many Christians and some sects of Judaism make this argument.

Though immutability of God is key to many Christian religions, it is not always the spiritual doctrine of all Christian sects.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Language & Humanities contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon9606 — On Mar 09, 2008

I want to help in understanding that when He says "I am what am", we are getting told/being informed/caused to become aware of: the fact that He is everything.

'I am what am' means that, if It is, It is Him.

without him was made nothing that had been made

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Language & Humanities contributor,...
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