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Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
Orthodox dogmatic theology

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Unchangeable.

In “the Father of lightsthere is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning(James

1:17). God is perfection, and every change is a sign of imperfection and therefore is unthinkable

in the most perfect Being, in God Concerning God one cannot say that any kind of process is being

performed in Him, whether of growth, change of appearance, evolution, progress or anything

of the like.

However, unchangeability in God is not some kind of immovability; it is not a being closed

up within Himself. Even while He is unchanging, His Being is life, filled with power and activity.

God in Himself is life, and life is His Being.

The unchangeability of God is not violated by the begetting of the Son and the procession of

the Spirit, for to God the Father, there belongs fatherliness, and to His Son, sonship, and to the

Holy Spirit, procession which is “eternal, unending, and unceasing” (St. John Damascene). Thewords, filled with mystery, “the begetting of the Son” and “the procession of the Spirit,” do not

express any kind of change in the Divine life or any kind of process; for our limited minds, “begetting

and “procession” are simply placed in opposition to the idea of “creation” and speak of

the single Essence of the Persons or Hypostases in God. The creation is something outward in

relation to the one who creates, whereas the “sonship” of God is an inward unity, a unity of the

nature of the Father and the Son; such also is the “procession” from the Essence of God, the procession

of the Spirit from the Father Who causes it.

The Incarnation and becoming man of the Word, the Son of God, does not violate the unchangeability

of God. Only creatures in their limitations lose what they had or acquire what they

did not have; but the Divinity of the Son of God remained after the Incarnation the same as it was

before the Incarnation. It received in its Hypostasis, in the oneness of the Divine Hypostasis, human

nature from the Virgin Mary, but it did not form from this any new, mixed nature, but preserved

Its Divine Nature unchanged.

The unchangeability of God is not contradicted, likewise, by the creation of the world. The

world is an existence, which is outward with relation to the nature of God. Therefore, it does not

change either the essence or the attributes of God, as the origin of the world is only a manifestation

of the power and thought of God. The power and thought of God are eternal and are eternally

active, but our creature-like mind cannot understand the concept of this activity in the eternity of

God The world is not co-eternal with God; it is created. Nevertheless, the creation of the world is

the realization of the eternal thought of God (Blessed Augustine). The world is not like God in its

essence, and therefore it has to be changeable and is not without a beginning; but these attributes

of the world do not contradict the fact that its Creator is unchangeable and without beginning (St.

John Damascene).




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