Earlier this week, the Gospel Coalition blog featured a post on the Incarnation and God’s immutability, which caught my attention. An individual asked,
How do we hold together the idea that God doesn’t change with what happened at the incarnation and resurrection—where Jesus was united to a human nature and took on an earthly body and ultimately a resurrection body? It’s hard to understand that God[’s] taking on a human nature and all that he experienced in the flesh is not [a] fundamental change for him.
James Anderson, Assistant Professor of Theology and Philosophy at RTS in Charlotte, blogger, and Van Tillian, responded with a several considerations that help to lessen, though not remove, the tension.
- “[T]he biblical statements about God[’s] not changing needn’t be taken in a way that rules out change in any sense.”
- One possibility is that, as William Lane Craig argues, “God is timeless apart from a creation but temporal with a creation.”
- “An alternative solution is to deny that God can experience intrinsic change while recognizing that God appears to change from the temporal standpoint of his creatures.”
- “[W]e can make a distinction between divine causes and divine effects. God’s actions take effect in time (and space) but God acts from timeless eternity.”
- “God the Son is timeless and unchangeable with respect to his divine nature but temporal and changeable with respect to his human nature.”
- “Perhaps the best solution here is to say that talk of ‘becoming’ human is really a loose way of speaking, one conditioned by our temporal perspective, and isn’t to be taken in the most literal sense.”