The immutable God and the God of Love? Are they compatible? Does God
change? Does it matter?
If God is the immutable God, as interpreted from Classical Christian
Tradition, a God who remains unalterable, what is the point of prayer?
Does prayer, or any of our actions in the world for that matter,
have any effect on God? Can we move God? Is God simply a static
Being? Is prayer of use if God is absolutely immutable? Does God
respond to prayer or to our actions in the world?
Classical Tradition has presented us with a picture of an immutable
God, a mono-polar God, who remains unalterable, unchanged, transcendent
to our history in the world. Yet scriptural revelation and personal
religious experience presents us with a God who, whilst transcendent
to the world is also immanent, the God of Love who creates, redeems,
a God who is affected by, who responds to, what is happening in
the world; a God who listens and relates.
An exploratory structure.
Taking the reader through an exploratory structure utilizing Scriptural
texts, Church documents, historical theological and philosophical
debate, together with human Judaeo Christian experience carries
the aim of discerning and presenting an interpretation of the nature
of GodÍs immutability which appears best able to afford some reconciliation
of the traditional viewpoint with biblical revelation and personal
religious experience. The structure of the thesis thus involves
methodological aspects of research, exegesis, interpretation, history,
Our journey sets the overall scene of Scriptural revelation and
Conciliar documentation. Presented then are discussions of the most
polarised views or interpretations of the nature of GodÍs immutability,
that of the traditional interpretation of the Classical view, of
a static mono-polar God and the Process view of a dipolar God of
becoming. Addressed then in detail is the ensuing immutability debate.
Out of this debate emerges that which forms our final focus for
discussion and note, a reinterpretation of the Classical viewpoint.
William Norris ClarkeÍs neo-Thomistic consideration of the nature
of GodÍs immutability rests on the basis of the notion of the Dynamic
Being of God and forms the final focus and basis for our seeking
a reconciliation of tradition, scripture and personal religious
experience with respect to the nature of GodÍs immutability. Discussion
of Norris ClarkeÍs work is supplemented by a consideration of the
work of Robert A. Connor, and in support, that of David Schindler.
Norris ClarkeÍs classical reinterpretation gives credence both to
scriptural revelation and personal experience of GodÍs historical
relationality and responsiveness to humankind without betraying
the Classical Tradition. With independent support by Connor and
in dialogue with Schindler, it becomes the favoured viewpoint.
Jennifer Herrick lectures and tutors for the Centre for Christian Spirituality Broken Bay Diocese, Sydney, Australia and for the Australian Catholic University, Sydney, Australia. She is currently writing her PhD Doctorate with the University of Sydney in contemporary trinitarian theology.