Pilgrim’s Keyboard

January 31, 2015

Attributes of God – The Foreknowledge of God

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The Foreknowledge of God

 

NT

  • 1 Peter 1:1-2 | … To the pilgrims [strangers – KJV] of the Dispersion [i.e., Asia Minor] … elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father …

 

Foreknowledge

This is a NT word –

 

  • Gk. word for Foreknowledge – Gk. verb: proginosko ((pro, “before,” ginosko, “to know”)  /  noun: prognosis |
    • Verb: know something beforehand or in advance; know someone previously; select in advance, choose or appoint beforehand (Acts 26:5; Ro. 8:29, 11:2; 1 Pet. 1:20; 2 Pet. 3:17).
    • Noun:  it is used only of divine foreknowledge; foreknowledge; advance knowledge, foreknowledge, what is known ahead of time (Acts 2:23; 1 Pet. 1:2).[1]

 

OT – Demonstrated

  • Isaiah 42:8-9 | I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them. 
  • Isaiah 45:1-5,  | Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held … I will go before you and make the crooked places straight [etc.] … that you may know that I am the LORD, who called you by name … I have named you, though you have not known Me. I am the Lord and there is none other; there is no God besides Me. 

FOREKNOWLEDGE

 

Kregel Dictionary of the Bible and Theology[2]

God omniscient understanding of future events, both actually and contingently. God’s “understanding is infinite” (Ps 147:5), and His foreknowledge interrelates with His plan, as seen in His redemptive purpose through Christ (Isa 46:9-10; Ac 2:23; Eph 1:11). This plan “was foreknown before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet 1:20).

In biblical usage, divine foreknowledge is applied to the salvation of humans, whom God brings into a special relationship with Himself as His chosen people (Rom 11:2-28). God’s foreknowledge is not based upon foresight. He is in control of the future and nothing occurs that is outside His plan (Isa 48:3-5; Eph 1:11).

 

C. D. Cole[3]

When the word is used … it refers to God’s knowledge of events before they actually happened. In this sense “foreknowledge” is one of the Divine attributes …

 

Milburn Cockrell[4]

The word “foreknowledge” in English means “to know beforehand” or “to have previous knowledge.” Its meaning can be seen by dividing the word. The prefix “fore” means “beforehand,” and is connected with the word “knowledge.”

 

The foreknowledge of God must be distinguished from His [omniscience] which embraces all things, past, present, and future, while foreknowledge anticipates only future events. … The foreknowledge of God is what He purposed to bring to pass. It is the whole order of events which He Himself purposed to do by His sovereign decrees. … Hence foreknowledge is not a preview of events that blind fate might engender, or that are supposed to arise in the will of man or angel, for neither man nor angel existed when God made His plan in eternity past. God was more than a mere onlooker gazing down on the course of events. By foreordination and foreknowledge He determined what would and would not transpire in time and eternity [“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined …” – Rom. 8:29]. To deny this is to deny the Godhood of God.

 

A. W. Pink[5]

Foreknowledge is never used in Scripture in connection with events or actions; instead, it always has reference to persons.

  • Acts 2:23 | Him [Christ] being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God …
  • Romans 8:29-30 | For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son … these He called … these He justified … these He also glorified.
  • Romans 11:2 | God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.
  • 1 Peter 1:2 | Elect [dispersed in Asia Minor – v. 1] according to the foreknowledge of God the father …

Wayne Grudem[6]

Romans 8:29 | “foreknow” –

God’s foreknowledge is before not after the fact of one believing.

This verse [cannot] be used to demonstrate that God based his predestination on foreknowledge of the fact that a person would believe. The passage speaks rather of the fact that God knew persons (“those who foreknew”), not that he knew some fact about them, such as the fact that they would believe. It is a personal, relational knowledge [cf. Matt. 7:23; John 10:14, 27] that is spoken of here … Therefore in Romans 8:29, “those whom he foreknew” is best understood to mean, “those whom he long ago thought of in a saving relationship to himself.” The text actually says nothing about God foreknowing or foreseeing that certain people would believe, nor is that idea mentioned in any other text of Scripture.

 

Millard Erickson[7]

Paul’s use of … proginosko [know before], signifies more than an advance knowledge or precognition. It carries the connotation of a very positive and intimate relationship. It suggests looking with favor on or loving someone, and is even used of sexual relations [OT – (Hb) yada – Gen. 4:1, 24 | Adam knew his wife Eve; NT – (Gk) – Matt. 1:24-25 | Joseph “did not” know Mary until after the birth of Jesus]. What is in view, then, is not a neutral advance knowledge of what someone will do, but an affirmative choice of that person.

Closing Thot:

Stephen Lawson[8]

Foreknowledge …

Before time began, before the foundation of the world, in eternity past, God drew a circle around your name and He singled you out and He chose to love you and He set His heart upon you with blazing burning love and affection. He entered into a saving love relationship with you by His eternal covenant from before the foundation of the world and He wrote your name in His lamb’s Book of Life before time began, [saying] you are mine and I have set my heart upon you and I love you with an everlasting love.

[1] Vine, 249; Friberg, 327, 328; Wigram, 654.

[2] Holloman, Krekel Dictionary, 156.

[3]Cole, 66.

[4] Cockrell, 12.

[5] Pink, Attributes, 27.

[6] Grudem, 676-677.

[7] Erickson, 939.

[8] Lawson, “The Foreknowledge of God”.

January 24, 2015

Attributes of God – The Truthfulness / Veracity of God

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The Truthfulness / Veracity of God

 

     OT

  • Deuteronomy 32:3-4 | For I proclaim the name of the LORD:  ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.
  • Psalm 31:5 | Into thine hand I commit my spirit:  thou has redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

 

     NT

  • Titus 1:1-2 | Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began … 

Truthfulness / Veracity

 

Kregel Dictionary of the Bible and Theology[1]

Truth

Is that which accurately corresponds to reality or fact. A true statement represents fact or the actual state of a matter. In the fullest sense, Scripture teaches that there is no “truth” that is not intimately attached to God. Because God is creator and omniscient in His knowledge, all facts are true because He made a universe in which they are true and knowledge of all things that can be described as true or factual is immediately in the mind of God. … All truth comes from God and is truth because it is related to God. … [R]eality and truth exist only because God exists. There would be no truth unless God existed; so all truth is contingent of the fact that there is a Necessary Being (Jn. 1:3). God then is the origin and stand of truth. God’s truthfulness is His absolute consistency with Himself and His perfect representation of reality in His assertions and actions ––– (Num. 23:19 | God is not a man that He should lie… has He not spoken and will He not do it? [adapted]; ––– Jn. 14:6 | I am the way, the truth, and the life …).

 

Hb. word for “truth” – Denotes faithfulness in the since of fidelity and trustworthiness, and truth.[2]

 

Gk. word for “truth” – Signifies the reality … at the basis of an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a matter.[3]

 

Stephen Lawson[4]

The attribute of the “Truthfulness of God” means:

He is the God of truth and that He speaks only the truth.

He is the author of truth, source of truth, the determiner of truth.

He is the arbitrator of truth and He is the final judge of all truth.

He is the ultimate standard of truth.

 

What is Truth?

In one word: truth is reality. – It is the things that really are. It is veracity (– i.e., truth or accuracy).

Truth is not determined by us – but is consistent with God’s character. Consistent w the mind of God. Consistent with the will of God. Consistent with the glory of God. Consistent with the being of God. consistent with the things of God that line up with His holiness – the foundation of all of His attributes.

Two Characteristics of God’s Truthfulness

I. DIVINE

 

Milburn Cockrell[5]

“… the LORD is the true God …” | Jeremiah 10:10. [The LORD] is a God of truth and in truth. The God of the Bible is not a counterfeit or a pretense. Our God is what He claims to be and those who worship and serve Him can safely rely upon Him. Never will He deceive His children or His creatures.

Isaiah 25:1 says: “Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” The veracity of God is the foundation of His faithfulness. Because He is a God of truth He must do what He plans and promises. … God is true in and of Himself. … He is referred to as “holy and true” (Revelation 3:7; 6:10).

1. Must Originate with God / It is His very nature …

Truth is ascribed to each person of the Godhead.[6]

The Father –                 John 17:3 | And this is eternal life that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. Cf. Isaiah 65:16.

The Son –                    1 John 5:20 | … we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. Cf. John 14:6.

The Holy Spirit –          1 John 5:6 | … it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. Cf. John 15:26.

2. Must be Absolute – The Ultimate Standard / The measure of all truth – foundational …

Proverbs 30:5 | Every word of God is pure. …

3. Must be Singular / No other source … 

John 17:17 | Sanctify them by your truth, Your word is truth.

4. Must be Immutable  / Endures throughout eternity …

Psalm 117:2 | Oh praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the LORD endures forever.

5. Must be Objective / Shows no favoritism…

2 Timothy 2:15 | Study to show yourself approved to God, rightly dividing the word of truth.

 

II. COMMUNICATED

 

A. W. Pink[7]

God is true. His word of Promise is sure. In all His relations with His people God is faithful.

 

Revealed (Revelation) … Comes to us by Divine Revelation

 

1. Must be Inspired / Not made up by man

1 Thessalonians 2;13 | … You received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God.

2. Must be Universal / Truth never changes …

Psalm 100:5 | For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.

3. Must be Illuminating / Nothing else can rightly reveal right/wrong …

Psalm 43:3 | Oh, send out Your light and Your Truth! Let them lead me … – Cf. Ps. 119:105.

4. Must be Trustworthy / Can be followed safely w/assurance…

John 16:13 | However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth …

 

5. Must be Authoritative / Can be followed w/o questioning …

Daniel 10:21 | … I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth.

 

CLOSING THOT:

 

Wayne Grudem[8]

God’s truthfulness means that he is the true God, and that all his knowledge and words are both true and the final standard of truth. The term veracity, means “truthfulness” or “reliability,” has sometimes been used as a synonym for God’s truthfulness.

 

Thomas Watson[9]

God is prima veritas, the pattern and prototype of truth. There is nothing true but what is in God or comes from God.

 

Romans 3:4 | … Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar!

[1] Holloman, Krekel Dictionary,  551 (adapted).

[2] Mounce, Dict. 747

[3] Vine, 645.

[4] Lawson, “The Truthfulness of God”.

[5] Cockrell, 65-66 (adapted).

[6] Cockrell, 65.

[7] Pink, Attributes, 53.

[8] Grudem, 195.

[9] Watson, 99.

January 11, 2015

Attributes of God – The Holiness of God

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The Holiness of God 

 Isaiah 6:1-4 | In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting up on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings; with two he covered his face with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of host; the whole earth is full of His glory!”

And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.

 

Holy/Holiness –

 

Hebrew | qados – It describes that which is by nature sacred or that which has been admitted to the sphere of the sacred by divine rite. It describes, therefore, that which is distinct or separate from the common or profane. Generally translated as: holy, holy one, saints.[1]

 

. 1 Samuel 2:2 | There is none holy like the LORD, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.

 

Greek | hagios – Fundamentally [it] signifies “separated” … hence in Scripture in its moral and spiritual significance, separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God, sacred. [Generally translated as: holy (especially when used with God), saints (when used with believers) or sacred (when used with items set apart unto God)].[2]

 

. 1 Peter 1:15-16 | [A]s He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” | See Leviticus 19:2.

 

R. C. Sproul[3]

The Scriptures say that God is holy. The term holy, as it is used in the Bible to describe God, refers to His nature and His character.

Primarily, God’s holiness refers to His greatness and His transcendence [greater than and independent of His creation], to the fact that He is above and beyond anything in the universe. In that regard, the holiness of God is incommunicable [those attributes not shared by creatures]. He alone in His being transcends all created things.

Secondly, the word holy, as it is applied to God, refers to His purity, His moral and ethical excellence. This is what God has in mind when commands holiness from His creatures: “Be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44); 1 Peter 1:16).

 

 

Milburn Cockrell[4]

Just what do I mean when I speak of the holiness of God? I mean that perfection of God by which He eternally wills and maintains His own moral excellence, abhors sin, and demands purity in His moral creatures.

The idea of God’s holiness is twofold.

 

Positively – it denotes God is absolutely distinct from all His creatures and is exalted above them in majesty.

. Exodus 15:11 | Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods [mighty ones – margin]? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

. Revelation 15:4 | Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested.

. Leviticus 19:2 | Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, an say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

Negatively – it means God is separate from moral evil and sin. … In the virtue of His holiness God can have no communion with sin. … God never has a sinful thought … God cannot be the author of sin. To commit iniquity is contrary to His nature. … All sin is hateful to His sight, and He cannot endure to look upon iniquity with pleasure. Light cannot co-exist with darkness, fire with water, heat with cold, deformity with beauty, foulness with sweetness, nor sin with God. There is an entire contradiction between God and all unholiness.

. Habakkuk 1:13 | Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity. [KJV]

. Psalm 99:3, 5, 9 | Let them praise Your great and awesome name –– He is holy. | Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His footstool; for He is holy. | Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.

 

 

T.P. Simmons[5]

The holiness of God is His perfect moral and spiritual excellence. God is perfectly pure, sinless, and righteous in Himself. Holiness is the ground of all other moral attributes in God.

. Joshua 24:19 | … Joshua said to the people … the LORD … He is a holy God.

 

 

Wayne Grudem[6]

Holiness – The doctrine that God is separated from sin and devoted to seeking his own honor. This definition contains both a relational quality (separation from) and a moral quality (the separation is from sin or evil, and the devotion is to the good of God’s own honor or glory).

 

 

Don Fortner[7]

God is absolute moral purity. He can neither sin nor tolerate sin. All that God is, is holy. He cannot do anything, be anything, associate with, or accept anything short of absolute perfect holiness.

Quoting – R. L. Dabney | God’s holiness is the collective and consummate glory of his nature.

Quoting – A. H. Strong | Infinite, moral perfection is the crown of his Godhead; holiness is the total glory thus crowned.

. Leviticus 20:26 | And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from  the peoples, that you should be Mine.

. Psalm 111:9 | He has sent redemption to His people; He commanded His He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is ahis name.

A. W. Pink[8]

[God] only is independently, infinitely, immutably holy. In Scripture He is frequently styled “The Holy One”: He is so because the sum of all moral excellency is found in Him. He is absolute Purity.

. Revelation 15:4 | Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. …

[ESV]

. Habakkuk 1:13 | Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.

[KJV]

1. God’s Holiness is Manifested in His Works

. Psalm 145:17 | The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works

2.God’s Holiness is Manifested in His Law

. Romans 7:12 | The law is holy, and the commandment holy, just, and good.

3. God’s Holiness is Manifested in the Cross

. Psalm 22:3 |  You are holy …

 

C. D. Cole[9]

The holiness of God is the purity and rectitude of His nature. He is necessarily and essentially holy. His very being is the sole source and standard of right; therefore, whatever He wills is ethically right. There is no standard for God; He Himself is the standard of holiness. God is under no law of holiness; He Himself is the law of holiness.

The attribute of holiness gives glory and harmony to the rest of [God’s] attributes. Without holiness, wisdom, and knowledge would be but craft and cunning. Without holiness, power would be but tyranny, oppression, and cruelty.

There is an emphasis to this attribute above all the other attributes. … In the Bible, the holiness of God has preeminence over all others. (1) no other attribute is spoken of with such solemnity and frequency by the angels (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8). (2) God singles out this perfection to swear by. “Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie to David (Ps. 89:35). … God’s holiness is the beauty and glory of is being.

. Isaiah 5:16 | … God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.

Closing Thot

Who is like unto our God (?) for He alone is –– “Holy, Holy, Holy!”

. Revelation 4:2-8 | “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!

. Isaiah 6:1-5 | “The whole earth is full of His glory!”

[1] Mounce, 337.

[2] Vine, 307 (adapted).

[3] Sproul, 66 (adapted).

[4] Cockrell, 42-48 (adapted).

[5] Simmons, 66-67.

[6] Grudem, 201.

[7] Fortner, 63 (adapted).

[8] Pink, Attributes, 41.

[9] Cole, 144-145.

January 4, 2015

Attributes of God – The Immutability / Unchangableness of God

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The Immutability / Unchangeableness of God 

 

  • Malachi 3:6a | For I am the LORD, I do not change …
  • Romans 11:29 | For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocabl

Wayne Grudem

We can define the unchangeableness of God as follows: God is unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises … This attribute of God is also called God’s immutability.[1]

James P. Boyce

By the immutability of God is meant that he is incapable of change, either in duration of life, or in nature, character, will or happiness[2]  

 

Milburn Cockrell

What is meant by the immutability of God?  … “It is the perfection of God by which He is devoid of all change, not only in His Being. But also in His perfections, and in His purposes and promises,” says L. Berkhof. A. H. Strong remarks that “by this we mean that the nature, attributes, and will of God are exempt from change.” Alvah Hovey defines it by stating God “is forever the same in essence, in knowledge, in character, in purpose, and in blessings.” J. E. Cobb makes it to be the fact that God is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”[3]

 

Don Fortner

God is unchanging and unchangeable. When the scriptures declare that changes not, we are taught that though he changes all things, nothing moves or changes him. In his Being and in his purpose, God is unchangeable. That is our security.[4]

T.P. Simmons

“By immutability we define God as unchangeable in His nature and purposes” (E. Y. Mullins).[5]

BC&F 1689

The Lord our God is the one and only living true God; whose substance is in and of Himself … Who is immutable.[6]

Steve Lawson

Immutability of God means that God is unchangeable in his character and in all of his ways. That God is fixed in who he is. He is unalterable. That it is impossible for God to increase or decrease. If he increases it means that he is less than what he can become. If he decreases it means he is declining in the fullness of his attributes. God is God who was and who is and who is to come. We must firmly be rooted and grounded in this glorious truth.[7]

 

Four Aspects of God’s Immutability – God is who He is from age to age He is forever the same (Hebrews 13:8; Revelation 1:8).

 

1. He is unchanging in His character – I Am Who I AM (Exodus 3:14)

Attributes – aspects of God’s character which define the mode of His existence.

Essence – the very nature of God, a triune being in complete unity, i.e., three-in-one.

Perfections – I Am that I Am – everlasting to everlasting – never changing.

Being – God is Spirit = Omnipresence – Omnipotence – Omniscience.

Malachi 3:6 | For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

Psalm 102:25-27 | Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes all of them grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will have no end.  

Psalm 103:17 | But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.

James 1:17 | Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

2. He is unchangeable in His Word – Your Word is truth (John 17:17)

Psalm 119:89 | Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven.

 

Psalm 119:160 | The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of your righteous judgments endures forever.

 

Isaiah 40:8 | The grass writhers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.

 

Matthew 5:18 | For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. (Jot = Hebrew letter: Yod / Tittle = smallest stroke in a Heb. letter.) | Cf. Luke 16:17.

God’s Word is always the same for every age, every place, every people.

3. He is unchangeable in His plans – The Lord of earth has purposed, and who will annul it? (Isiah 14:27)

That which God foreordained in eternity past in His eternal decrees can never be altered within time. God has one plan – there is no other plan or any need of alternate plans/ways (Proverbs 16:9).

Psalm 33:10-11 | The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the people of no effect. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.

Proverbs 19:21 | There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the LORD’s counsel ––  that will stand.

 

Romans 11:33-34 | Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?

Ephesians 1:11 | In whom [Christ – v. 10] also we have obtained an in heritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.

4. He is unchangeable in His Salvation – By grace you are saved through faith … by God’s grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Romans 8:29-30 | For whom He foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these also glorified.

 

1 Peter 1:1-2 | Peter, an apostle of Jesus Chrsit, to the pilgrims of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Soirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ …

 

Ephesians 1:3-6 | Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

Closing Thot

A. W. Pink

Immutability is one of the Divine perfections which is not sufficiently pondered. It is one of the excellencies of the creator which distinguishes Him from all His creatures. God is perpetually the same; subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations. … God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change.[8]

[1] Grudem, 163.

[2] Boyce, 73.

[3] Cockrell, 101.

[4] Fortner, 62.

[5] Simmons, 65.

[6] Masters, 11.

[7] Lawson, The Immutability of God.

[8] Pink, Attributes, 37.

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