God’s Immutability and The Self-defeating Notion of Materialistic Naturalism
By Mike Robinson
He changes not in his attributes. Whatever the attributes of God were of old, that they are now; and of each of them we may sing “As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.” … He is unchanged in his wisdom, he knows as much now as ever, neither more nor less; he has the same consummate skill, and the same infinite forecastings. He is unchanged, blessed be his name, in his justice. … Take any one attribute of God, and I will write semper idem on it (always the same). Take any one thing you can say of God now, and it may be said not only in the dark past, but in the bright future it shall always remain the same: “I am Jehovah, I change not” (Charles Spurgeon).
All physical facts (facts of physics) fix all other facts (Rosenberg: Atheist’s Guide to Reality).
Strict materialism is a physical-only ontology of perpetual variation. It asserts the belief that only the physical/material universe exists; there are no gods, angels or spirits. This model cannot account for or justify immaterial thoughts. The belief that only the physical world exists cannot even account for itself, since the statement itself is nonphysical. Not only is the statement insufficient, it is self-annulling. If it is true, it is false. Either way, it’s not true. If only things that are inconstant, material, and divisible exist, then all our nonphysical assertions regarding that subject do not exist. This is clearly absurd.
Contrary to Sam Johnson the criterion of the real is not its kick-ability, but its susceptibility to becoming known through propositions (Ben Meyer: Critical Realism and the New Testament).
Reason is the power or capacity whereby we see or detect logical relationships among propositions (Alvin Plantinga: Warranted Christian Belief).
Some materialists deny the existence of evident and real immaterial assertions and propositions. On the other hand, it’s amusing to examine arguments made by strict materialists when they contend that propositions are real yet have only physical ontic attributes. Additionally, their linguistic gymnastics make for great sport when others maintain that propositions are not real. If a materialist posits a form of either contention, just ask questions like:
- Can one cut an assertion with a knife?
- Can one weigh or tangibly quantify a proposition?
- Is a proposition a solid and touchable thing?
- Where is the particular proposition wedged in the brain tissue or the neurochemistry?
It is difficult to defend an ontological commitment that proposes that propositions and assertions are composed exclusively of matter. In addition, it is more than problematic to defend the idea that propositions aren’t real while using a proposition.
- Tom: Real propositions do not exist.
- Joe: Is that a real proposition?
Propositions are real. The ontological makeup of propositions is immaterial.
God’s Unassailable Immutability
God is the most obligated being that there is. He is obligated by his own nature. He is infinite in his wisdom; therefore he can never do anything that is unwise. He is infinite in his justice; therefore he can never do anything that is unjust. He is infinite in his goodness; therefore he can never do anything that is not good. He is infinite in his truth; therefore it is impossible that he should lie (J. Gresham Machen).
The always solid Herman Bavinck adds: “We as human beings can make a distinction between the being and the attributes of people. A human being can lose his arm or his leg, or, in a state of sleep or illness, lose consciousness, without ceasing to be human. But in God this is impossible. His attributes coincide with His being. Every attribute is His being. He is wise and true, not merely, good and holy, just and merciful, but He is also wisdom, truth, goodness, holiness, justice and mercy” (Herman Bavinck: Our Reasonable Faith). God doesn’t change. What immutable ground does materialistic atheism have to rest all knowledge on? Nothing. It fails miserably.
God is unchanging in His:
- Being and essence
- Blessedness and glory
- Counsels and decrees
- Kingdom and rule
- Covenant and promise
- Love and grace toward His people (Edward Pearse, A Beam of Divine Glory: The Unchangeableness of God).
The True God Exists: A Secure and Potent Argument
Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought (C.S. Lewis).
Change is the condition of life. … But the unchangeableness of God is the negation of all imperfection, it is the negation of all dependence on circumstances, it is the negation of all possibility of decay or exhaustion, it is the negation of all caprice. It is the assurance that His is an underived, self-dependent being, and that with Him is the fountain of light; it is the assurance that, raised above the limits of time and the succession of events … It is the assurance that round all the majesty and the mercy which He has revealed for our adoration and our trust there is the consecration of permanence, that we might have a rock on which to build and never be confounded (Charles Spurgeon).
God is sufficient to account for everything. God, as the One who provides the a priori truth conditions for all things, has the ontic capacity to account for immutable universals (laws of logic, moral law, etc.). Mutable and non-universal entities are devoid of the sufficient attributes that are required, so they are ontologically undersupplied to account for the laws of logic. These laws are invariant universals and are required for communication and knowledge.
At least one of the implications of this for epistemology is this: just as in the theology there must be a principium essendi that grounds our principium congoscendi—that is, just as the existence and character of God ground our knowledge of him, since that knowledge presupposes his existence and character (as given to us in Scripture)—so also in epistemology generally. With respect to knowledge, in general, it must be that the existence and character of God ground our knowledge of him as given to all through all that is made (K. Scott Oliphint: God with Us).
God furnishes all the a priori essentials; the necessary epistemic equipment utilized in all thoughts and achievements. God has the ontic attributes of omniscience, immutability, and omnipotence (He has universal reach) enabling Him to be the ground for the immaterial universal and immutable laws of truth (also termed as the laws of logic and laws of reason) and ethical necessities (moral law) that are utilized in all thought and action. Any position that rejects the true God as the epistemic (knowledge) base not only leaves an unnerving fissure, but hopelessly fails. Consequently, whatever evidence one discovers must be discerned and processed with the rational implements that arise from Christian theism and the worldview that streams from the true God.
The true God is the primordial requirement for all knowledge, proof, evidence, and logic. He is the a priori verity condition for the intelligibility of reality. The immaterial, transcendent, and immutable God supplies the indispensable pre-environment for the use of immaterial, transcendent, universal, and immutable laws of logic (law of identity: A = A; law of non-contradiction: A~~A). Atheistic thought cannot furnish the necessary a priori truth conditions for the immutable universal laws of logic; therefore it results in irrational futility because of its internal weakness. Non-theistic worldviews fall into absurdity inasmuch as they are self-contradictory and lead to conclusions that controvert their own primary assumptions. Without God, ultimately, nothing can make sense.
There is assurance that God exists and that the mere material cosmos in motion cannot account for indispensable laws of logic.
- Christian Theism claims that the class and character of the Laws of Logic imply that none of that class and character can be accounted for without the grounding and sustaining of the class and character of God.
- So all the Laws of Logic with the class and character of immutability, transcendence, universality, aspatiality, atemporality, and immateriality, presuppose and require God who has the class and character of aseity, omniscience, omnipotence, immutability, universality, aspatiality, atemporality, and immateriality.
Under Naturalism There’s No Reason to Trust Human ReasonIf human reason is only the product of matter and its supporting capacity then materialism itself cannot be true. Without God as the highest mind, the source for human reason, one undercuts the reason one can trust human reason.