God’s Freedom and Immutability - Paul M. van Buren’s “Austin Dogmatics”

Continuing on with van Buren, I wanted to share a short paragraph that he provides on divine immutability. As he will suggest below, this term has been viewed as problematic in some theology that was recent for PMvB and it continues to be viewed with suspicion in different theological camps even today (sometimes for diametrically opposed reasons). But I like how PMvB combines the idea with his account of God’s freedom, even bringing hints of election in (esp. toward the end).

Paul M. van Buren, The Austin Dogmatics: 1957–1958, (Cascade, 2012), 118.
God is also free in that he is immutable. A serious question has been raised about this term, and we must note that, while this has been the entering wedge for a sub-Christian understanding of God, yet, it need not be. If we think of immutability or changelessness as a form of the freedom in which God loves, then we will see that this can be a fitting word to use with reference to God’s covenant loyalty. When we say that God does not change, we mean that he is always true to himself, that he is free to be himself. It means that he is changeless, always the same in his freedom to yoke himself to us, to make us his co-workers, and so to be available to our cry. This is God’s freedom to bind himself to us, so that it is perhaps more correct to say that God is immutable in his love and in his decision of love.

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