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Isn't God the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever?

by John Walsh

If God is unchanging, the same from eternity to eternity, how could he once have been a man? This seems to contradict his claim that he is the same from yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The Bible teaches that "Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8) Yet the Bible also teaches that "...Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." (Luke 2:52) Does the Bible contradict itself? No, the apparent contradiction is simply an issue of proper interpretation.

When the prophets teach that God is eternally the same, they are trying to teach that we can trust the Lord because he never varies his course; he always operates by law; he is no respector of persons and always bestows the same blessings as a reward for the same obediance. The prophets are trying to distinguish the true and living God from the false gods of pagan religions.

Think of the Gods of greek mythology. The Olympions were portrayed as carnal beings who had the same attibutes as men. They lied, stole, and committed adultry as it pleased them. Compare this to the true God of Heaven who can always be trusted to be righteous and holy.

In addition, the prophets were trying to teach that God works the same among every generation of men. His methods do not change. For example, the Book of Mormon teaches:

And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues; Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them. For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? And now if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not God of miracles. But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are......And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles. And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. (Mormon 9:7-11, 18-19)

Therefore, Latter-day Saints give additional witness to the fact that God is the same from eternity to eternity, meaning that he can always be trusted and he always operates according to the same pattern.

To learn more about the true nature of God, see our Teachings About the Godhead home page.

(See Response to Criticism home page; Accusatory Questions homepage)

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