A Series of Answers to Common Questions
The Bible says God cannot change (Cf. Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Psalm 102:26-27; Malachi 3:6; Romans 11:29; Hebrews 6:17-18; James 1:17), and that he is all-knowing (Cf. Job 37:16; Psalm 147:4-5; 1 John 3:20). But the New Testament teaches that Jesus did change and that he didn't even know the day or hour of his return (Cf. Mark 13:32; Luke 2:40,52). How can Jesus be God if he doesn't even have these essential attributes of God?
Before we start addressing the question, we must first clarify what the Holy Bible means that God cannot change. According to the Holy Scriptures, God is a Dynamic Being, not a static entity, who interacts with his creation and often manifests his presence in a visible manner within time and space. This implies that when the Bible speaks of God's unchangeability, or immutability, this is referring to God's essence, his attributes, his purpose, his decrees, but it doesn't mean that God is immobile or immovable, that God is static and doesn't act or interact with his creatures.
With the foregoing in mind, we can now proceed to the question. The Holy Scriptures teach that the Lord Jesus is God's eternal Word who became flesh, who became a real human being. The same Scriptures also teach that Christ is fully God in nature, having all the essential attributes of Deity (Cf. John 1:1-3, 14; Colossians 2:9). Now Jesus didn't relinquish his Deity in order to become man, but retained his divine nature since he can never cease being God. This is where his immutability comes in. At Christ's Incarnation, there wasn't a subtraction of his Deity, but an addition of humanity; he added, not subtracted, something to his own divine Person.
Thus, when we take into account all of what the Scriptures teach about the Lord Jesus, we come to the conclusion that Christ is immutable as far as his divine nature is concerned, that Christ never ceased having all of the divine attributes even while on earth in the form of a man. But, at the same time, the Lord Jesus was also mutable in relation to his human nature. After his resurrection, Christ's human nature is no longer experiencing growth or change since it is now glorified and has attained complete human perfection. In other words, after the resurrection Christs physical body became immortal.
This is the reason why the same Scriptures can speak of Christ being omniscient, or all-knowing, while not knowing the day or hour of his return. Basically, this is another example of a both/and scenario, that Christ was both immutable and mutable, two seemingly contradictory set of attributes coexisting side by side in the one divine Person of Jesus, since he had two distinct natures simultaneously.
We don't pretend to claim that we have this figured out, or know exactly how this works in every detail. We just know that this is what the Holy Bible, God's true Word, teaches.
Here, now, is the biblical evidence supporting the fact that Christ, as far as his Deity was concerned, is immutable and omniscient even while on earth, before and after his resurrection:
"But of the Son he says ... You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end." Hebrews 1:8a, 10-12
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8
The author refers to Jesus pre-incarnate state, to his pre-human existence, when Christ created the cosmos and explicitly says that, from the very time that creation came into being, Christ remains the same. Therefore, Christ is immutable! And, as we already noted, there is obviously something different after the Incarnation, since Christ took on a human nature. Yet Jesus divine nature never changed since he never ceased being God even while on earth.
"But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, 'Why do you think evil in your hearts?'" Matthew 9:4
Christ knew what these individuals were thinking within their hearts, a knowledge which the Old Testament says only God has:
"then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you ONLY, know the hearts of all the children of mankind)," 1 Kings 8:39
"For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done." Matthew 16:27
Christ performs a function which the Old Testament scriptures say Yahweh will perform when he comes to judge the people:
"Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him." Isaiah 40:10
"and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work." Psalm 62:12
Christ is, therefore, affirming to have the same omni-attributes that God alone has, since this is the only way he could be able to know and repay a person for what he/she has done. In other words, Christ is identifying himself as Yahweh God!
"Philip found Nathanael and said to him, 'We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.' Nathanael said to him, 'Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, 'Come and see." Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, 'Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!' Nathanael said to him, 'How do you know me?' Jesus answered him, 'Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I SAW YOU.' Nathanael answered him, 'Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!'" John 1:45-49
Without having been physically present in the same vicinity where Nathanael lay, Jesus already had seen him.
"Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask ME anything in my name, I will do it." John 14:13-14
Jesus is able to both hear and answer all the prayers offered to him, requiring him to be both omniscient and omnipotent.
"Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.' Jesus answered them, 'Do you now believe?'" John 16:30-31
"He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, 'Do you love me?' and he said to him, 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep.'" John 21:17
In these citations, both before and after the resurrection, the Apostles acknowledge that Christ is omniscient.
"Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God." 1 Corinthians 4:5
According to Paul, the Lord who is coming to judge the intents and motives is the Lord Jesus:
"so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 1:7-8
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." 2 Corinthians 5:10
Again, Jesus knows what only God can know:
"And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever." 1 Chronicles 28:9
Christ, while in heavenly glory, gave his beloved John the following revelation to pass on to the Churches:
"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: 'The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze... and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.'" Revelation 2:18, 23
Jesus applies the following Old Testament language to himself, thereby identifying himself as Yahweh God:
"I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds." Jeremiah 17:10
Again, that Christ can know what is in the hearts and minds of all the people in order to repay them accordingly presupposes both his omniscience and omnipotence, as well as highlighting that he has inexhaustible means or resources at his disposal!
The foregoing conclusively shows that the Lord Jesus is indeed immutable and omniscient in relation to his Deity, while being mutable and not all-knowing as far as his human nature is concerned. But even his human nature has undergone a transformation after the resurrection, achieving its full human potential, i.e. immortality, indestructibility etc. (Cf. Luke 13:32; 1 Corinthians 15:35-49; Hebrews 7:16, 25).
Now that we have provided the biblical evidence which establishes Christ's immutability, we want to take a closer look at Mark 13:32 in order to show how this passage establishes Christ's supremacy over all creation. The text says:
"But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Mark 13:32
There is clearly an order of ascendancy here, i.e. man, angels, the Son, and then the Father. Christ is implicitly presenting himself as being superior to both men and angels, being subject only to the Father's authority. This is how it would look if we were to put it in terms of rank:
This understanding bears out when we realize that man, according to the Holy Bible, is positionally lower than the angels for the time being, not having the glory which the angels currently have due to the fall of man. It is only in Christ that persons can reclaim and regain the glory which they had in Adam before the fall, and because of our union with Jesus we are thereby exalted higher than the angels in position (Cf. Hebrews 2:1-9).
In fact, in the very same chapter of Mark, Jesus says that both the angels and God's elect belong to him, coming under his sovereign headship and authority:
"And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather HIS elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven." Mark 13:26-27
Thus, Jesus plainly taught that he is superior to all creation, which would include all the prophets, and is subject only to his divine Father.
A Series of Answers to Common Questions
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