Tag Archives: Bible

Does God Ever Change?

Some time ago I was asked, in a roundabout way, if God ever changes. I’ve been contemplating that question, off and on, for a few months now because I certainly don’t want to pass along any misinformation or offer my opinion as factual. I take the task of interpreting the Bible very seriously. The easy and predictable answer to the question at hand, of course, is no. We need look no further than to Hebrews 13:8 for the answer: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” However, I’m not one to simply skim the surface of a particular subject, but instead I typically dive down deeper to see if anything else may be there.

The question is “Does God ever change?” – not to be confused with “Does God ever change His mind?” – which I think is a much harder question to answer. I think the answer to the latter though would also be no. I believe God can do anything and everything regardless of the old trick question commonly proposed by atheists: “Can God make a mountain so big he can’t move it?” Think about it. I believe in the power of prayer, but I also believe God is all-knowing; therefore, when a person is miraculously healed then how can it be that God actually changed His mind when He already knew what the outcome of the situation was going to be?

I’ve consistently been in the Word, for several years now, but I do not pretend to know everything about God or His perfect plan. In fact, nobody does: not me, not TV evangelists, and not even the Pope. Those who think they’ve got the mystery of God all figured out are erroneously attempting to put our Creator and Savior in a box. God cannot be reduced to just a neatly wrapped package.

It is my understanding that God does not change. Many churches though have transformed over the years. My church upbringing included Sunday School, youth programs, and hanging out with one cool youth pastor. As an adolescent, church services normally meant spending most of my time fidgeting in the pew and the rest of it belting out beloved hymns from an actual hymnal. Oh how I miss those old-time hymns and the majestic sounds of the church organ resonating from the stage.

Nowadays, in a dramatically changing world, it appears the majority of churches have gone contemporary to attract a different breed of truth seekers, and that’s okay. People of today tend to need colorful lights, special effects, loud music, and an informal dress code in order to explore Christianity. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a church adjusting its ways for the sake of attracting the lost. What’s not okay is when a church changes its Biblical principles and policies to comply with what the world deems acceptable.

Although God does not change, America’s acceptance of sin has significantly shifted over time. I was taught both at church and at home, during my formative years, living together before marriage was a sin. And homosexuality was practically unheard of, at least to this guy, when I was an adolescent. I was introduced to the subject of homosexuality while watching the late 70s to early 80s sitcom, Three’s Company, although John Ritter’s extremely entertaining portrayal of Jack Tripper wasn’t all that authentic since the Jack character was only pretending to be gay so he could live in the same apartment with two women, Janet Wood and Chrissy Snow (ahhh…Chrissy Snow). The threesome’s living arrangement was strictly platonic, but their landlord would not believe such a scenario, and he was not about to allow unmarried people of the opposite sex live together under one roof because he knew it was morally wrong; hence, the reason for the trio’s charade.

Today, shacking up without a marriage license is no longer frowned upon in most circles. Unsurprisingly, due to the times we’re living in, numerous talk show hosts and countless so-called experts even encourage this sort of behavior. These Hollywood types suggest prematurely living together, a trial run if you will, as a way to see if marriage may be right for them…some time in the future. And homosexuality is now frequently celebrated in this country, and transgender people are regularly regarded as heroes and role models. Apparently, a majority of the United States no longer has a problem with abnormal sexuality, but I’m confident my God does not approve of any sin regardless of whether or not society decides to give its hearty endorsement. “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God” (1st Corinthians 3:19).

I wonder why it is that our minds usually go straight to sexual immorality when pondering sin? I suppose it’s because “Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1st Corinthians 6:18). Sin is really just being apart from God. We are all guilty of this at times, but it becomes a serious problem when one chooses to remain apart from Him for a prolonged period of time. God certainly continues to love the sexually immoral just as He continues loving those who are envious, liars, murderers, and thieves. However, He surely is sorely disappointed since that’s not His best for any of His children.

Many things change – in one’s life – in one’s country – throughout the world – throughout history – but I believe God does not. I’m pretty sure our Maker is exactly the same in the year 2017 as He was when Adam and Eve strolled through the Garden of Eden. God will always be who He is. God will always do what He does. If He ever did change, His truths and therefore His promises would be worthless. Thankfully, the Bible contains several passages of Scripture that assures us He does not change.

The Death Penalty

Last month I felt as though I was being bombarded by the television stations in regards to the death penalty. Two high-profile murder cases, involving convicted killers awaiting sentencing, brought the controversial and highly debated topic back into the spotlight. I really shouldn’t complain since it was a refreshing distraction from the seemingly never-ending political ads dominating the airwaves as they normally do every time there’s an upcoming election. In both murder cases the death penalty is a viable option. I won’t mention the names of those convicted because at this point I’m quite certain they crave the attention, and I do not want to give them their desired satisfaction. I think repeatedly mentioning the culprits’ names in the media only glamorizes the despicable crimes they’ve committed against their fellow man.

I realize discussing the death penalty can become very heated since passion tends to run rampant amongst supporters and non-supporters alike. The only thing both sides apparently agree on is that the violator does deserve to be punished. I have heard it costs more to execute someone than to imprison them for life, but I don’t know if that’s true. To be honest, the financial aspect never enters my mind when pondering the extreme penance. I have been a strong proponent of the death penalty for as long as I can remember. I assumed the Bible backed up my stance since it mentions “an eye for an eye” three different times in the Old Testament. However, recently I learned when Jesus roamed the earth he taught a new standard for all of His people to follow. Please bear with me, for those of you who disagree with my position, because there may be some sort of twist later on. Maybe. The point is to always keep an open mind.

The truth as I know it is our country’s justice system is far from perfect, but it’s the only system we’ve got. Undeniably, on occasion there have been (and will continue to be) innocent people sent to prison and guilty people set free. I do think for the death penalty to even be considered there at least needs to be a confession made or some DNA proof. After absolute guilt has been established in a court of law, of someone committing a heinous crime, I admit to possessing an unusual thought process concerning how the sentencing phase of the trial should be carried out. I propose the punishment, of either death or life in prison, should be decided by a lie detector test. I would ask the convicted murderer this one simple question, “Do you prefer the death penalty or life in prison?” I would then administer the other option than that of the miscreant’s preferred choice.

If you thought the previous suggestion was a bit harsh then you may want to stop reading this before I make my next proposal. Not only am I a proponent of the death penalty, as the penance for atrocious murders, but I am also in favor of torturing the offender beforehand in some cases. Death just seems too good for the terrorists responsible for those recent beheadings overseas. That being said, it is now time for that twist I alluded to earlier. A while back, simply out of curiosity, I asked my pastor what his thoughts were on the subject of the death penalty. He solemnly responded with, “I think all life is precious.” I immediately thought to myself, “but what about ‘an eye for an eye’?” Anyone who genuinely knows me is well aware I am not easily influenced by others once I have formed my opinion on any given matter.

However, I haven’t been able to erase those words, “all life is precious,” from my memory, and maybe I shouldn’t. By the way, did you happen to notice my pastor said, “I think,” when responding to my inquiry? What I appreciate about Pastor Brad, among so many other things, is that he doesn’t “preach.” He teaches instead. He leads his flock in the same direction where he senses God is leading him. Pastor Brad never strays from the truths of the Bible, yet he allows (no, let me rephrase that) he desires for us to search for the “answers” ourselves, to any questions we may have, through studying the Scriptures, prayer, and sharing our thoughts with other believers. All of the truths found in the Bible are solid and unchanging, but some of the other stuff is left to one’s own interpretation. That’s probably why some Christians are in favor of the death penalty while others are against it, and I think that’s okay. Just don’t ask me today what my position is because it may be different tomorrow.