The Immutability and Eternity of God
Presence of God – O God, grant that my life on earth may be a continual preparation for the eternity which awaits me.
All created things are subject to change, to variation, to progress, to decline, and finally to death. An ignorant, helpless child who requires so much help, and who would perish if no one took care of him, gradually grows and develops, becomes first a sturdy youth, then a strong, mature man, capable of great undertakings. But then, beneath the weight of years, his vigor decreases, gives way to the weakness of old age, and is eventually extinguished by death. This is the path followed by every creature; every life has its dawn, its noontide, its sunset.
Only in God, the uncreated, eternal Being, is there “no change, nor shadow of alteration” (James 1:17). God does not change and cannot change, because He is infinite and eternal. Being infinite, He possesses being and every perfection without limit; in Him there is no limit, no beginning or end. Our souls, although created, will not die with our bodies; therefore, they are immortal, but not eternal, for they had a beginning; this, however, is not true in regard to God, who always was and always will be. Every perfection in man is subject to further development and progress; God, on the contrary, possesses every perfection in the highest degree, that is, in an absolutely infinite degree, to which nothing can be added.
Man, precisely because he is limited, is very much subject to change and variation: his ideas, his mind, his opinions, tastes, desires, and his will, all change. The very thing we had so ardently desired, soon wearies us, and no longer satisfies us; that very idea which seemed so beautiful and clear, corresponding so well to truth, soon appears to us so imperfect and inexact that we regret we cherished and defended it so much. The very good we wanted so eagerly and enthusiastically, sometimes leaves us cold and indifferent, perhaps even disgusted. In God there is nothing of all this: “For I am the Lord, and I change not” (Malachi 3:6). His mind does not change because His infinite wisdom is immutable, embracing at once all truth, and only truth. His will does not change because it is an infinite will for good, always and indefectibly willing good, the greatest, absolute, infinite good.
How much we need to unite our inconstant and changeable will to the immutable will of God! The more we try to will only what God wills, to love only what He loves, the more will our will be freed from its inconstancy and become fixed in good.
“O God, You are always the same and Your years have no end. Your years neither go nor come. Ours, on the contrary, flow on that they may reach the end. Your years stand firm because they are lasting. Your years are as one day, O Lord, and not a day to be renewed little by little, but an immutable day, a today without a yesterday or a tomorrow.
“My years pass in groanings, while You, O Lord, my comfort, my Father, are eternal. I am dispersed and scattered in the succession of time, and my thoughts are broken in a continual and tumultuous movement. It is the same with the interior of my soul, until, having been purified by the flame of Your love, I shall cast myself irrevocably in You.
“O my God, I give You thanks for having willed that the day of this life should be brief and uncertain. What length of time is long if it has an end? I cannot call back yesterday; today is closely followed by tomorrow. In this short space of time, grant that I may live a good life, in order to be able to go to that place beyond which there is no passing. Even as I am speaking, I am on my way to it. As my words run on, flying from my lips, so do my acts, my honors, my happiness, my unhappiness. Everything passes!
“But it is not thus with You who are immutably eternal. O God, he who understands exalts You, and he who does not understand, exalts You likewise. Oh! how high You are! yet, in the humble of heart is Your home. You raise up the fallen, and those whose crown you are, do not fall” (St. Augustine).
Note from Dan: This post on the immutability and eternity of God is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art for this post on the immutability and eternity of God: Augustine of Hippo [retouched], 1480, Sandro Botticelli, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.