Previously we considered the shortcomings of the Greek concept of perfection. This concept does not line up with the Biblical revelation God has given of Himself. The Greek concept represents perfection as changelessness and, therefore, God as a Perfect Being who cannot experience any type, level or measure of change. Many scholars have adopted this concept and use specific verses of Scripture as support. One such passage is, “…I am the LORD, I change not…” (Mal.3:6). Such a statement seems to provide obvious support for this view but it does not require an in-depth explanation to show that it does not. One needs only to understand that the context involves God’s faithfulness. God declares His commitment to continue His relationship with Israel in the midst of their waywardness, bringing judgment to purify the but avoiding their utter destruction. This statement cannot support the view that God never experiences the type of change associated with the Greek view of perfection and the theological concept of immutability (considered more fully in an upcoming article).
Interestingly, faithfulness can often involve God experiencing change. For example, at a point when God was preparing to bring judgment on the people of Israel, continuing the “project” by eliminating everyone and rebuilding the nation from Moses, Moses interceded, asking that God would avoid completely destroy the people. In response to the in-depth and intense intercession of Moses we read, “So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.” (Ex.32:14)
It’s important to clarify that I am not suggesting that God is not perfect. I am suggesting that the concept of perfection developed by Greek philosophy is inconsistent with the perfection revealed in Scripture and incapable of handling the complexities of this issue effectively. The type of perfection associated with God has application to God’s design for human beings also. In Matthew 5:48 we read, “…you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The simple explanation we can offer for this statement is that God consistently lives up to the His moral knowledge and ability and expects us to do likewise. We are to practice the same kind of perfection (and love, holiness, righteousness, etc.) that God practices, knowing that His degree is always supreme. Such perfection, however, does not eliminate dynamic relationship.