Response to Chewning’s “Hermeneutics and Biblical Ethics: God’s Immutability and Human Integrity”
AbstractChewning argues that God’s immutability is clearly taught in Scripture and that apparent contradictions to this doctrine can be reconciled by considering the whole counsel of God. He then applies this truth by arguing that humans, as image bearers of God, are required by God to be absolutely trustworthy, which means, among other things, that seeking bankruptcy protection necessarily is a violation of God’s law. In this brief response, I argue that while God is immutable, there remains a significant element of mystery in our ability to understand that attribute. In addition, persons who invoke bankruptcy protections are not necessarily sinning. I concur wholeheartedly with Chewning’s exegesis of Scripture and his conclusion that Scripture teaches that God is absolutely immutable. Chewning is on very firm theological ground in making his argument. I have two limited responses; the first is theological in nature and the second concerns application. However, it should be clear from the outset that my disagreement is with the periphery of Chewning’s analysis, not the core of his argument.