chapter  3
14 Pages

Timelessness and the Negative Predicates 'Immutable', 'Incorruptible' and 'Immortal'

ByNelson Pike

This chapter seeks to explore Augustine's idea that we say the same thing about God whether people say that He is eternal, immortal, incorruptible or immutable. To say that a given individual is immutable is to say that that individual cannot change. In the context of a technical theology, to say that a thing is incorruptible is to say that that thing cannot cease to exist. As in the case of the predicate 'immutable', the modal element involved in the predicate 'incorruptible' is subject to a number of interpretations. The statement 'God is immutable' is a necessary truth. But as has just been pointed out, the term 'immutable' is a modal predicate. It has a modal element within it – quite independently of any semantical connection it may have with the title-term 'God'. Thus, 'God is immutable' has a double modal structure.