Monday, October 18, 2004

Immutability and Joy

In going through some of my books I came across a number of works by Kierkegaard I haven't read in a long time; so I've been doing some reading of Kierkegaard. The following is from an Edifying Discourse on the unchangeableness of God; he is discussing James 1:17-21.

Different viewpoints! The merely human tendency (as paganism indeed gives evidence) is to speak less about God, and to speak almost exlusively and with sadness about the mutability of human affairs. The Apostle, one th other hand, desires only and alone to speak of God's unchangeableness. Thus so far as the Apostle is concerned. For him the thought of God's unchangeableness is one of pure and unmixed comfort, peace, joy, happiness. And this is indeed eternally true. But let us not forget that the Apostle's joy has its explanation in the fact that the Apostle is the Apostle, that he has already long since wholly yielded himself in unconditional obedience to God's unchangeableness. He does not stand at the beginning, but rather that the end of the way, the narrow but good way which he had chosen in renunciation of everything, pursuing it invariably and without a backward look, hasting towards eternity with stronger and ever stronger strides. But we on the contrary, who are still beginners, and subject to discipline, for us the unchangeableness of God must have also another aspect; and if we forget this, we readily run in danger of taking the lofty serenity of the Apostle in vain.

Kierkegaard, Edifying Discourses: A Selection. Swenson and Swenson, trs. Harper Torchbooks (New York: 1958) p. 255.

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