Can God turn bad?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture 

Question: Is it possible for God to turn bad? Is it possible for Jesus to turn bad? Since 1/3 of the Angels turned evil, is it possible for the same to happen to God himself? This thought has been scaring me. 

Answer: Thank you for submitting such a deep question… although the general answer is easy enough to state: neither God nor Jesus could ever turn bad because doing bad things would be against their natures.

This statement may sound funny to you — especially if you are not used to working in logic. But your question has three underlying problems — two of which require careful consideration of that statement. Let’s unscramble them one by one; then we shall see why you have nothing to fear.

The first issue is that God cannot “turn” at all — either to the good or to the bad! He has an attribute called immutability, which is a fancy way of saying that God does not change (or turn). And why not? God does not change because he cannot change.

I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed." (Malachi 3:6, NIV, emphasis mine)

Since God is (by definition) infinitely perfect to the core of his being, he is infinitely perfect in all his actions. This being the case, what would motivate such a being to change? Think about it for a moment; a perfect being has a single changing option: he could only change into an imperfect being. There is no place for God to go but down! And why would he ever do that? Such a notion is illogical; it makes no sense even as a “what if” kind of idea.

As you noted, a number of the angels did indeed “turn bad,” but they are a different category of being than is God. The angels were created beings whose natures allowed them to choose between good and bad. They turned bad by rebelling (which is the overarching sin that drives many specific sins), and rebellion is a potential of their natures — but not of God’s. If God were to “turn bad,” whom would he rebel against… himself? This sounds silly because it is silly. Since there is (by definition) no being who is higher than God is, such a concept makes no sense.

You may be uncomfortable with the concept that God “cannot” do something (like change). People usually reason that if God is a supreme being, then he can do anything — and that is true. But even God must align himself with logic. After all, he is the ultimate logical expression! As such, he cannot perform any actions that are illogical. This is why we must assert that God cannot do anything that is contrary to his nature. So how do we imperfect people determine what a perfect God can and cannot do? He tells us.

God has revealed certain aspects of himself through his special revelation (the Bible) and through his general revelation (his created world). We call these aspects of his person his attributes. In our well-ordered world (where every entity must work according to its own nature) we see the reflection of our Creator—the Supreme Being who must also work according to his own nature. This is not a limit on God; this is the way any God worthy of the name would have to work (…unless he began working in an illogical [or absurd] universe…which would have been created by an illogical [or absurd] God… which [by definition] cannot exist).

The second issue is that you cannot treat God the Father and Jesus (and/or the Holy Spirit) as having separate core attributes. This means that whatever can or cannot happen to God the Father can or cannot happen to Jesus. Your question separates them wrongly in that aspect — as if were possible for them to have natures that were contradictory to one another. We see above where God cannot “turn bad.” We see here that God the Father could not “stand firm” while Jesus “turns bad”…because Jesus is immutable, too — sharing unchangeability with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the essential unity of the Trinity.

I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30, NIV)

Although God deemed that we should be able to identify the three persons in the Trinity (by name and by “job”), we must understand that the Godhead is a non-divisible unity. At its core what goes for one goes for all.

A very old document called The Athanasian Creed does a thorough job of describing the relationships between the members of the Trinity. The language might be a little difficult to read because it is technical and old, but it can clear-up many issues concerning the Godhead for you. (You may read this document by clicking on its name.)

Although the word Trinity does not appear in the Bible, the concept of the Trinity does. Since every member of the Trinity shares an essential immutability, they cannot change — either to the good (they are already infinitely good) or to the bad (because of their natures) — nor either together or separately.

Your third problem (and this is by far the most common problem with these types of questions) has to do with the formation of your question. You are postulating (that is, you are injecting into your question) some assertions about God that are just not true (i.e. the two issues discussed above). In doing so, you are building a straw-God to knock down. What do I mean by this?

In your mind, you have constructed a God that cannot be… but you consider this straw-God as having the potential to be the true God — and it scares you — and it should! That kind of God would be terrible! But the true God is already perfect and has a fixed nature. Unlike the straw-God that you have built, the true God just cannot turn bad…nor can he be knocked down.

So, since your question was based on two untrue assertions, do not let its proposed-but-impossible outcome cost you any sleep.

(See the Straw Man argument at

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