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Sunday, August 1, 2010

An Unchanging Character

Sit through any English class and you're sure to hear the term "Character Development" every now and then.  When it comes time to write a book report on a piece of fiction (especially narrative fiction), you will without a doubt be expected to write about the book's character(s) and how they developed as the story was told.  In fact, the one bad thing I have heard so far about the must-see movie "Inception" was that there was very little "Character Development," though I do not necessarily agree with that statement. Regardless, it's clear that it is a pretty important concept.  When we read, we want to relate to the characters we are reading about, and the only way we can do that is if the character is dynamic in some way or another.  The character must experience growth and change during their journey in order for the journey to be believable.  That's right -- in order for us to relate to the character on the page in front of us, that character must change

Now, let's take a look at a verse from the most important piece of literature ever written, the Bible:

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

God does not change ... does that mean His Character is static and undeveloped?  Absolutely not! God may not change, but that does not mean He lacks character development.  In fact, He's the most developed character we will ever read about.  That's because He blessed us with a limited understanding of Him; and as we read about Him, this unchanging God changes us.  As we read His word, we are the ones who grow and change.  We grow in our understanding of our wonderful God, and as we apply this understanding to our lives, we begin to change and develop into the character that God wants us to be:  a process most commonly known as "sanctification." 

God does not change, nor does He need  to -- He is without a doubt the most fascinating, glorious, limitless character we will ever know.

--Nick Natoli, Building Bookcases writer