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Does God Change His Mind?

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  • Does God Change His Mind?

    Greetings,

    The following question seems almost blasphemous to some people I'm sure but in light of the following scriptures, we should at least consider that it just might be possible. Does God ever change His mind or His plans? Let's look at what the Bible says and you be the judge.

    Our First Example
    God clearly tells us through the prophet Isaiah that God did not create the earth in vain but He created it to be inhabited (Is. 45:18). Yet, we see in Gen. 6 that He was so grieved with His creation that He was ready to destroy it all had it not been for Noah finding grace in His sight.

    Gen. 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

    6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

    6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

    Second Example
    God prophesied though Jacob's blessings of his sons that the Messiah would come through the lineage of the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:9-12). Yet, when the children of Israel sinned greatly and provoked the Most High by worshipping a golden calf, He was ready to totally destroy the tribe of Judah had Moses not pleaded with Him and appeased His wrath.

    Ex. 32:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:

    32:10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. (Moses was of the tribe of Levi)

    32:11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?

    32:12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.

    32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.

    32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

    Third Example

    Look what God says concerning the priesthood in the days of Eli when his sons had corrupted their office.

    1 Sam. 2:30 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

    Fourth Example

    Because Ahab had allowed Jezebel to seduce him to kill Naboth and take his vineyard, the LORD prophesied through Elijah that Ahab and his seed after him would be killed. But when Ahab heard these words, he humbled himself and because of that, look what God says concerning Ahab.

    1 Kings 21:27 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.

    21:28 And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,

    21:29 Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.

    Last Example

    God tells us through the prophet Jeremiah that any nation that He chooses to build up or to destroy, they can change their destiny by their choice to do evil or to do good.

    Jer. 18:7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

    18:8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

    18:9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;

    18:10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

    18:11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.

    These examples from the scriptures are clear in that they show that God can and will deal with us in accordance to our responses to Him.
    Peace

  • #2
    I think you left out the most telling example: Jonah. Based on Jonah 3 alone, I think the answer from Scripture is a definitive "Yes".

    Comment


    • #3
      It is clear in Scripture that God can change plans, but does not change his mind with regard to sin.

      Blessings.

      Comment


      • #4
        Based on these verses, it has to be a scriputral NO.

        Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?


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

        Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

        These verses are pretty clear.

        How do we reconcile these verses with the other verses you posted above? Is there a contradiction here? No, there is no contraction. All scripture is true and never contradicts itself.

        In order to reconcile verses like Exodus 32 and Jonah 3, we must realize that God is setting things up and playing a part for the purposes of his plan. For example in Exodus 32, God is effectively setting Moses up to do exactly as God intended. He did not ever intend to destroy Israel, he just wanted Moses to come to the aid of Israel. It was the Lord's purpose.

        Likewise in Jonah 3: God wanted the people to turn from their evil ways. He didn't ever really plan on destroying them, as he has perfect foreknowledge and knew they would infact turn from evil.

        Cheers,
        Legoman

        Comment


        • #5
          Good scriptures Legoman!

          I'd like to add this one to the idea that God does not change His mind.

          1 Samuel 15:29"Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind;
          for He is not a man that He should change His mind."

          gophgetter looking at the passages you posted from a human "finite"
          perspective I can understand what your expressing.

          From our "finite" perspective, why do we usually change our mind?
          a. It could be because we were wrong.
          b. It could be because we were unsure and didn't have all the info.
          c. It could be because were just a fickle sort.
          d…etc.

          Using your second example, the Exodus passage...

          So…why did God want to destroy Israel?

          Didn't they just see some pretty incredible things?
          I mean they saw the plagues in Egypt, the Red Sea parted,
          saw water come from a rock…etc. and yet here they are
          making an idol unto themselves.

          So we come to this…
          a. Was God wrong to be angry with Israel?
          b. Did Moses tell God something He didn't already know?
          c. Is God fickle?

          God is both perfect in mercy and justice right?
          It would have been perfect justice to destroy Israel and start over.

          but…

          It would have been perfect mercy to show His love and to spare them
          this wrath.

          Think about it like this...

          I, just like Israel sinned against God.
          I, like Israel was to receive the penalty of God's wrath.
          I, like Israel was interceded for.
          I, like Israel received mercy instead of destruction.

          God choose to spare me…to show me mercy.

          In each of the examples you gave we see the repentance of man and
          God's Grace as a common theme.

          So with the scriptures you gave and the scriptures Legoman gave, I
          come to the conclusion that there are no contradictions...just a beautiful
          foreshadowing of repentance and grace.

          Hope this helps,
          KingFisher
          Last edited by KingFisher; Sep 10th 2008, 04:02 PM. Reason: Punctuation
          When I say... "I am a Christian", I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin."
          I'm whispering "I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven".

          Comment


          • #6
            Without trust, we question and attempt to reason out God's Way.

            The inability to understand the Most High doesn't allow us to change His Way's to conform to our ways.

            That's why we have something called faith.
            Those who seek God with all their heart will find Him and be given sight. Those who seek their own agenda will remain blind.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think a more correct term may be..."Does God respond to us" it may appear that God is "changing his mind" but he is really just responding to our actions. I would say that YES God adjusts his plans based on what we do. Otherwise prayer is pointless.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by edaps7 View Post
                I think a more correct term may be..."Does God respond to us" it may appear that God is "changing his mind" but he is really just responding to our actions. I would say that YES God adjusts his plans based on what we do. Otherwise prayer is pointless.
                Wouldn't such a concept suggest that God doesn't know what we're going to do?
                "What you do does not define who you are; it's who you are that defines what you do."

                -- Dr. Neil T. Anderson

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by edaps7 View Post
                  I think a more correct term may be..."Does God respond to us" it may appear that God is "changing his mind" but he is really just responding to our actions. I would say that YES God adjusts his plans based on what we do. Otherwise prayer is pointless.
                  Hi edaps7,

                  It's nice to meet you.

                  I have a question...
                  With your statements of God adjusting His plans according to our prayers...

                  Well, in prayer aren't we to pray according to God's will?
                  You know "Thy will be done".

                  Thanks,
                  KingFisher
                  When I say... "I am a Christian", I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin."
                  I'm whispering "I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A God who repents...
                    "For the LORD will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning his servants." - Psalm 135:4
                    "If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them." - Jeremiah 18:8

                    "If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. - Jeremiah 18:10
                    "If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings." - Jeremiah 26:3
                    "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." - Revelation 20:6

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rufus_1611 View Post
                      "For the LORD will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning his servants." - Psalm 135:4
                      "If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them." - Jeremiah 18:8

                      "If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. - Jeremiah 18:10
                      "If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings." - Jeremiah 26:3
                      Hi Rufus,

                      Could you explain these scriptures to me then?

                      Numbers 23:19God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of
                      man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath
                      he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

                      1 Samuel 15:29And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for
                      he is not a man, that he should repent.


                      Just for the record I do not believe there is a contradiction
                      Post #5 explains my understanding.

                      I'm just curious to yours...

                      Thanks,
                      KingFisher
                      When I say... "I am a Christian", I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin."
                      I'm whispering "I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven".

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Rufus_1611 View Post
                        "For the LORD will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning his servants." - Psalm 135:4
                        "If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them." - Jeremiah 18:8

                        "If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. - Jeremiah 18:10
                        "If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings." - Jeremiah 26:3
                        All of these verse are just ascribing a human characteristic to God, for the purposes of explaining and understanding what's happening in human terms. They don't mean that God is changing his mind, or is sorry for what he might have done. God knows full well what he is doing and will do.

                        Kingfisher raised a good point in his post. Does God make mistakes? Is God not perfect? Did he make an error when he created us and then we started sinning? Is God sorry he made us cause we turned out so sinful? Is the creation not functioning as God intended it? Is the creation malfunctioning?

                        The answer to all these questions is No. Everything is happening as God planned.

                        Legoman

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by IPet2_9 View Post
                          I think you left out the most telling example: Jonah. Based on Jonah 3 alone, I think the answer from Scripture is a definitive "Yes".
                          I wouldn't say it is God changing His mind as much as the fact that He sometimes gave people conditions to meet and He had a plan on what to do depending on whether people met those conditions or not. Jonah 3 is an example of this. As is this passage:

                          Matthew 23
                          37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
                          38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

                          Notice here that Jesus would have gathered Jerusalem under Himself with Him as their King but they refused. He had a plan on what He would do if they accepted Him and He also had a plan on what He would do if they did not. Because they did not accept Him, He left their house unto them desolate.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by legoman View Post
                            All of these verse are just ascribing a human characteristic to God, for the purposes of explaining and understanding what's happening in human terms. They don't mean that God is changing his mind, or is sorry for what he might have done. God knows full well what he is doing and will do.

                            Kingfisher raised a good point in his post. Does God make mistakes? Is God not perfect? Did he make an error when he created us and then we started sinning? Is God sorry he made us cause we turned out so sinful? Is the creation not functioning as God intended it? Is the creation malfunctioning?

                            The answer to all these questions is No. Everything is happening as God planned.

                            Legoman
                            God planned for all but 8 people to be saved in Noah's day then? If so, why did He grieve over having made mankind? And why would He have made it so that only 8 people would be saved? If all went according to His plan then He would have had no reason to grieve. It isn't that He made a mistake. He was saddened by the poor decision to rebel against Him that most of mankind made at that time.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              God knows the end from the beginning. This is clearly taught in the bible. However, just because God knows what will happen does not mean that He doesn't have joy, grief, sorrow, anger, etc. when those events do occur. I believe that He is never taken by surprise by anything, nor does He have to change His mind due to new knowledge or understanding, since He knows and understands all things. I believe that when God repents of something -even though He already knew it would happen- He communicates His desires in expressions we can relate to on a finite, human level.

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