Does God alter His own will at times??

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Allan, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. Allan

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    I came across these scriptures, which I am familar with but never really noticed a certain significance to them till now.

    FIRST : I believe that God has established all that will be from the beginning.
    However, I will use the scriptures below to establish the question presented in the OP

    So...Here are two sets of scripture that gave me pause, and wanted to ask what you all think.
    Now here we see that David is declaring the ungodly men will not live out half of their [intended] life span because David then speaks to the converse of that statement that he will trust in God implying he will live out all of his days.

    Then this one:
    Here we have two distinct declarations by God.
    One declaration by God is that Hezekiah WILL die and not live and for him to get his affairs in order because he was sick unto death (about to die).
    Then...
    God sends the prophet Isaiah BACK to say a second THUS SAITH THE LORD (declaration from God) that Hezekiah will NOW live 15 more years because God heard his prayer and seen his tears.

    Notice God didn't tell Hezekiah to do anything or call unto Him that God would heal him. God said he was going to die and then God spins the prophet around and says "I have seen and heard you and will grant you 15 more years of life".

    Just curious as to your thoughts. Does God alter His own will at times and for His good pleasure since it appears the prayers and tears of Hezekiah moved the heart of God to change His original decree that he WILL die and to prepare for it.
    And the first shows God can and does cut the lives of even the wicked in half showing they will not live out their pre-designed life spans.

    I have some of my own thoughts on it but want to here from you all...

    What say ye??

    Edited In>>>I know there will be debate here over this - which is why I placed it in the debate section (but for me I want to see peoples thoughts concerning it)
     
    #1 Allan, Feb 8, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2007
  2. Scarlett O.

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    Just passing through kinda quickly this morning. Not much time to talk.

    I do not believe that God's will ever changes. God's will is who He is.

    With that being said and in reference to your two scriptures, God does approach the each person's case on an individual basis. I don't think that David's psalm is a universal indictment to all of the "bad guys" nor a universal cushion for long life for all of the good guys.

    God's heart can be moved and His responses to mankind may alter, but never His will. Remember, God regretted that He ever made humanity and wiped the earth clean of them all, except for Noah and His family. But the earth was repopulated, and God's will for humanity continued. Just not with the same people.

    God's will cannot change. God's unique and individual plans for people and groups of people may change according to said people's actions and groups of people's actions. We cannot interfere with God's plans, but we can be a righteous person whose prayers move God (availeth much) or we can be an evil person who provokes God's wrath.

    God is not wishy-washy. He does not depend on humanity for His thinking nor planning. But He responds to how we behave as a father would respond to His own children.

    His responses can alter. His will never changes.

    Gotta go!!
     
  3. Allan

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    I agree the Psalm to which I stated Davids comment was not a 'universal inditement', but I was simply establishing that God determind the extent of life that every person was to live and then we also see that God can cut it down (to whatever amount but here it speaks to half) from His originally planned or purposed concerning that persons life.

    As I said just looking to see peoples comments before I spout off at the mouth, to see it from multiple perspectives. I have my own but I would like to see interaction concerning the OP first.
     
  4. Andy T.

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  5. Allan

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    Yes, I have many commentaries at my disposal both Calvinist and non-Calvinist.
    But My question is directed to you and what you think.
    If John Piper was here I would welcome his thoughts and insights as well but since he is not, I welcome your comments.



    >>>EDITED IN<<<
    Piper makes a very inaccurate assumption regarding an 'implict exception' and worse yet that Hezekiah also had to'repent'.
    If we observe the prayer of Hezekiah, we note he does not repent but actaully makes his plead to Lord because he WAS upright before the Lord.
    He goes on and speaks of this being a historic point view concerning the text but I can find nothing to affirm this, especially in light of plain text dismissing his thoughts of God "implying (and never actaully stating) that Hezekiah must pray and repent to turn death away from him.

    Another problem he has compiled to himself is that the the death coming was due to some sin (thus the need to repent) and so what Isaiah was actaully giving was a warning and not a declaration. But this is not supported by the context of the text. Hezekiah did not repent and actaully pleaded his cause due to being aright before God.

    Although I must admit further down is speaking to the point of "God's changing His mind"; he gives a great renedering the Non-Calvinist can use concerning the Calvinistic understanding of Gods will. The explaination can be used in the same context regarding salvation and mans responsiblity of accepting or rejecting revealed truth.
    the last part was an aside and not really part of this conversation, so I appologize for that.
    In short I found he had some misguided notions that are most definately presuppositions brought into the text and has not scriptural basis to even be apart of his explanation.
     
    #5 Allan, Feb 8, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2007
  6. Andy T.

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    I don't have time to give a detailed answer, but I looked at this issue about a year ago and came to pretty much the same conclusion that Piper does. Is that o.k.? Can I agree with him? Or does individual soul liberty require that each and everyone of us have a different opinion on the matter? :wavey:
     
  7. Allan

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    Of course...but you could give at least a short answer concerning WHAT Piper holds to. I just don't want this to be commentary quotation posting marathon. :wavey:
     
  8. skypair

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    Allan,

    I think much of our confusion about whether God changes His mind comes from the fact that we, on earth, hear directly with the Son, not the Father.

    Consider: God, of course, knows all that will happen and is not surprised by anything that happens in the course of time.

    But the Son speaks to men in the course of time. The Son, Who created all things and by Whom all things consist, does NOT know all things and so when He consults with Moses saying he wants to destroy all Israel and start over with Moses, the Son sounds like He didn't know it would come to this nor what to do -- what the Father -- would do about this.

    Does that make sense, allan?

    skypair
     
  9. Andy T.

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    No, it doesn't make sense. So Jesus Christ is not very God of very God? Because it looks like you are denying the full divinity of Christ in your post.
     
  10. Allan

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    I didn't actually lay out my thoughts Sky. I just gave some verses and contentions. If you note I reserved my 'thoughts' for later as I wanted to see what others had to say concerning it.

    I agree that Christ didn't know ALL things as He himself stated the Father knew something that the Son did not - The time of HIS (Jesus) return or 2nd coming. Though I don't hold that Jesus couldn't know but that He set aside or didn't use certain divine aspects that He may be the perfect example of living a God centered life - INCLUDING being led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is why we have a high priest that knows our weaknesses and that He knows (personaly) the way out of temptations.-----Side Issue ------- Back to the OP

    I am refering to God and His plan for every mans life (from birth to death). He knows our rising up, He directs our steps, He knows every hair on our head (or lack thereof) He knows us before birth, and He knows the day of our death.

    So in that foreknowing how do these scriptures fit those contexts. Can or does God change His will, without obvisouly changing His will? Would this mean there is the potential for two types of wills (1. determinded from creation how all things will paly out throughout unto the end / 2. Permissive where God can do as He likes inside the construct of His own determinded will [also referred to as the secret will]).

    Just some more question to hopefully get the ball rolling.

    So far ScarletO and John Piper has wieghed in on the subject of the OP.

    Anyone else?
     
  11. Andy T.

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    Allan, note that in Skypair's post, he makes the claim that the Son never has the full atributes of God (referencing Christ's pre-incarnate state in the O.T.). Of course, every Christology must deal with the verses where it says Christ did not know the day or the hour, etc. And what you described is one view, and there are others too. But I fear that Skypair is taking it too far and denies the full divinity of Christ.
     
  12. whatever

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    Rather than changing His mind about how long certain people will live I think the Psalm is just affirming this principle from Proverbs 10:27.

    As for Hezekiah, God's eternal decree included His temporal decree that Hezekiah would die and that Hezekiah would pray and that He would extend Hezekiah's life.
     
  13. Allan

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    Ok...so then what is the difference between His eternal decree and temporal decree with regard to scripture.

    I guess what I'm asking is:
    Once God decrees something is it not set??
    The life of man and his death is something that was decreed from eternity (past) so how is it to be modified in His temporal will??

    That almost sounds like God established only certain or spesific things in His Eternal decree and is moving in time with His temporal decrees to bring forth the outcome He wanted in His Eternal Decreeing. (referencing back to my in #10 of permissive and Eternal Wills - or- something different)
     
    #13 Allan, Feb 8, 2007
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  14. whatever

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    Well, I would say that in His eternal decree God established everything that comes to pass, including certain of His own temporal decrees that He would later change. I do think it is parallel to that idea of two wills. God's will in Eph. 1:5, for example, is certainly a different thing than His will in Eph. 5:17, even though the word used in each verse is the same.
     
  15. PastorBrad

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    Heresy?

    WOW sky i am quite surprised at your post...are u saying the Son does not know all things? And if your answer is no then explain Christ claims to be God? Even more surprising is that if indeed you are a member of Bellevue Baptist in Cordova, TN you which has good solid doctrinal teaching under Dr. Rogers leadership for years...and I assure you he would not agree with you.
     
  16. Tom Butler

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    All those scripture passages which seem to speak of God changing his mind must be interpreted in the light of clear, unmistakable passages which speak of of the opposite. As in I Sam 15:29.

    I can't imagine God saying, "I don't lie, ever. I don't change, ever. Oh, except once in a while."
     
  17. Benjamin

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    The word “repent” in 1Sam 15:29 is being used in the sense that God’s council will not change meaning He neither will nor can lie. So this word here is not being used as it commonly is when it is applied to God in all those other scriptural passages. This passage is referring to that God’s council will never be a lie and that is the Strength of Israel; it is not implying that circumstances in the lives of men may never change.
     
  18. reformedbeliever

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    Hey brother. I suppose you could look at this as God's perfect will vs His acceptable will. Some look at 2 Peter 3:9 as stating that it is not God's perfect will that some would not perish, but His acceptable will. He does not want them to perish, but some will. If it was His perfect will, they would not perish. I think you know how I believe 2 Peter 3:9... that He is not willing that any of the elect perish.

    I would have to say that when God added 15 years to life... it is anthropomorphic language..... that God knew perfectly well how long a person would live, but can use language that describes the situation that suggests that He added years to life. I think that you know that God knows perfectly well all the years a man will live. Psalms 139:16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained {for me,} When as yet there was not one of them.
     
  19. dwmoeller1

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    God's declarations of His will are often contigent in nature. Jonah is an good example of this. God's declaration through Jonah was the Ninevah was going to be destroyed in 40 days. No contingencies stated, yet both Jonah (Jonah 4:1) and the people of Ninevah (Jonah 3:9) recognized its contigent nature.

    God also reveals the contigent nature of His declarations in Jer 18:8-10; 26:3. Does God know what will actually happen when He makes these contigent declarations? Of course. So why does He make them? Because they are the means He chooses by which to accomplish His purpose.

    So, does God change His mind? No, but He does often make His will known in contingent ways so that *we* will change our minds.
     
  20. skypair

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    Allan...

    ...

    I got another -- Isa 59:16-17 -- "and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. 16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor:..."

    First I notice -- do you suppose God was "displeased" with His plan? Why? How? He could do whatever He wanted to, right? What could go wrong?

    Second, I notice -- God was "surprised!" What -- He didn't know though He planned it Himself that there would be no intercessor??

    So when do you suppose that He "saw" all this -- when He predestined it or when He foreknew it? Did He really have to wait and see?

    skypair
     

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