is it Possible For God to "repent/Change His Mind?"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JesusFan, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. JesusFan

    JesusFan
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    Could God somehow had "limited" Himself to knowing All possible outcomes at all times, but allow for man to choose the decision and than God responds according to the best Plan he had for each decision made?

    Not talking about when He direct intervenes, like when he had preordained the coming of Jesus, death and resurrection, but referring to those times he would 'allow" things to occur?
     
  2. webdog

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    He says He has...I believe Him. How that all works with time, omniscience and man is anyone's guess.
     
  3. InTheLight

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    What is your question?

    Is your question: Is it possible for God to repent/change His mind?

    Or is it: Could God somehow had "limited" Himself to knowing All possible outcomes at all times, but allow for man to choose the decision and than God responds according to the best Plan he had for each decision made?
     
  4. JesusFan

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    Would both be possible for God to be able to do?
     
  5. Brother Jeremy Slone

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    I believe God can do things for our learning, To do something for us to understand and not so much to reveal ignorance or any human quality that would be attributed to his person but in a manner that we might undersand.

    John 11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. :42 And I knew that thou hearest me always; but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

    In Jeremiah 19:5 Is not to show this thing was never known of God but that it was never according to him that they should do such a thing. They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind:

    Genesis 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.
    Was this recorded to show us God was hoping man would be better, Or that he felt he made a great mistake in his own counsel in making man or to let us understand where mankind stood before a Holy God. To show how contrary Man is toward God.
    We understand that Christ is the Word of God that was made flesh. And all things were made by him and for him. Even in the beginning of the Creation everything was created by the Word of God. For and by Jesus. He would come to be the redeemer of man and it is his righteousness that was found in Noah.
    1 Samuel 15:29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
     
  6. Skandelon

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    So, there shouldn't be anything wrong with believing that which is able to be understood, right?
     
  7. Tom Butler

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    Of course, God knows all the possible outcomes of a scenario, but why should he need to know? He knows the one outcome that is going to happen--not only because of his foreknowledge, but also his determinate counsel (Acts 2:23).

    I just don't see God sitting there (or here, or wherever) watching me, saying, "Let's see, he could decide one of 10 different choices. I've got to be ready to respond, whichever one he picks. I wonder which one he'll choose."

    That, of course, is Open Theism, which destroys not only God's omniscience, but his immutability.

    Genesis speaks of God's repenting.
    I Sam 15:29 quotes God as saying he doesn't repent or change his mind.

    When we repent, we change our wills.
    When God repents, he wills a change.
    Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurs to God?
     
  8. JesusFan

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    Agreed, Since God knows ALL things in an absolute fashion, everything to God would be in the "present tense" to him, no past/future , as He sees everything at same time
     
  9. Van

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    Anyone who asserts the nature of eternity, using a finite mind, lacks credibility! God could operate within time sequentially, because all things are possible with God. And God could operate in the realm of spiritual time, rather than physical time, and that again is something we know nothing about. All these arguments based on how the spiritual realm works are works of fiction, and not based on the bible.

    The Bible says God repents, changes His mind, responds to the actions and thoughts of men. He says, if you do this, I will do that, but if you do something else, I too will do something else. He can choose to have mercy on whom He has mercy, and give perfect justice to the rest. If He credits our faith as righteousness, He gives us mercy. Otherwise we get perfect justice. We start out as children of wrath by nature, but when He credits our faith as righteousness, He transfers us out of the realm of darkness into the kingdom of God, Colossians 1:13.
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    The same Bible which speaks of God's repenting also says he does not repent.

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

    James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

    Malachi 3:6 I the LORD do not change.

    Since the Scriptures don't contradict themselves, we must explain how those scriptures can be resolved.

    I have suggested in an earlier post that God's repenting must be interpreted in light of clear scriptures which say he does not.

    When God repents, he wills a change.
    When we repent, we change our will.
     
    #10 Tom Butler, Apr 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2011
  11. webdog

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    Yes but that says God does not repent and change His mind as man does. Thats a HUGE qualifier.
     
  12. Brother Jeremy Slone

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    That is a broad statement for me to affirm. What is it that you understand? What a man understands can differ from what another man understands. But I believe understanding comes more and more in our growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some of the things I once thought I understood is not now how I understand it.

    Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, here a little, and there a little:

    As we study scriptures God gives us some light of understanding and as we study more and more we grow. Then things we thought we once knew are even opened to us more.

    1 Corinthians 8:2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    It's a qualifier by necessity. If we define God's repenting and humans' repenting the same way, then God is not immutable. Or he misled us regarding his immutability (which of course, he didn't). So we have to come up with a way to explain those verses in which God repents, and those verses where he says he doesn't.
     
  14. Winman

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    First of all, you have to take 1 Samuel 15:29 in context. What is happening here? Samuel has just told king Saul that God had rejected him from being king. Saul is begging Samuel to make intercession for him that God might change his mind. It is in this context that Samuel tells him he will not repent. God has made up his mind concerning Saul and will not change his mind.

    1 Sam 15:24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
    25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD.
    26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
    27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent.
    28 And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
    29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.


    So, you have to take this verse in context. Saul is begging Samuel to forgive his sin, Samuel has told Saul that God has rejected him from being king and will not change his mind on this matter.

    You cannot take this verse to mean that God never repents, because God clearly said he did repent of making man in Genesis.

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

    This is what happens when you take a verse out of context and then form doctrine from it. You have to view scripture as a whole.
     
  15. Skandelon

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    I guess what I'm asking is this: Is it ok to understand and relate to God in the terms He chose to reveal himself? He reveals himself as a God who relents in response to the prayer of a righteous man, a God who is moved by a persistence, pleased by faithfulness, and found by those who earnestly seek Him. Should we explain such revelations of God away with more complex systematized verbiage (i.e. God knows what you will pray before you pray it and He is the one who will move you to pray for what He is already planning to do...etc)

    Why not just understand and believe the revelation of God we have instead of attempting to add to it with speculative theological jargon?
     
  16. Van

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    Reply to Tom Butler

    Yes, we must understand both points of scripture. A man repents from what He has been doing according to his own understanding and turns to what God wants him to do. But God repents from one godly action (justice or mercy) to another godly action (justice or mercy.)

    Yes the LORD does not change in His attributes, but His attributes include providing justice and mercy on whom He pleases.

    And yes, God is the prototype of the "what you see is what you get" character trait of complete integrity. He can be completely relied upon, He will not promise and then not keep His promise, there is no shucking and jiving. None of this "I was just kidding" I did not mean what I said" dance of men from the truth.
     
  17. webdog

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    I understand what you are saying, but this perspective of thought is also finite. This kind of logic is similar to Christ being God and also human and stating based on our understanding He must be one or the other. God can be immutable...yet relent, repent, respond and change His mind...Scripture says so.
     
  18. Osage Bluestem

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    Anthropomorphism

    God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and immutable.

    There are definitive passages in scripture that can't be understood any other way that make those attributes abundantly clear. So, the church has always understood passages that make it appear that the bible contradicts those definitive passages that couldn't be understood any other way without contradiction to be anthropomorphic.

    The examples of God repenting, are anthropomorphic. They are descriptive of an action where we have a definitive passage that says that God is not like us that he repents. So we know definitively he doesn;t repent, thus the repented action statements are anthropomorphic and simply communicate righteousness in a way that man can understand. It does not communicate reality as known to God it communicates reality as revealed to man.
     
  19. webdog

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    Why is it your understanding is not the anthropomorphic one? We can easily write off many biblical truths (like mercy, forgiveness, love, etc) by just dismissing them as anthropomorphic.
     
    #19 webdog, Apr 21, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2011
  20. Osage Bluestem

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    Here is an example of definitive statement vs non definitive.

    Definitive: I do not repent.

    Non Definitive: I repented.

    Many atheists use this to show that the bible contradicts itself and therefore cannot be true. But that is not the case.

    I do not repent means that never will God repent of anything because that is a defining statement about who God is.

    I repented is a statement specifying what God has done. If it really meant that he really repented then you have an absolute clear contradiction in the bible and the bible could be thrown out as obviously flawed. We know that isn't the case though and we understand the passage that is a seeming contradiction to be an anthropomorphism, thus the contradiction is non existant and the bible is vindicated.
     

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