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Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by dianetavegia, Apr 28, 2005.
I would say that from these passages and our perspective as creatures bound by time, it appears that God does change His mind.
However, a time sensitive phrase like "change His mind" cannot possibly accurately represent what happens from the perspective of an entity not bound by time like God.
I think an analogy might be a two dimensional stick person asking if beings in three dimensions move along a piece of paper the same way they do.
Maybe one of our nice scholars can find the word 'relented' and tell us the root word meaning here.
To become more lenient, compassionate, or forgiving. See synonyms at yield.
To cause to slacken or abate.
To cause to soften in attitude or temper.
[Middle English relenten, to melt, from Anglo-Norman relenter, from relent, damp : Latin re-, re- + Latin lentus, sticky, slow.]
The belief that God changes his mind is part of Open Theism and leads to believing that God cannot know the future. If He changes his mind, then it's because he did not know what would happen or he did not know better. God does not change at all; he is immutable.
There are books written on responding to these passages - mainly it's what Gold Dragon said, that from our viewpoint, we see God change because we see God's mercy.
There are also some websites that refute the charge that God changes his mind. I'm going to list them and maybe some excerpts since I don't have time for discussion on this now:
Link below, if you scroll down, leads to many articles on open theism:
John Piper refuting an open theist, Gregory Boyd:
I think God can change His mind.
1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.
2 Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD,
3 And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
4 Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying,
5 Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.
Hezekiah got fifteen extra years than he was first alotted.
Scripture clearly portrays God as
#1. Changing His mind... Isaiah 38
#2. Never Changing - Malachi 3
#3. And knowing the end from the beginning...
In Gen 6 God "repents" that He has made mankind. The day God made Adam He knew about the Cross and the second coming and the Millennium (and also before that day of course). But would it have served His purpose to tell Adam "You know - I repent that I have made you".
And would it have served his Purpose in Gen 6 to say "I always knew mankind was going to do this - from the day I made you I knew this is right where you would go".??
I think that "More truth" is conveyed by seeing God sorrowful and dissappointed in the failure of mankind in Gen 6 -- and so scripture presents Him that way -- even though in the "technical sense" He knew it all along.
This way God rejoices when we rejoice and also shares our sorrows rather than always representing Himself as cold, calculating, distant and all-knowing.
I think it should also be emphasized that it is possible to believe that God changes his mind and not subscribe to Open Theism.
God is one being - He is spirit. He does not have "parts." If God changes his mind, then his nature must change.
Also, why would God change his mind? It could only mean that what God was going to do was wrong, incomplete, or imperfect, and then we have a God who can be wrong, incomplete or imperfect. The only reason to change one's mind is because one now knows better, or one was wrong, or one now knows more.
A God who changes his mind is not the God of the Bible. Please see links to explain the problematic passages.
My point was that saying that God changed his mind doesn't mean that you support Open Theism which suggests that God doesn't know the future.
God could change his mind and know he would, all of which was in his nature that didn't change. I'm just trying to make sure we don't paint everyone who says God can change his mind to be an Open Theist.
Well I had hoped to pull some of our illustrious and learned men from the heated forums to come and share some thoughts on the word 'repented' and 'relented'.
There's a thought and a verse about God's anger floating in my head but I'm so overwhelmed after 72 hours of day care this week that I can't think clearly.
Help me out guys...
God got angry at Jonah and yet God KNEW Jonah would turn and do as God asked... that Ninevah would turn and worship God....
As I said -- the Bible portrays God as reacting to events "properly". For us to ignore the Bible and pretend like "nothing gets His attention since he already knew it " is to turn a blind eye to scripture.
We see God passionately pleading with the rebellious people saying "ALL my compassions are stirred within Me... OH HOW can I give you UP??".
The Anger, the Joy, the sorrow, the repentance, the changing of mind -- has to be accepted as it is IN SCRIPTURE even while knowing that in fact HE does know all things in advance.
By accepting His genuine (not faked) responses to events as real we come closer to understanding who He really is - than if we ignored scripture.
Yes, Gold Dragon, I agree that not everyone who thinks God changes his mind is an Open Theist, but I do think it can easily lead to that.
God knew that Nineveh would repent, of course. Jonah was afraid God would spare Nineveh -- he didn't want them to repent; he didn't want them spared. God showed Jonah his own uncompassionate heart. If God had just told Jonah, Go to Nineveh, they will repent and I will spare them, Jonah would not have learned his lesson. This way, he had to go through hoping they would not repent, being angry when they did, and God showing him his (Jonah's) lack of compassion.
This also showed God's compassion on a nation known for their cruelty. Those links I posted good responses to the whole thing about God relenting.
The 'changing of God's mind' is contingent on the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Were it not for that sin penalty being paid, God would not have relented, repented, turned from HIS anger toward us.
http://www.christiancourier.com by Jared Jackson
I don't think this is God changing his mind. It's not as though God had wrath on me before I trusted Christ and then changed his mind when I trusted Christ. His wrath on sin always stays the same but that wrath is diverted when I trusted in Christ. He doesn't change his mind about it. Plus, he knew I would trust Christ even before I was born. His attributes of wrath on sin, mercy, love, patience, wisdom, etc. never change or go out of balance. They are always there.
I do not think that God does "change His mind" about anything.
When, for example it says in the passage in Exodus, "So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people" The Hebrew "nacham" has the meaning, "to sigh, breathe strongly, to pity, feel sorry for". It should be noted, that verse 35 says, "and the Lord plagued the people, because of the calf which aaron made". So God did punish them after all.
Scripture tells us that "God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent" (Numbers 23:19)
There is no doubt, as we can see from the passage in Exodus, that God in His plans, (which are not always known to us in Scripture), would have more than one "option" of what He would do. It is clear from Exodus 32:10, that God wanted to "consume" (wipe out) those who had sinned against Him, and out of Moses make a great nation. However, after Moses pleaded with Him, God, stayed His hand from this. But nonetheless punished them with "plague" later on.
Likewise in Jonah. There is no doubt from the very outset, that God intended to save the people of Nineveh, for He sent Jonah to preach the Good News of Salvation. When they did hear the Gospel, they all repented from the greatest to the least, and cried out to the God of Mercy, if perhaps He might pardon them. God's plan was to destroy them if they did not repent. But, also part of His plan was to forgive and save them if they repented at tbe warning that Jonah preached to them.
I see everything that God does, is part of His overall plan, which we see sometimes from only one angle. God has laid down certain conditions, which, if they are met, He will honour, and if they are rejected, then He will do exactly what is needed. This is the same in Salvation. The Gospel is for everyone without exception. Those who repent and believe the Gospel, will be saved. Those who choose to reject God's way, must indeed face the wrath of God.
God does not move in time from moment to moment, so he does not ever change.
I meant to add in my previous post that I moved (or God drew me) from being under God's wrath to under his mercy by trusting Christ. It was I who changed; not God.
I don't think this is God changing his mind. It's not as though God had wrath on me before I trusted Christ and then changed his mind when I trusted Christ. His wrath on sin always stays the same but that wrath is diverted when I trusted in Christ. He doesn't change his mind about it. Plus, he knew I would trust Christ even before I was born. His attributes of wrath on sin, mercy, love, patience, wisdom, etc. never change or go out of balance. They are always there. </font>[/QUOTE]Marcia, according to Scripture, those who do not believe the Gospel, have the wrath of God on them (John 3:36). However, when this person turns to the Lord Jesus, this wrath is "lifted" in Jesus, as He "became a curse for us". There is no changing of God's mind here. But the circumstances determined the corse of action that is in the will of God. The "lifting" of the wrath is also part of the same "plan" that God has. The one part for those who accept the Gospel, and the other part for those who reject the same Gospel.