I Change Not

And The Lord Regretted

Does The Lord Change His Mind?

5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5–7 (ESV)

Note on Genesis 6:6

6:6 regretted. Here is a reference to a change of attitude and action. There is no contradiction between this verse and passages teaching the changelessness (immutability) of God (Mal. 3:6; James 1:17) and that God does not change His mind (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29; Ps. 33:11; Is. 46:10). Remembering that this description is anthropopathic (God is depicted in terms of the human experience of knowledge and emotion), we must also recognize that the immutable and sovereign God deals appropriately with changes in human behavior. When people sin or repent of sin, He “changes His mind” with regard to the blessing or punishment appropriate to the situation (Ex. 32:12, 14; 1 Sam. 15:11; 2 Sam. 24:16; Jer. 18:11; Amos 7:3, 6)—all in accordance with His sovereign and eternal purposes. He works out all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11), having ordained every change in human behavior as well as His response to it; thus, He never changes like we do on the basis of new information or unforeseen consequences. Because God is changeless in His being and eternally loyal to His covenant promises and unchanging decree, we can have firm confidence in Him who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8 and note).

R. C. Sproul, Ed., The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition), (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015), 23.

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