Home Pastors Articles for Pastors God Sometimes Changes His Mind (But Only Because He Never Changes)

God Sometimes Changes His Mind (But Only Because He Never Changes)

In the case of the first couple, it was God’s intention to work through them to project his image into the creation, and to expand his dominion over all of the creation through them. When they decided to be autonomous, God remained true to his ultimate commitment (cf. Gen 3:15) while “changing the plan” with this particular couple. Thus, the first couple is ushered out of the program, and God himself engages in the process of restoring what people ruin. This exact pattern can be seen over and over again in the Old Testament narrative. God never changes his ultimate purposes, and God never changes in his goodness and his “God-ness.” Thus, he can be said to change his mind, or regret, or change his actions toward people on various occasions, as a way of illustrating (and ultimately remaining true to) his own unchanging nature.

That’s why I titled this post, “God sometimes changes his mind, but only because he never changes.” If you go back and read the texts where this happens, you will see that every time it is because God’s covenant partner refuses to function within the parameters of God’s purposes and God’s nature.

The question (and conclusions) in light of biblical theology.

I want to do a bit more to root this theological idea in a framework of biblical theology.

Ultimately, the larger story of scripture resolves with Jesus opting to function completely on God’s terms to the point of death, and with God vindicating Jesus through resurrection as the affirmation that Jesus is the one person who was wholly faithful to God.

Jesus remains true to God, and God remains true to Jesus; and in the end, God hands the entire creation over to him (cf. Mat. 28:18.

God’s ultimate aim to hand the world over to an image-bearing human who reflects his image back into the creation, and who rules on his behalf, never changed, though the people who were a part of the long-term project along the way did change (cf. Phil. 2:8-11).

Second Question: Why did God do ‘that’ if he knew what would happen?

The larger question behind any single example of people failing to carry out God’s purposes is, “Why would God create the world in the first place if he knew that evil would enter the world, people would sin and terrible things would happen?”

In order to be intellectually honest, we have to admit that creating the world as God did was not his only option. After all, He’s God and he can do as he will do. But sticking with the first theological conclusion that God remains true to his own nature actually helps inform a solid (and more biblical) answer to this perplexing theological question.

Consider this take on it from Norman Geisler’s Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics as a good place to start:

A free world where no one sins or even a free world where everyone sins and then gets saved is conceivable, but it may not be achievable. As long as everyone is really free, it is always possible that someone will refuse to do the good.

Of course, God could force everyone to do good, but then they would not be free. Forced freedom is not freedom at all. Since God is love, he cannot force himself on anyone against their will. Forced love is not love; it is rape. And God is not a divine rapist. Love must work persuasively but not coercively.

Hence, in every conceivable free world someone would choose to do evil, so a perfect evil-free world may not be possible.