ReThink everything you thought you Knew

Does God Change His Mind?

Classical theologians usually argue that texts that attribute change to God describe how he appears to us; they do not depict God as he really is. It looks like God changed his mind, but he really didn’t.

Unfortunately for the classical interpretation, there are many texts that do not say, or remotely imply, that it looks like the Lord intended something and then changed his mind. Rather, the Lord himself tells us in the plainest terms possible that he intended one thing and then changed his mind and did something else.

Here are some examples:

 

This list could be expanded (More are provided in the appendix of God of the Possible). Clearly, the motif that God changes his mind is not an incidental one in Scripture. It runs throughout the biblical narrative and is even exalted as one of his praiseworthy attributes. It is very difficult to see how passages such as these can be fairly interpreted if we assume that the future is exhaustively settled and known by God as such.

If we simply free ourselves from the Hellenistic philosophical assumptions that God must be unchanging in every respect and that time is an illusion, we will be able to embrace the plain meaning of these texts along with the glorious picture of divine sovereignty and openness that they engender.

God is not only the God of future certainties; he’s the God of future possibilities.

—Adapted from God of the Possible, pages 77-85

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