We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded solely by your direct support. Please consider supporting this project.

What is the significance of Exodus 32:14?

The Lord states his intention to destroy Israelites because of their wickedness: “Now let me alone,” he says to Moses, “so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them” (vs. 10). Moses “implored the Lord” (vs. 11) and, as a result, “the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people” (vs. 14).

If the classical view of divine foreknowledge is correct, God would already have been certain that he wasn’t going to “consume” the Israelites and his statement to Moses regarding his plan to do just this would be disingenuous. Scripture’s teaching that God “changed his mind” about the matter would be inaccurate as well. If God’s declared intention and Scripture’s teaching are true, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that God’s mind was not eternally settled regarding the fate of Israel at this time.

Some theologians have tried to avoid this conclusion by suggesting that God can make plans in time which go directly against what he eternally foreknows and can even eternally foreknow that he will change his mind. But it is difficult, to say the least, to get a coherent conception of God genuinely planning something he is certain will not be, or genuinely changing his mind to arrive at a conclusion he eternally foreknew.

As far as I can discern, the concept of God foreknowing he will change his mind is self-contradictory. It is like saying, “God has an eternally unchanging mind which knows that he will someday change his mind.” If God’s mind really changes, it can’t really be eternally unchanging. If it’s really eternally unchanging, he can’t really change it. Think about it.

Category:
Tags: ,
Topics:
Verse:

Related Reading

Podcast: Is an Open Future World a Logically Possible World?

Greg gets technical in this abstract, yet profound, introduction to an open theist’s interpretation of the square of opposition. http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0217.mp3

Are Christians supposed to tithe?

Question: I and my husband have become increasingly uncomfortable with the many sermons on tithing we’ve been recently hearing at our church. Our pastor insists we tithe 10% to the church regardless of what else we give to other ministries. It seems like it has been reduced to a formula: Give ten percent and be…

How do you respond to Isaiah 14:24, 27?

The Lord of hosts has sworn: As I have designed, so shall it be; and as I have planned, so shall it come to pass… For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who will annul it? his hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back? The fact that Scripture frequently speaks of…

How do you respond to Genesis 49:10?

“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations be his.” In Exodus 32:10-14 God threatens to destroy the Israelites and start over with Moses. But Moses intercedes and God changes his mind. For Open…

Podcast: Is Open Theism an Accommodation?

Or for that matter is accommodation an accommodation? Greg talks about things that impact God. http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0407.mp3

Should churches have armed security guards?

Question: Recently (December, 2007) a security guard at New Life Church in Colorado Springs shot and apparently killed a man who was shooting people in the church parking lot. The pastor (Brady Boyd) hailed her as a “real hero.” Do you think churches should have armed security guards and do you think the pastor was…