Friday, October 24, 2014
The Repentance Of God
One topic often heard from objectors concerns the repentance of God where is often quoted, “God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Nu 23:19 KJV) against “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (Gen 6:6 KJV). These and other scriptures seem to suggest contradiction concerning the nature of God. Perhaps in it’s most simplistic form, the question is really “how can one who does not change have a change either in mind or heart?”
One way to answer the question is found in the Hebrew word "nacham", which is often translated “comfort” throughout Genesis (5:29; 24:67; 37:35; 38:12; 50:21--to select one book). This demonstrates how the Hebrew mind understands a wider range of meaning beyond simply, “to be sorry.”
The word carries the concepts of lamenting, grieving over one’s actions or the actions of others. We also find the word is refers to vengeance, anger--a specific response to a specific situation, such as a preemptive strike against one’s enemies (whether they be roaches, ants or opposing nations).
Is God sorry for what He says or does? Hardly. Does He grieve over the blatant disobedience of mankind against Him? Certainly! God must do what He says, even in punishing sin. If a person remains His enemy and will not be sorry for his own sins against God, He will overthrow them for His comfort (Isaiah 1:24). If His enemy grieves over his sin and trusts God by faith, both God and man will be comforted.