God changes His Plans?
aymon de albatrus
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (Jam 1:17)
And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them." (Gen 6:7)
"For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Mal 3:6)
In these evolutionistic days there are concentrated effort by the ever increasing ungodly centres of unbelief such as Open Theism and Higher Criticism raging in both philosophical and liberal theological circles wanting to prove that the Bible is inconsistent with itself, thus negating its veracity and consequently doing away with Almighty God to be replaced with a god of our own making.
One such complaint is to say that Scripture is contradictory for in one hand it says that God does not change His mind, whilst on the other saying He does.
Verses that clearly say God does not change his mind:
Num 23:19; 1Sa 15:29; Psa 33:11; Psa 102:25-27; Isa 14:24; Eze 24:14; Mal 3:6; 2Co 1:20; Heb 13:8; Jam 1:17
Verses that apparently say He does:
Gen 6:5-7; Exo 32:14; Hos 11:8-9; Jer 26:13; 26:19; Jon 3:10 - 4:2; 2Ki 20:1-6; Psa 90:13; Amo 7:2-6; Joe 2:13
On one thing we are absolutely sure, changing His mind and never changing it, cannot exist together at the same time, by definition, it is one or the other, because God, super rational being, either changes or never changes.
Besides if our God were a fickle god, we would be truly in dire straights and our salvation would be ephemeral, in doubt and not reliable. But Praise our Lord for He is not like that: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Heb 13:8) AMEN.
God can be defined by His Attributes, of which He has an infinite number for He is Infinite and the Universe of Universes cannot contain Him (1Ki 8:27; 2Ch 2:6). Each attribute contain His majesty and even we, with our little puny minds, can certainly glean at least a little of His greatness. Let us take four of His major attributes:
These four attributes alone clearly demonstrate that He is present in every place with infinite power, anytime and that all that He wants to do He does (decrees) and nations are nothing but vanity in front of Him (Isa 40:17).
The logical conclusion to these attributes is that God lives in an eternal NOW and He knows ALL things, there is no such thing as time for Him, we live in time, but not Him.
This means that God, before time began, knew every single detail of every single thing that would happen, according to His Decrees, in the whole of His creation, from the largest Universe to the smallest amino acid.
Under this concept it is not possible that with the passing of time things may change from what He saw before the beginning as decreed by Him, for if something changed from what he "saw", then God is not god anymore for these things would have been out of His Sovran Control and He would have been wrong in His "vision". Let us remember that God lives in an eternal "now".
The example given to understand this concept is to consider the drama of Creation as a very long spool of film. We are travelling in the film trough each sequential photogram, one after another, and this is time; whilst God sees the film with the reel completely un-winded and has vision of ALL individual photogram all-at-once at the same "time.
The logical conclusion is then that God cannot "change" His mind, for His decrees are perfect and what He foresaw is also perfect, for Him to be truly the Almighty Sovereign God. It is not that things in time developed differently form what He "saw" and decreed, and therefore He has to make quick amends and change His plan, for, then, He would not be God. He has ALL the power necessary to execute His plans, as He wants, and no one can frustrate His resolve.
It is not like the story that is told apropos this: "There is an Italian housewife that decides to make spaghetti: la la la - flour; la la la - eggs; la la la - kilo of sugar !!! sugar??, what !! ahh well, I will make biscuits instead."
This concept is really very easy to comprehend, and yet men have great difficulties with it, I guess it must be due to the fact that if they accept it, their beloved "free will" is thereby destroyed.
This concept also denies the idea called "Infralapsarian" which teaches that God was surprised by the fall of Adam and thus He had to quickly change His original plan and pass on to ‘plan B’ for His creation and to bring about Christ to save humankind. This idea makes mockery of the Almighty God who knows all-in-all and everything. God was not surprised by Adam’s fall, for otherwise He would not be God, again by definition. The Fall of Adam and the coming of Christ was integral part of the original plan of God that He decreed well before time began, and this notion is called "Supralapsarian". How can people think so little of our Majestic GOD, beats me, truly!
This should suffice to prove that by the order of things, God does not change His mind, human beings do; but their continual changes were also seen by God before the beginning of time and from His point of view nothing has changed at all from what He "saw" then.
This is really elementary, Mr. Watson.
Another concept modern theologian are fond of to use is the escape phrase "God permits" in reference to God’s activities that are not ‘politically correct’ in our democratic minds. This does not gel too well with me, for "permit" has a connotation that something has "entered" in His own creation outside Himself that He really did not want, but given the circumstances He permits it (kind of, "aaaah well!") and that would make Him not The Almighty God but a puny god with no control. We use the word "permit" to kind of cover God’s integrity. Methinks the great God of the Bible has no need of such farce.
A typical double talk phrase: It follows then that evil is something permitted by God, not caused by Him, yet is and under His absolute control.
Methinks it must be terribly offensive to Him for us to use palliative words such as "permit" to ameliorate (democratize) His sovereignty in our eyes.
With this concept of "permit" theologians have developed what seems a warped concept of the existence of "two wills" in God. Really! Has God a divided mind, a dichotomy of purpose??? If this is the case we really are lost. Which one of the two wills will God cause to pass?
Surely it is impossible to have two "wills" in one person. If we take the case of David we can 'possibly' see two "wills" in God that appear to be contradictory, but they are not. The secret will of God determines that David should sin in adultery, whilst the revealed will tells him that he must not sin. Of course there is no conflict in the mind of God, and there is only ONE will in God.
Human creates in their mind an impossibility to understand how God can will that an individual sin and yet they want the He be not the author of that sin. What we often forget is that God's mind is infinitely great. We are grasshoppers in comparison to the One who sits on the circle of the earth. We cannot comprehend God fully (not even minimally) and even after an eternity of studying Him, He will still be mysterious to us. But this is only because we want to rationalise the whole thing in our puny human minds, but Scripture speaks clearly, if we have ears to hear: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Rom 11:33)
The case of David in question is his adultery with Bathsheba. Surely the Bible makes it plain. The Seventh Commandment states clearly: "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (with death as its penalty), and this is God’s revealed will and yet God foreordains whatsoever comes to pass. His plan includes everything and nothing is left to chance. God "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph 1:11). And thus the birth of Solomon was in God’s will (secret) and this would have been only possible with Bathsheba, but she was married to another. Since everything is included in His decrees, sin must be there too. This means that it was God's one will that David commit adultery. Nothing can happen but what God wills and David did commit adultery, to eventually generate Solomon.
There were NO two wills in God, the will of God that David knew was His revealed will, or the "will of accommodation" for David to follow, and the secret will of God was God’s actual will that was decreed to come to pass before time began. It is similar to the command of the Lord for us to go and evangelise His marvellous salvation to all indiscriminately, and yet we know very well that few will respond to that, moreover it is HE that Grants the increase, as preordained before time began: "I (Paul) have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase." (1Co 3:6)
The purpose of evangelisation is two fold: it is part and parcel of God’s working in the process of sensitize those who are being saved, and for those who will be lost is to leave them without excuses. We do not know who is which, that is the secret will of God, whilst evangelisation is the revealed will of God for us, but in God they are not different.
The problem we make in believing in "two wills of God" is that we take the reveal will of God as one real total will and the secret will as another, perhaps even distinct from the other. But it is not so, God will is ONE, what He reveals is a "will of accommodation", but not distinct from His real One will but a subset thereof.
Let us take for example of another much-(mis)used phrase: "God is not the author of sin". This phrase makes no sense at all, for "sin" is the transgression of the Law (1Jo 3:14) and the Law is the collection of commands that God has imposed on man, not on Himself and thus not applicable to Him.
For example if I kill a man, I have broken the Law that God has imposed on me by damaging His property and therefore I have sinned. But if God kills that man (and God kills every human) or charges someone to do it, it cannot be said that He has sinned, for that man was His total property that He created and kept alive out of nothing. Similarly if God truly commands me to kill somebody, I would not sin for even though I have destroyed His property, I have done so under His command, not mine, as the children of Israel destroyed the Canaanites under God’s command.
All I am trying to say is that God can do anything He wants with His creation and it is not sin; whilst we cannot and if we do something against His creation, it is sin for us.
Hey! Have you ever noticed that God actually sent a lying spirit to the king of Israel and it was not sin (1Ki 22:22-23). Even our evil legal system considers a sin if somebody, by a lie, causes a man to go to his death. Why not for God? Cries a humanist. Elementary, because God is above the Law that He has imposed on men, He is not a democrat but has total Sovereignty over His creation and He does not have to render account to anyone for His actions, nor can anyone can contend and say to Him "why you do that?"
The same, with the concept of evil, evil is so because thus God has decreed for us, but it is not so for God, He is the Creator and the Sovereign Lord well entitled to do what He wants without limits and He does impose His sovereignty on His possessions (i.e. All) as He pleases having every possible right, thereof: "See now that I, I am He, and there is no other God with Me. I kill, and I keep alive. I wound and I heal, and there is no deliverer from My hand. (Deu 32:39)" "Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces and there be none to deliver you: (Psa 50:22) (1 Samuel 2:6; Job 5:18)
Once the Sovereignty of God is understood there is no problem in accepting that God can do what He likes with our lives, and it is not sin or evil for He created us from nothing and He keeps us alive, thus we are totally His property, and we cannot say anything against what He does to me. He is above His Law issued for men.
Let us take the typical case is in Gen 6:6, one of the verses that seem to imply that God changed His mind: "And Jehovah repented that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved to His heart." Surely this passage must be interpreted anthropologically for if God is truly Omniscient He would have known very well the way it would have gone, otherwise He would not be The Almighty God.
Anthropologically means "from man’s point of view", from our point of view is as if God ‘repenteth’, but it is not so, in reality. God in His Bible does not reveal all there is to know about Him and His plans, He reveals all that is necessary for us to know about His marvellous Salvation, but the majority of things He keeps secret for Himself: "The secret things belong to the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." (Deu 29:29)
What God reveals to us is a subset of His total complete plan, we would not comprehend it fully, anyway. We have already enough difficulties in keeping what He has revealed to us humans.
How to interpret the verses that appear to say that God changed His mind?
For example take the "Trinity", God has given us names to identify the persons of the Trinity, but in fact the Trinity has no names as we understand. Indeed the word "God" (Yahweh) is an invention of His to favour our human understanding. We humans are in need of definite terms, definable concepts to think and to understand, and God has provided those things we call "language of accommodation". Every parent uses this "language of accommodation" when he wants to communicate with his small children, a language to their level that they can understand. It is simplified language to make the child understand what the parent has in mind.
For example if Eric wanted to tell his little daughter Heidi to avoid touching the Chinese vase he has in the corridor worth $ 10,000 he would not say to her: "Heidi, listen, that vase is very expensive and delicate, in you euphoric pirouettes please desist from touching it." Instead he would say rather direct and loudly: "Heidi, NO! No." In the same way God formulated his communications to us in very low terms in comparison to His mentality, using words and concepts that we understand.
For this reason He says to us: "For as the heavens are high from the earth, so My ways are high from your ways, and My thoughts from your thoughts." (Isa 55:9)
Often the Bible expresses Itself from the human view point (anthropologically) that places man at the centre of reality, and other times attributes to God human emotions (Anthropopathy) to make it easier for our egocentric mentality to understand the concept He wants to convey.
For example our test verse: "And Jehovah repented that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved to His heart." (Gen 6:6) A superficial reading would indicate that God was surprised by the happenings, as if He were human and had made an error in creating man and was sorry for it. But this is impossible because in His attributes God is also Omniscient, and thus He knows everything of the Past, of the Present and of the Future, without a tittle missing
If he knew everything, even before starting His creation, why repent on how things went, for He knew VERY WELL beforehand how things would have gone? Why decree their creation in time they would have caused Him distress? God is not stupid. It makes no sense at all to repent for something you knew already how it would have gone. If God did not want that He had all the infinite omni power to change it in advance and save Himself any kind of eventual frustration of repentance.
Let us not escape from reason, please.
Another verse put forward in support of two wills of God is: "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (1Ti 2:4) With the liberal interpretation that God desired the salvation of All men, but not all want to be saved so He, scorned and rejected by the omnipotent man, sadly has to be happy in saving only the elect. This is not a picture of THE Almighty GOD, but that of a useless god.
Careful exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:4 does lead us to believe that "God's willing all men to be saved" does not refer to every single individual person in the world, but rather to all sorts of persons of all nations, and kindred, and people, and tongues such as: "After this I beheld, and, see, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;" (Rev 7:9)
If 1Ti 2:4 refers indeed not to every single individual that would ever live on earth but to all sorts of elect people from every tribe, then there is only One will in God and there is no difficulty in interpretation this verse. (articles apropos)
Another revealing example: are we saying that God ‘repenteth’ for having created Hitler. If we say that, then we are actually stating that God made a mistake, and thus we are in effect saying that God is incapable, fallible and has poor control over His creation. God forbids! Did He not also create that embodiment of Sin called Satan? Yes! He did and for His good purpose, and so He created all other evil entities, including Genghis Khan, for His godly purpose: Let us ALWAYS remember that our God is THE ALMIGHTY GOD: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Rom 11:33) and that we are only the bleating sheep of His pasture (Psa 100:3)
God consistently deals with people on the basis of His changeless character and people's responsible moral choices, which He omnisciently included in His unchangeable eternal plan. From our point of view it appears God is reacting to His creation. But, in reality, nothing falls outside His divine perfect blueprint. God in His sovereign plan is in complete control over all of the time. It is people who change, not God (these changes foreseen by Him before time began). His purposes, plans, and promises will stand forever without a shadow of changing. As truly sovereign, He ordains and carries out the means as well as the ends to achieve His original purpose that He will SURELY achieve.
Everything must find its source in God The Almighty and definitely NOT outside Him, for there is nothing outside His TOTAL Sovereign control even in the smallest infinitesimal details.
The only thing we can say on this matter is not that "God exists" but: "GOD IS". Amen
GOD DOES NOT CHANGE; nor do His plans and mind.
“For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, to the glory of God by us.” (2Co 1:20)