GOD “REPENTED”?

 

Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

 

Question: Genesis 6: 5-7 reads:

 

5. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every

imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6. And it repented the

LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7. And the LORD

said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.

 

If God is omniscient, knowing “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46: 10), how could He have

“repented” that He had created man?

 

Answer: The word repent means, “To change the mind, or course of conduct, on account of

regret or dissatisfaction with what has occurred.” The question now becomes, Did God change

His mind (Plan), or His course of conduct? Knowing the end from the beginning, God neither

could, or would, have changed His mind, therefore, repent in this text must mean a change of

His course of conduct. That is, God changed His course of dealing with man, because of man’s

wickedness, which grieved Him. But He did not change His mind or plans, because He had from

the very first recognized the corrupting and degrading tendency of sin, and had provided

beforehand the remedy to the curse of sin – Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, “slain from the

foundation of the world” – as the redemption price for Adam and his race (Revelation 13: 8).

 

We might ask: How did God change His course of dealing with man at the time of our text? We

answer, He put an end to that first dispensation, or order of affairs, by means of the Flood, in

which all mankind perished except for Noah and his family. He then began a new order of affairs

– propagating the race from Noah and his family – which became another, and more advanced

step in the eventual outworking of God’s Plan for the world’s salvation. God’s putting an end to

the first dispensation was a great mercy, for many of Adam’s descendants who perished in the

Flood were prevented from degrading their characters to the point where recovery during the

“times of restitution” would have been difficult, if not impossible. Praise God for His infinite

wisdom, power and love!

 

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