And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
Because of the condition of humanity at this time, we read something unique about God’s response: He “grieved in His heart” for man’s condition and was sorry (“repented” in the King James Version) that He created humanity. This is in stark contrast to God’s pleased reaction when He completed the physical creation (Genesis 1:31). The influence of Satan and the resulting sin had corrupted what God had created perfect.
This verse teaches us that the almighty God is also a God who experiences emotion.
We learn two very important truths about God’s nature from this verse. First, we learn that God occasionally changes His mind based on human circumstances. The Bible is very clear that God’s nature and character are unchangeable. God says plainly about Himself: “For I am the LORD, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). Jesus Christ is described as “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). These verses describe the total consistency of God’s nature and purpose. God is always a God of love and will always work in a way that allows His ultimate plan to move forward and be completed.
But the Bible also reveals that God does occasionally change how He deals with mankind based on the choices and actions of humans. At this point, mankind’s total degradation of character necessitated that God make a change in how He dealt with humanity by mercifully putting the majority of the population (except Noah and his family) to death. This in no way affected God’s ultimate plan of “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10). The antediluvians who were killed in the Flood will be raised to life at a future time (John 5:28), and those who didn’t have a chance will be given the opportunity to repent and change their lives (2 Peter 3:9).
God, similarly, paused His work with the nation of Israel as a result of their sins and is now working with His Church (Romans 11:17). But God’s original purpose and plan for Israel is unchangeable and will be accomplished (verses 26, 29, 32).
Other examples of God changing His mind based on choices made by humans are found in Exodus 32:14; 1 Samuel 15:11; and Jonah 3:10. None of these examples demonstrate any change in God’s core nature or plan of salvation for human beings. We are assured that “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
We will cover the second truth about God that we can learn from this verse in Monday’s Daily Bible Verse Blog.
To learn more about why evil and suffering exist today, read “Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering?”
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “I Am for Peace.”