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Question 100

Q: In a sermon, you mentioned the omniscience of God. You also stated that theologians are divided on that subject.

I have a question about Genesis 6:6-7 which say that God regretted, or was sorry for having created man. Now when I regret something that I’ve done, it’s because I realize I’ve made a mistake. Are these verses indicating that God could make a mistake? I’m confused. Did God know what decision man was going to make? If so, did He know that He was going to regret it?

Asked by: Robert, Florida


A: Robert, thank you so much for your question and you know that you are perfectly correct that theologians are divided on this topic.

In the past few years, several theologians have suggested that God doesn’t know the future exhaustively and He doesn’t know what decisions we’re going to make until we make them. And so, they say, God regretted certain things and the reason is because He didn’t know how they were going to turn out.

Robert, I don’t believe that for a moment. I believe that God knows the future exhaustively. Of course He knew that man would sin; of course there are no surprises. He knows what we are going to choose. The Bible is filled with examples about that.

Now when you get to a phrase like “the Lord repented,” sometimes the Bible uses what is known as anthropomorphisms. That’s a big word, but what it means is God is represented as a man, as a human being. We even see it in phrases like “the hands of the Lord.”

So, the bottom line is, if God regretted that He made man, it really means that God chose to have those emotions. God chose to regret that He made man. We always have to realize that the preponderance of evidence in the Bible is that God knows everything. And because He knows everything, by the way, that’s why we can trust Him with such clarity and simplicity.

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