How To Change God’s Mind

You’ve probably come across those passages in the Bible where God changes His mind after a prophet intercedes for the Israelites. Maybe you’ve even been part of discussions about how to reconcile such passages with those other passages that explicitly say God does not repent, or change His mind. Two common solutions have been proposed. Most liberals and open theists have settled for a smaller God, a God whose will conforms to ours. They have settled for a God who reacts to new information. A God whose actions are determined by our “free will”. An Arminian God, if you like. But others have sought to preserve God’s sovereignty in the face of this apparent contradiction. And the most common solution to the puzzle can be summarized in these words by R. C. Sproul:

“I think that what we have here is the mystery of providence whereby God ordains not only the ends of things that come to pass but also the means. God sets forth principles in the Bible where he gives threats of judgment to motivate his people to repentance. Sometimes he spells out specifically, “But if you repent, I will not carry out the threat.” He doesn’t always add that qualifier, but it’s there. I think this is one of those instances. It was tacitly understood that God threatens judgment upon these people, but if somebody pleads for them in a priestly way, he will give grace rather than justice. I think that’s at the heart of that mystery.”

While I do believe that this is the right way to handle the mystery, I was thinking about this issue last night and I noticed something that I’d never noticed before. Continue reading How To Change God’s Mind

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Blog Break (28 Jan 13)

Here are three links to some enlightening and encouraging reads to start off your week:

  1. AUGUSTINE: ON EVIL is a summary of Augustine’s ontological description/explanation of evil. For those who often have to deal with the question of why an all-good and all-powerful God would allow (not create) evil, it is my hope that this article will enlighten and encourage you. “The point is that evil and good are related, but that the relationship is not symmetrical.  Evil (nothingness) is dependent upon good (existence), but good does not depend on evil.  So it is correct, by Augustine’s reasoning, to say “There can be no evil without good” whereas it is mistaken to say “There can be no good without evil.””
  2. D. A. Carson’s FOR THE LOVE OF GOD devotional for 26th January explores the mysterious nature of God’s providence: “Providence is mysterious. It must never be used to justify wrong actions or to mitigate sin: Isaac and his family are more than a little sleazy, Judas is a deceitful wretch, Haman is vile, and the Roman court trying Paul is more than a little corrupt. Yet God sovereignly rules, behind the scenes, bringing glory out of gore and honor out of shame.”
  3. Finally, in 13 REASONS CHRISTIANS DON’T HAVE TO BE AFRAID, Jonathan Parnell, quoting John Piper,  reminds us that fear is really just a distrust of God’s sovereignty, power and goodness.

May you find rest in God’s sovereignty. Have an enlightened and fearless day, friends.