“The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.”  ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭6:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬    I wanted to know if God regretted making humans, then can we conclude that he made a mistake making humans. What would it mean if we say that God makes mistakes?


This is a reasonable question.  Unlike most other religions, in which God is presented as dispassionate, the Bible presents God as possessing and being influenced by powerful emotions.  You can do your own study (I am in London, in an airport, so will leave the word studies to you), but the Bible presents God as feeling love, anger, jealousy, compassion, mercy and regret.  It is possible to regret the result of one’s actions without feeling that the action was a mistake.  For example, if,  in the process of designing a new technology, someone might be killed when they use it.  One can regret the result, without feeling that the thing was a mistake.  I am sure that those who designed the space shuttle program regretted that the Challenger blew up, but still feel that developing the program was, overall, a very good idea.  We regret that allied soldiers died in World War II, but we do not feel it was a mistake to fight the war.  The alternative would have been worse.

I believe this applies to God’s feeling of regret as expressed in Genesis.  God created us because he wanted to love us, he wanted us to love him and he wanted us to love one another.  Also, another purpose was so that we would glorify him.  The result of God creating us was that all of these things did in fact happen.  Nevertheless, this creation caused God great pain, as so many rebelled, and God felt regret.

I do not know if you are a parent, but I can tell you one thing for sure, which is that all parents have feelings of regret at times, an some more than others, especially when the child dies of disease at a very young age or has an extreme defect of some sort.  Yet, these parents, despite their feelings of regret do not feel that it was wrong to have a child.  Like God, we all have mixed feelings.

I see Jesus in Matthew standing above Jerusalem, saying “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem.”  So many rejected him, but did he feel coming and dying for our sins was a mistake?  Definitely not.  In the same way, God does not feel that you and I are mistakes!!!!  If you take the time, you can find literally hundreds of passages in the Bible in which God expresses his love for us and his satisfaction at those who love him.

So, the simple answer is this:  No! God did not make a mistake when he created us with free will and with the ability to disobey him, but also to choose him and to love him.

John Oakes

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