He Repents, Yet He Repents Not


According to the Bible, God repents (regrets), yet according to the very same Bible He does nothing wrong that He should repent of anything – EVER. What’s the deal?

1 Samuel 15:11 “I regret that I have made Saul king,”

Genesis 6:6 “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”

The Lord made a world that was good, a people in His own good image. This pleased Him in His heart. His holiness demanded obedience from Adam and Eve, but they rebelled for something unholy. The consequence for disobedience was severe; totally fallen man. The punishment was death. In their rebellion man fell further and further into sin against his Maker.

Not long after, the Bible says God “regretted” that He had made man on the earth. But can God repent or regret His own actions even if He does no wrong? God is able to love righteousness and hate sin in such a way that He regrets without compromising His perfection. He regrets the hurting which people feel, the death men die in their sins and the condition of man outside of His love. Yet in the midst of this He ultimately regrets nothing. He is not like man who may seek repentance when wrongs are revealed. God does no wrong.

Number 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

Additionally, no deed or action of God is without perfect forethought and flawless planning. He has NO error. Everything He does is known by Him from eternity and everything He chooses to perform on earth is perfectly justified without any external ruling.

There is no contradiction here. This is a reality that we must come to know about our God. Not know as in perfectly understand, but know as in accept. Accept the fact that He perfectly loves and perfectly hates. He never changes, yet He has a personality that shows true emotion for His creation. He finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked, yet He is pleased in His righteous judgment against them.

This is our great God. Know Him and love Him as He is, as the Scriptures reveal Him to us. Worship this paradoxical God. Praise the one who judges the wicked in righteousness and justifies the sinner through grace.

Here is the greatest paradoxical truth of all – the gospel of Jesus Christ – It pleased the Father to crush His own Son in order to bring many sons to glory, while it grieved the Father to see His innocent Son suffer at the hands of His enemies. It’s not one or the other. It’s both. It’s not a contradiction but a paradox, one we must embrace to the glory of God.


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