Does God change his mind?

It seems in the Old Testament that Gods changes his mind. Can we interceed for God to change his mind?

When the Bible speaks of God changing his mind that is just a metaphor because God cannot change. Everything God does flows from his perfect will. It merely appeared as if God changed his mind from the perspective of the writers of scripture. The story of Jonah provides a good illustration of this principle.

The book of Jonah describes how God called the prophet Jonah to urge the people of Nineveh to repent of their wickedness. Jonah decided to get on a boat and try to evade God’s demand but one fish story of a detour later, Jonah ended up right at Nineveh and the preached God’s judgment. As a result, the people repented and the last verse in Jonah says, “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it.” Did God change his mind about destroying the city?

Notice that in Jonah 1:2 Gold told Jonah “Arise, go to Nin’eveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.” In 3:4 Jonah preaches the specific message God gives him, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed," But since God sent Jonah as a prophet to call the people to repentance, and not as a herald announcing the city’s destruction, the message of the city’s destruction would have also implicitly ended with the caveat, “unless you repent.” God knew the people of Nineveh would repent. It was the people of Nineveh who did not know they were capable of such repentance. When the Biblical text says God changed or repented from evil, this is merely a metaphorical way of saying that human beings have changed, or they have repented. As a result, God did not destroy them because of their sins.

Since we do not know what God’s particular plans are for his creation, we are in no position to ask him to change his mind since we don’t know what he is going to do. God in fact, cannot “change his mind” because he is outside of time. However, we can make our petitions known to him and then trust in his perfect goodness that he will do what is best as he acts in our space-time universe.

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