Does Yahweh change his mind?

Yahweh speaks to Moses and Aaron, saying,

**The LORD said to Moses and Aaron,
“Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”

But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, “O God, God of every human spirit, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?**”

Numbers 16:20-16:22

So Yahweh planned to destroy everyone, wipe everyone out in that congregation, except Moses and Aaron apparently, and then Moses and Aaron pointed out to Him that it wasn’t really fair because only one man had sinned, and Yahweh planned to kill everyone because of this one man. So what happens in the end is that Yahweh decides not to kill everybody, and instead He wipes out 250 people altogether, he wipes them out, he kills them.

So the point is that there are several examples in the Bible e.g Numbers 16:20 onwards, where Yahweh planned on doing something, I am going to do X, and then for various reasons then decided to do Y. Yahweh changes his mind, God changes his mind. I’ve read a discussion where people discuss which of these options was the best thing to do. Was it what Yahweh was planning on doing, i.e. wipe out everybody or X, or was it to only wipe out 250 people. What was the best option? The reason this is an important question is that it suggests that Yahweh actually that His initial plans were wrong, on the basis of the unjustness of it, of punishing the whole community on the basis of a few people, it suggests His initial plan was a bad plan, His initial plan was incorrect, and once he learned, once He was pressed on this He realized this and so He wanted to do the thing that turned out to be better.

Is that how it is?

How do you understand that? Was His initial plan good and His eventual action good as well? How does that work?

There are examples too, Numbers 14:11-24, & 16:41-50, Exodus 32:9-14,

I also have another query, In Genesis 6:7 Yahweh says, ''So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”

So Yahweh created everything, and then when everyone had wicked, apparently, He regrets making them in the first place. So He is saying that He has made a mistake.

And also king Saul, when King Saul disobeyed a particular act, when he in this case didn’t kill the Amelkites like Yaheweh told him too, then the word of Yahweh came to Samuel and said, ‘**‘I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the LORD all that night.’’ Samuel 15:10-11
Again, it says that Yahweh rejected that He made Saul a King. Again, the idea that He made a wrong desicion. It says,

**’‘Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.’’ 1 Samuel 15:35

So we see plenty of examples where Yahweh himself realizes that He did the wrong thing. But how can this be if God is omniscient and knows everything that happens before it happens. Does Yahweh know everything before it happens?

Well there are signs that no he doesn’t. There is another example in Genesis 8:20,

**Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous

21, that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know."**

Yahweh has heard about the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorra but He’s had to come down and see if these things were really true, so in other words he doesn’t know for definite all he has heard is a rumor and He’s coming down and He says I will find out, and if it’s not true, then I will know, how will He know, by going and seeing what happens.

There are other examples, like in 2 Chronicles 32:31, ‘‘But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.’’

So what we see according to all these passages is that Yahweh does not know everything , he changes His mind, he has to learn new information, he does thing which are wrong, and he regrets doing those things later on.

Is Yahweh not similar to human beings in that He doesn’t know everything, He learns new information, He regrets things that He does, He does wrong things etc.

See also, Deuteronomy 8:2, 13:3, & Judges 2:21-22.

By the way, in Genesis 18:20 it says Yahweh talks and has food etc. with Abraham. Is this LITERAL? Did Yahweh really sit and chat etc. with Abraham?

I would really like some feedback on all of this! Thank you!

Can’t explain all the incidents in your post but one way of thinking about it is that the LORD can be petitioned, prayed and supplicated to with an outcome being changed by him. Examp, 2 Kings 20

1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.

5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.

Hezekiah was set to die but the LORD changed his mind on account of Hezekiah’s prayer and ended up giving Hezekiah an extra 15 years (vs6)

James 5:16…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (with God)

Was it right and just for the LORD set/let Hezekiah die without the 15 extra years, I think so, but the LORD also has the right to change his mind when he ‘gives ear’ to the prayer of, and has compassion for one of his creatures. He can be flexible when he wants to be.

But Gen 6.7 and the LORD’s ‘regret’, don’t know how to explain :shrug:

Remember that, by definition, God cannot do anything objectively wrong (subjectively, we as humans may view an action of God has better or worse or whatever, but that because of our human inability to understand the mind of God). Thus, whether God had wiped out all the Israelites or just 250, they were both objectively the right decision I think. Same thing with the Hezekiah issue.

From a human perspective, we might prefer one or the other or one or the other has a ‘better’ choice (i.e. Hezekiah would have preferred to live longer and be healed; the Israelites, minus the 250 of course, would probably have preferred to be spared death), but objectively, they are equally as ‘right’.

Since, by definition, all of God’s choices, plans and action are equally perfect/right, then it just reaffirms that God can do anything He chooses and still always be perfect since any choice He makes will always be the right one.

I think the lesson, in general, is PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! and, if it is God’s decision to do so, then He can and will choose another equally right option that might, however, be preferred subjectively by us.

Also, I think this shows why intercession of the Saints is to important.

EDIT: Sorry if there is any incorrect doctrine here. I am no expert. Please correct me if I misspoke.

God does not change His mind. Inspired Scripture is intentionally misrepresenting God, to anthropomorphize God, to help us to understand him.

Amen to that! :thumbsup:

Or more likely, the old testament is simply the ancient Jews creating an anthropomorphic god as part of the process of creating a new nation. What better way to get people organized than by using religious myths?

The biggest mistake the early Christians ever made was including the old Jewish mythology in their canon. It completely strains credibility.
There should have been a clean break.

I think it is probably fairer to say that you believe it is more likely.

Indeed the very notion of a nation as we understand it today did not exist thousands of years ago. The Jews probably had developed the closest thing in the ancient world to a sense of national identity and how much of that identity existed prior to the Babylonian captivity is uncertain at best (Certainly tribalism played a major role in the politics of Israel prior to the fall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judea).

The biggest mistake the early Christians ever made was including the old Jewish mythology in their canon. It completely strains credibility.
There should have been a clean break.

Actually on the contrary. Without the link to Judaism, there is no good reason to believe in Jesus.


good point Bill

You can’t seriously believe the Jews invented the concept of a nation???

Please explain why you wouldn’t believe in Jesus without his being linked to Judaism.
He contradicted just about everything in it - to the point of being executed for blasphemy and heresy.

The concept of a nation as we know it today was probably little known in the ancient world where tribal loyalties and ties were paramount. The Jews certainly were early in joining twelve tribes into what was considered “one people.” Even in ancient Greece it was the City State and not a nation of Greece that was paramount.

In my opinion Jesus actually as portrayed in the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, which points to him as the “One” to come. There were no contradictions of the prophets and the natural law moral lessons in the teachings of the New Testament. The only thing abrogated were certain parts of the Mosaic Law and some of the Pharisaic teachings and attitudes derived therefrom.

There were empires all around the tribal Jewish area during the time of the old testament.
Israel can’t even find believable archeological evidence for the supposed ‘kingdoms’ of Israel and Judea mentioned in their religious mythology.

Archeological findings have proven that much of the so called prophecy stuff was written after the fact, as evidenced by anachronistic elements within the stories that clearly indicate the time of writing was hundreds of years after the alleged events.

The way Jesus lived and taught was entirely contradictory to the Jewish religion of the time.

YHWH is completely different than the God of Jesus.
YHWH is a jealous, murderous, thieving, moral relativist, human creation - no more God than Zeus/Jupiter/Horus/Thor/etc./etc.

Sheesh! Don’t you think that that opinion is a little “strong”?

In fact, the OT is fundamentally about Christ!

For example, “doors” and “gates” in the Bible are a type, or symbol, of Christ, Himself…

9I am the gate. John 10:9.

So, in Exodus 12, when the Hebrews were whipping hyssop soaked in blood at their doors to splatter their doors with the blood of the paschal lamb, they were amazingly foreshadowing the scourging of Christ the Paschal Lamb, symbolized by the door!!!

See Exodus 12:21-23.

The OT is made of such symbols, called “typological word pictures” by some.

Not al all.

To be clear, I am not opposed to symbolism.

However, you can connect anything with anything when you go down that road to “prove” preconceived conclusions.

The god of the ancient Jews is quite clearly described as jealous, vengeful, wrathful, genocidal, etc., etc.

It is not healthy to worship such a demonic god, and is the deepest possible insult and blasphemy to connect Jesus with such a god.

Remember that the followers of that demon had Jesus executed for being a heretic to their religion.

The traits of the ancient Jewish god parallel the traits of the other ancient ‘gods’ of the Egyptians/Greeks/Romans/Scandinavians/etc. that have long since been recognized to be human creations.
While interesting enough for fables, stories, movies, and such; there is no justifiable reason for seriously worshipping any of these gods.

Only something demonic would say ‘YHWH is demonic’

Nice try.

Old testament descriptions of YHWH’s behavior and character quite clearly indicates something demonic, or at best an anthropomorphic human creation to justify rather barbaric human practices.

[quote]Nice try.

Old testament descriptions of YHWH’s behavior and character quite clearly indicates something demonic, or at best an anthropomorphic human creation to justify rather barbaric human practices.



what do you mean nice try
you know what you are

How very well you have demonstrated your initial assumption!

Zeus is a known invention of man.
Yahweh is recorded to behave in the precise manner of Zeus.
Yahweh, clearly, is therefore an invention of man.

The problem, of course, is that (i) we do *not *‘know’ that early Indo-European sky gods and fatherly kings of divine beings like Zeus, do *not *exist in some sort of mystical sense; (ii) there are rather trivial similarities between the gods that exist in pantheons belonging to polytheistic religions, and that god which is essential in manner and type to the structure of monotheism. In the case of the latter, it might very accurately be claimed that such a Middle Eastern tyrrant is entirely alien to the thoughts of European paganism, such as it was; and that there is nothing in the behaviour of the former which should insinuate to our minds that such gods *require *anything of us, or that we, in their eyes, are utterly bereft of any intrinsic merit.

To Yahweh, men are worthless, they are his slaves, to be treated as he wishes, and men themselves have not an iota of solid reason to rebel against such a god, for that is the ‘rhythm and logic of the universe’, as Ratzinger once described it. One finds nothing of the sort in polytheism, for its very structure cannot incorporate such a being without failing to be polytheism in essense. The concept of the Greek Kosmos, for example, with its cycles of evolution, and its multiverses, does not have at its zenith a monarch who dictates its will to the worthless slaves of matter it has created; but the Christian cosmology certainly does.

Thread Closed

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit