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Author Topic: Does God regret or tempt?  (Read 20812 times)

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Does God regret or tempt?
« on: July 20, 2012, 08:34:44 PM »

I was really confused when I read in Genesis that it said that God regrets making mankind (Genesis 6:6,7). Also, in Genesis it says that God tempted Abraham, (Genesis 22:1) but in James it says that God does not tempt anyone (James 1:13). Please help me. Thank you for all of your insite on the bible, it has helped me a lot.
Sincerely, Josh

Dear Josh:
I would estimate that pretty close to 100% of the thousands of questions I have been asked concerning the Bible over the years,
have to do with contradictions.  In some way, shape, or form, virtually all questions that people have, regard what they perceive
to be a contradiction.  There is more to understanding the Scriptures than to see a word in a Bible verse, look it up in a dictionary,
and conclude that the Bible contradicts itself.  Or to pit one verse against another verse and conclude that there must be a
contradiction in the Bible.
If we take Gen. 5:6--"And it repented the Lord that He had made man...." and then read I Sam. 15:29--"And also the Strength
{the LORD] of Israel will not lie nor repent, for He is not a man that He should repent," we could easily conclude that this is
a contradiction of Scriptures.  It is not. Does God ever "repent?"  Yes, of course He does, the Bible says He does, but we
need to understand the different meanings of the word and the context in which it is used. By the way, you use the word "regret"
as what God felt, but regret is not a definition of "repent" or "grieved."
My American Heritage Dictionary has this as one of the definitions of  "repent"--To make a change for the better as a result
of remorse or contrition FOR ONE'S SINS.  Can we apply this definition of repent to God?  Does God SIN?
What is another definition of repent as it is used in the Hebrew Scriptures:  Dr. Strong--"repent, #5152, to sigh, to breathe
strongly , by implication to feel sorry, that is (in a favorable way) TO PITY...."  Now then, does this definition fit the feeling that
God had when He saw the incredible evil and corruption of mankind?  Yes it does. We might ask, what kind of a God would
He be if He did NOT feel "pity" for what He determined was His next course of action, namely to wipe them out with a flood.
 And as for I Sam. 15:29 which states that God is not a man that He should repent, the context here is that God is not fickle.
He is not like men who constantly change their mind and are often driven by the winds of human philosophy.  The same principle
applies with the statement where God says, "I am the LORD, I CHANGE NOT" (Malachi 3:6).
Regarding God "tempting" Abraham, the word in Hebrew is nasah, and its first definition is "to test."  Look what happens if we
go to our Dictionaries to find the definition of this word:  "To try to get someone to do something wrong."  Or "To be attractive
or inviting."  Would anyone in their right mind think that killing ones own son would be something that is "attractive or inviting?"
We need to be very careful in trying to use a modern definition or usage of a word that is completely foreign to the situation
of four thousand years ago.  Abraham was being "tested," not "tempted."  And likewise, the first definition of the Greek word
translated "tempt" in James 1:13, is "to TEST."
Hope this helps your understanding, Josh.
God be with you,
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