Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 9, 2007

This may sound like a silly question, but in light of the recent posts that’ve been made, I’m reminded of a question someone came up with recently in another discussion:

“What if God wanted to be SURPRISED?????

As a friend of mine once said on the issue,

If I remember correctly Jesus was amazed at least twice in the gospels….he was amazed at the lack of faith in Nazareth, his home town, where he could only heal a couple of people because of their lack of faith;

‘He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And He was amazed at their lack of faith.’ Mark 6:5

The other time He was amazed, this time with joy, was when the Roman centurion told Him that there was no need for him to come to his house in order to heal his servant….’only say the word, and my servant will be healed’

The gospels then tell us; ‘When Jesus heard this He was astonished and said to those following Him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith”. Matthew 8:10

Jesus loved this and was amazed by it….isn’t that wonderful!

He gave us the capacity to be amazed, to wonder, to be surprised….why should He not have this capacity also.

Hearing those thoughts were very intriguing to me. Jesus had vieled himself of some of his devine perogatives. For example immortality was vieled so that he could die. He also vieled his knowledge of several future events. He was told Lazurus was ill however he knew when lazurus was dead. He could read the hearts and minds of many yet he asked questions on occasion. He eluded the grasp of religious leaders on some occasions but not in gethesmene. He created fish and bread for 5k but asked for water from the well.

For example Jesus could have healed himself on the cross as they were driving the nails in he could have blinded them etc. As satan said (when tempting Jesus) he could have brought down an army of angels. He voluntarily gave his life on the Cross I think this was of great import. If Christ availed himself of all of his devine gifts all of the time I thinke we’d have a very different Jesus.
Curious as to what someone’s thoughts would be on this:



(Genesis 6:6,7) – “And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7And the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”






Genesis 18:17-33

17(A)The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham (B)what I am about to do,

18since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him (C)all the nations of the earth will be blessed?

19“For I have (D)chosen him, so that he may (E)command his children and his household after him to (F)keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham (G)what He has spoken about him.”

20And the LORD said, “(H)The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.

21“I will (I)go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

22Then (J)the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before (K)the LORD.

23Abraham came near and said, “(L)Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?

24“Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it?

25“Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not (M)the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”

26So the LORD said, “(N)If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.”

27And Abraham replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but (O)dust and ashes.

28“Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the whole city because of five?” And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”

29He spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it on account of the forty.”

30Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

31And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.”

32Then he said, “(P)Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.”

33As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham (Q)the LORD departed, and Abraham returned to his place.








Exodus 32The Golden Calf

1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods [a] who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, [b] O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD.” 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. [c] Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.

7 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

9 “I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. “O LORD,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’ ” 14 Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.



10 Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: 11 ‘I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.’29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.’






“Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord, and the Lord changed His mind about the misfortune which He had pronounced against them? But we are committing a great evil against ourselves,” (Jer. 26:19).





2 Chronicles 33:10-1310 The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the LORD brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.

12 In his distress he sought the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13 And when he prayed to him, the LORD was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD is God.





Jonah 3Jonah Goes to Nineveh

1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. 4 On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.

Jonah 3:10 – “When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.”

There are, of course, many other example besides this that could be brought up, but I was wondering what anyone thought of this. Is it possible for God to change His mind on things……& moreover, is it possible that through our actions man can influence God in certain decisions He does……or can He not change how He works with people throughout history?

Moreover, if Scriptures seems to indicate that prayer/actions can MOVE THE HEART OF GOD, then is it not possible that he can perhaps be surprised……..EVEN IF HE IS GOD & KNOWS ALL THAT WILL HAPPEN BEFORE IT HAPPENS?

Some links (cannon fodder) to consider:








The above one here deals with the issue of HOSEA, which is A PERFECT ILLUSTRATION OF GOD’S CHANGING OF EMOTIONS TOWARD HIS PEOPLE…..


The above one probably’s the most relevant, as it deals with the Book of Ezra & displaying God moving on people’s hearts, as well as remaining FAITHFUL TO HIS PROMISES EVEN THOUGH ISRAEL WAS UNFAITHFUL TO HER’S……



Also, for a interesting viewpoint on the subject:



Does God Change His Mind?“Does God change His mind?” Several factors must be considered.
First, God is immutable, unchanging in His person, His perfections, His purposes, and His promises.

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? (Numbers 23:19).

And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind, for He is not a man that He should change His mind (I Samuel 15:29, cf. also Psalm 33:11; 102:26-28; Hebrews 1:11-12; Malachi 3:6; Romans 11:29; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17).

Second, there are passages in which God “appears” to change His mind.
And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them, and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation. So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people (Exodus 32:9-10,14).

When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God repented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it (Jonah 3:10).
The Lord changed His mind about this. ‘It shall not be,’ said the Lord. The Lord changed His mind about this. ‘This too shall not be,’ said the Lord God (Amos 7:3,6).

Third, in those cases where God “appears” to change His mind, one or more of these considerations may apply:

a. The expression, “God repented” is an anthropomorphism, that is, a description of God which likens God’s actions to man’s. How else can man understand then by thinking of God in human terms and comparisons? God’s ‘change of mind’ may only be the way it looks from man’s perspective. In both Genesis 22 (cf. verses 2, 11-12) and Exodus 32, that which God proposed was a test. In both cases, His eternal purpose did not change.

b. In cases where either judgment or blessing are promised, there may be an implied or stated condition. The message preached by Jonah to the Ninevites was one such instance:

Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’ Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat on the ashes. And he issued a proclamation and it said, ‘In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent, and withdraw His burning anger so that we shall not perish?’ (Jonah 3:4-9).

What the Ninevites hoped for Jonah knew for a fact. They cried for mercy and forgiveness in case God might hear and forgive. When the Ninevites repented and God relented, Jonah was hopping mad:
But it greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, ‘Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore, in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.’ (Jonah 4:1,2).

Jonah knew God to be loving and forgiving. The message he preached implied one exception. If Nineveh repented, God would forgive them. This is what Jeremiah had written, saying,
At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it (Jeremiah 18:7-10).

c. While God’s decree cannot be altered, we must grant that God is free to act as He chooses. While God’s program may change His purposes do not, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).

God promised to bring His people into the land of Canaan. Due to their unbelief the first generation did not possess the land, but the second generation did. When Jesus came He offered Himself to Israel as the Messiah. Her rejection has made possible the offer of the gospel to the Gentiles. Nevertheless, when God’s purposes for the Gentiles have been accomplished, God will once again pour out His grace and salvation upon the Jews. God’s program changes, but not His purposes (cf. Romans 9-11).

d. While God’s will (His decree) cannot and does not change, He is free to change His emotions. Genesis 6:6-7 describes the response of God to human sin. Grief is love’s response to sin. God is no stoic; He is a person Who rejoices in men’s salvation and obedience, and Who grieves at unbelief and disobedience. While the purpose of God for mankind never changed, His attitude did. Surely a Holy God must feel differently about sin than about obedience. That is the point of verses 6 and 7. God is grieved about man’s sin and its consequences. But God will accomplish His purposes regardless. While such a state was ordained from eternity past, God could never rejoice in it, but only regret man’s wickedness and willfulness.

A similar illustration is the emotional response of our Lord in the garden of Gethsemane (cf. Matthew 26:36ff). The Lord Jesus had in eternity past, purposed to go to the cross to purchase man’s salvation. Yet when the moment for His agony drew near He dreaded it. His purpose did not change, but His emotions did.


Proverbs 18:15 Hopefully, this’ll stir up good conversation on the issue……..& to those who may think it to be a meaningless excercise, keep this in mind:

He is such a paradox, He is unchanging in His nature, His purposes will not be swerved as your examples demonstrate, and yet He chooses to interact with us, to have relationship with us and how can relationship be real unless each involved can affect the other, even if one of the party is God!

And He does choose to be affected by us ……..the very nature of conversation, of discourse, implies cause and effect, one reponding to the other, being affected by the other.

Because of Ninevah’s repentance He overturns His decision to destroy them…..He ‘hunts’ down Jonah, one grumpy, self centred little man who is sitting above the city waiting for the fireworks of God’s wrath to begin, in order to personally teach him the values beyond justice and retribution…those of mercy and compassion.

They have the strangest, sweetest conversation as Jonah condemns God, not praises Him, for abounding in mercy and being slow to anger. God explains to him, and maybe to us here in our discussion, why He chose to change His mind regarding the Ninevites…..love and compassion.

It’s like trying to count the stars….puts your mind in a spin. We are…….finite creatures trying to comprehend a finite God; it’s great fun, one of my favourite pastimes but only so long we realise that ultimately it will still be mystery to us.


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