Does God make mistakes?
Question: "Does God make mistakes?"
Answer: Make no mistake about it, God makes no mistakes. "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable" (Psalms 145:3). The original language for "unsearchable" incorporates the thought of not being possible to fathom or find out or enumerate. It is obvious that this statement cannot be made for one who could make a mistake, for then, even if only one mistake is made, it could be said that he were one who made at least one mistake; that is, his greatness could be quantified or enumerated as having been one who made one mistake, even if only one, and even if he were the only one who made only one.
"Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite" (Psalms 147:5). Again, the understanding of anyone capable of mistakes would be finite, not infinite. "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19). Here we see that God is not like man who makes mistakes and has afterthoughts leading to a change of mind, or that makes decrees that he later has to annul because he has not considered all the consequences, or that he lacks the infinite power to bring to pass that which he has said. Also, He is not like man whose mistaken and sinful morality begs retribution. "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5b). "The LORD is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all his works" (Psalms 145:17).
Perhaps someone would feign to find God having second thoughts about something He had done in the scripture: "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them" (Genesis 6:5-7). First, note that He did not say He would destroy all men, for in the next verse, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (Genesis 6:8). And so it followed that Jesus came through Noah's son, Shem. No, God had not discovered a mistake in His works, not at all. He had a high and lofty purpose in permitting for a time the expression of the sin of mankind and angels.
To be sure, He made no mistake in creating Satan either, for, "What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?" (Romans 9:22-24). "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:9-11).
You see, God made no mistake, but had a purpose in all of this and the outcome is no surprise to Him, for He declares the end from the beginning, "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isaiah 46:9-10).
A word about the word "repent" as used in scripture. This is important. When used of God, it incorporates according to original language the thought of grief, even compassionate grief, and consolation or comfort, and action taken thereupon. Yes, God felt suffering and grief on our behalf, but that is not a sign of weakness or error, or regret of mistake. Rather, it is a sign of strength, of love on behalf of another; yes, of Agape love. In a word, it portrays specific action taken by God to counteract our mistakes; that is, our sins. "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20b). When used of man, however, the word describes a change of heart, of thought and life's direction, based necessarily on the recognition of his own shortcomings, his sin, in the light of God's gracious call for his repentance for his own good.
Perhaps one may seem to think God has made a mistake in his or her own personal life's experiences. However, we are told, "... we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). In all this we must understand that the things of this life are expendable and are being spent for our eternal reward according to His grace who, "... is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 1:24). "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). I am so glad my Lord and my God makes no mistakes with my life.
There is no fault in our God; there are no mistakes He has made. There is no fault, no mistakes made by His Son. In all of Satan's desperate effort to disclose one single fault in Jesus, he utterly failed while even his stooge Pontius Pilate declared, "Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man" (Luke 23:4).
This has been a very short discourse which could go on forever, for we serve an infallible God whose greatness cannot be enumerated. "Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered" (Psalms 40:5). "Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all His praise?" (Psalms 106:2). Here again, in this rhetorical question the scripture challenges us, just dares us to even try to quantify or qualify the greatness of our God. Were we able to point out even one single mistake or fault of His we could put a qualifier on His greatness and this scripture could be repealed, but no worry, it stands forever. "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven" (Psalms 119:89).
Recommended Resources: Wrestling with God: How Can I Love a God I'm Not Sure I Trust? by James Denison and Logos Bible Software.
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