How to make god ?change his mind


Another opportunity has presented itself for us to have fun in this series where I bring to light the kind of spurious arguments apologists use to defend their god, make him look both good and rational but which all fall flat face. As I have said before, I grant the brother right of reply.

I think anyone who in this day and age believes in the doctrines of John Calvin, to the extent that he[Calvin] supported the killing and burning at the stake of Dr. Severtus, this person is not a friend of man and further that this person could willingly participate in the Inquisition if one were to be held today believing if god was to damn a non-believer eternally there would be no problem causing the same person untold pain and suffering down here. This is the making of a fiend. I have no doubt that the brother is a kind person trying his best to make sense of the world, I believe he is better than his creed. I can’t respect his creed, I can’t support his creed that says man is born depraved and that the greatest percentage of men are to be damned for no fault of their own. No man should be made to believe that he doesn’t have evidence for. Let reason reign, let men be free to soar the skies like eagles, let every man be his priest and king. And most of all, let us stop believing in superstition.

Let all men work to remove the doctrine of hell from the pulpit, let us convert churches to libraries and theatres. Let the pastors, ministers, bishops and priests become teachers of things natural. There are no ghosts, holy or otherwise, concerned with how we live our lives. Let make this life the best. If we live a good life here, should there be another life elsewhere, we will just make it as good as what we had here. Besides my late mother has not come to tell me stories of another life or even my grandmother who loved me and as such I entertain no such hope of resurrection.

You’ve  probably come across those passages in the Bible where God changes His mind after a prophet intercedes for the Israelites. Maybe you’ve even been part of discussions about how to reconcile such passages with those other passages that explicitly say God does not repent, or change His mind. Two common solutions have been proposed. Most liberals and open theists have settled for a smaller God, a God whose will conforms to ours. They have settled for a God who reacts to new information. A God whose actions are determined by our “free will”An Arminian God, if you like. But others have sought to preserve God’s sovereignty in the face of this apparent contradiction. And the most common solution to the puzzle can be summarized in these words by R. C. Sproul:

I have come across many of such verses like where Abe tries to talk god out of destroying Soddom and Gomorah, where Moses tells god to stop acting stupid and so on and I have no problem reconciling these apparent contradictions. I know the bible is work of different men, writing at different times and there was never and can never be any room for supernatural inspiration. Try reading the bible just like you would have no need for any solution. And please don’t bring free will into the discussion! I must add too that this problem exists to the theist since he/she has not been able to coherently define what they mean by the word god. Any other attempts at explaining contradictions in scripture or between religious beliefs result from this core problem.

“I think that what we have here is the mystery of providence whereby God ordains not only the ends of things that come to pass but also the means. God sets forth principles in the Bible where he gives threats of judgment to motivate his people to repentance. Sometimes he spells out specifically, “But if you repent, I will not carry out the threat.” He doesn’t always add that qualifier, but it’s there. I think this is one of those instances. It was tacitly understood that God threatens judgment upon these people, but if somebody pleads for them in a priestly way, he will give grace rather than justice. I think that’s at the heart of that mystery.”

What this makes of such a god is that he does poorly at persuasion. Any time you have to resort to threats or intimidation then your position is weak. I also think the priests were taking advantage of the ignorant masses just the same way as ignorant masses take this statement as a solution to a contradiction.

I noticed that ALL the passages in which God repents have to do with God’s wrath and God’s punishment of sin. He is always repenting from punishing the Israelites for their sins, upon intercession or mediation. For instance:

“Thus the Lord God showed me, and behold, the Lord God was calling to contend with them by fire, and it consumed the great deep and began to consume the farm land. Then I said, “Lord God, please stop! How can Jacob stand, for he is small?” The Lord changed His mind about this. “This too shall not be,” said the Lord God,” [Amos 7:4-6]

and

“Then the LORD relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.” [Exodus 32:14]

another one,

“Now therefore mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will relent of the disaster that he has pronounced against you.” [Jeremiah 26:13]

Am I missing something here. If I repent for doing harm, it only can mean one thing, I was wrong in the first instance. If my brother is willing to accept that god can be mistaken, we can remove the omniscience attribute from god[he never claimed it for himself anyway]. The verses presented here by the good brother cannot be used to qualify the attribute of all loving and all merciful even if he doesn’t carry out the threat. He intends to if something is not and such change can only be possible when we consider a sentient being not an infinite, timeless, formless and unchangeable god. So as I said in the beginning paragraphs, the theist must first define what he or she means by god before we deal with the matter of existence and then what god so defined can or can’t do!

On the other hand, I noticed that ALL the passages that speak of God never repenting or never-changing His mind have to do with God’s blessings, or God’s mercy and grace. For instance:

“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? Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it. [Numbers 23:19-20]

and this one,

“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent” [1 Samuel 15:29]

or this one,

“I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” [Malachi 3:6]

and in the New Testament,

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” [James 1:17]

Anyone please tell if you have ever met a man who repents for being merciful! Am waiting….. and am a patient guy 😀

Why this imbalance? Why is it that God only changes (or seems to change) His mind when it comes to punishing our sins but never seems to do so when it comes to blessing us? If Moses and other prophets like Amos could reason with God and convince Him to relent from punishing the Israelites, why couldn’t the sins of the Israelites and their disobedience cause the same change of heart concerning God’s promise of blessing? It is obvious  from the look of things that, people sin, God promises wrath, someone interceded, people repent, then God relents. But when God promises blessing, even when the people stray, His promises still stand. If it is indeed possible to change God’s mind, why can we only change His mind towards not cursing us and we seem not able to change His mind towards not blessing us?

The imbalance is easy to explain. The concept of god exist in your mind and you can adjust it to reflect your present circumstances. You can explain away anything always giving god a free pass while at the same time always seeing humanity as the ones ultimately responsible. Something else worth of note here is that to the Israelites, they thought that whenever they disobeyed god, bad things happened to them and that if only they could follow the commandments then god will bless them. Well, they tried this and sometimes they suffered more when they followed this commandments and it is this problem that the prophets writing later why trying to deal with in the apocryphal writings. They could no longer explain why things were the way they were and an explanation was needed. As I have told you in different posts before, the people writing these passages never said they were inspired by god, no they never made that claim, they wrote as they saw things happen. The passages were written after the event and not before.

The prophets[poets] could have been honest in their beliefs that they were the messengers of god, but they were mistaken. They were as deluded as today’s priests, pastors and ministers who claim to speak for a god they can’t define and there adherents who believe this same god speaks to them, hears they crazy blubbers and wishes them well.

It is in this mysterious dichotomy that I found an amazing truth. And this truth lies in the conditions necessary for God to “change His mind.” If we look at the Old Testament, there were always five events that transpired in the cycle of God changing His mind. First, the people sinned. Secondly, God intended to punish their sin. Thirdly, a prophet interceded. Fourth, the people repented. Fifth, God relented. Does this cycle look familiar? Yes, it is the whole redemptive cycle that is at the heart of the biblical narrative. And this cycle in the old testament was only foreshadowing the ultimate cycle fulfilled in the New Testament: We are sinners, God intends to punish sin, Jesus intercedes, we believe and repent, God relents. The Gospel!

There is no truth here. You have just expounded a falsehood. If man sins, god[if we grant it existence] is ultimately responsible. He [for the purpose of this argument lets grant him existence] could have created a universe devoid of sin and made man without the ability to do sin. If he creates man defective, the problem must be laid where it rightfully belongs. If the theist is going to blame man for bad and give god a free pass, he worse than a hypocrite! God must be such an ineffective designer of anything, if he has to always correct his mistakes. It appears to me then that first programme he made was so full of bugs that there were not enough fixes to deal with all the security glitches that he resorted to using death as a means to an end. You can always bury your mistakes, ask doctors if you don’t believe me.

Do you want to change God’s mind? Then preach the Gospel.

Why would anyone rational being want to change the mind of that which does not exist? Is this not the height or credulity?

You see, we cannot look at sinners and then say that they are “almost” saved or on their way to salvation. The paradox of the grace is that we can tell unbelievers “you are headed to hell” without fearing that they could be among the elect; and when they get converted, we can talk to them as if they were always on their way to heaven.

There is no paradox here. It is credulity and ignorance at its highest. To even for a moment entertain the thought that someone is going to hell for not believing in a god when he no evidence to do so only goes so far as to show how one takes pride in seeing others suffer. As I have said before, if not all men are to be saved, then I prefer annihilation to hell. And if heaven can’t exist without hell, then there should be no heaven and I want it remembered that I defended against cruelty. No loving parent having the foreknowledge that their children would disobey them, creates them and then damns them. It is the work of a fiend, a cruel bastard, a monster! If the theists accept their god created hell many years in advance for the sole reason to damn me eternally, they must accept they are worshiping a fiend, an enemy of man and an irresponsible bastard!

This is the paradox of God changing His mind. At the cross, the passages about a God who changes His mind meet the passages about a God who never changes His mind. At the cross, God’s wrath against sin is expressed fully, with no repentance. At the cross, God’s mercy is expressed fully, with no repentance. At the Cross, God’s wrath and God’s mercy kiss.

I have said before this is wishful thinking. If the story of Adam and Eve is metaphor, the fall of man a metaphor it follows the cross is a metaphor and that Jesus if he existed died for a metaphor basically he was a fool.

And the most amazing thing happens. Sin is punished, sinners are forgiven, and God is glorified.

If gods do not exist, there can be no sin that is if sin is defined as an offense against god. We can’t sin against what doesn’t exist. There is no possible way such an eventuality can occur and this I say belongs to wishful thinking.

It may look like God’s mind has been changed, but it’s really our hearts which have been changed.

No such thing has happened. You have just convinced yourself of the impossible and the credulous!

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

16 thoughts on “How to make god ?change his mind

  1. ladysighs says:

    I read the title of your blog entry. Then I went back and read it again but stopped after the first 4 words.
    How to Make God?
    Before I can change a mind of a god, I must know the ingredients that went into it in the first place. A spoonful of superstition? A dose of delusion? A cup of misconception? A molecule of myth?

    Give me the recipe for a god and then I will go about tweaking its twisted mind. 🙂

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    • makagutu says:

      Well that is the same thought I had when I saw the post yesterday and I went wtf, he has a mind and we can alter it but this is before we are told what this god is!

      Like

  2. There are some verses that Judeo Christians use to claim their god is omniscient and omnipotent and omniscient: 1 John 3:19-20 Isaiah 46:9 Job 37:16 and more in Job when God is bragging. Isaiah 40:28 Jeremiah 23:24 1 Chronicles 28:9

    If this holds, then a god that tests, a god that can have its mind changed, etc makes no sense. A god that just plays around with humans like dolls, making them go through the motions like a little girl with toys, demonstrates that free will does not exist (I don’t think it does strictly either since we are limited by reality) is just a god that is doing no more than pleasuring itself.

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    • makagutu says:

      I agree with you, this god whatever it does, that is what is recorded in the good book shows he has sadistic tendencies, is a poor disciplinarian and programmer among many other failures and every time an apologist tries to make god look good, it gets worse.

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  3. john zande says:

    I am enjoying this more feisty side of you, Noel! Brilliant post.

    Like

  4. emmylgant says:

    “I think that what we have here is the mystery of providence “. How could it be any clearer? If it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t a mistake, or a conceptual error. No, no, no…. it’s a mystery. This way the gullible can cling to stupid.

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  5. “It may look like God’s mind has been changed, but it’s really our hearts which have been changed.”

    I hate when people use such nonsense as logic, usually with a smirk on their face like they’ve said something profound. Do they not realize that just because something sounds confusing doesn’t mean it’s intellectual.

    I can make this nonsense up too. “Just because we have never seen God doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist in all of us!” It’s not hard to make deep sounding nonsense. It’s also not useful in any way.

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    • makagutu says:

      It’s a christian apologist trying to make sense of the ridiculous by being ridiculous :-D. You have to give them some slack, it is impossible to explain the absurd.

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  6. aguywithoutboxers says:

    A very thoughtful essay and well researched. I appreciate your arguments. Christianity has historically held many contradictions. Thank you.

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  7. Awesome post. I think it is time that we all start openly stating what has been known for years: The Christian bible and other monotheistic holy texts are nothing more than failed attempts to convince people that a god can and does exist, further that the god is as accurately described in the texts that claims it exists.

    The Christian bible is a claim without evidence, brittle and failed. Those who pick it up and cherish it have lost their way and need guidance.

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    • makagutu says:

      You are right they need guidance and each of us can do the little we can to show them how misled they have been by the priests who tell them they speak for god and need offering, their parents who didn’t know better and to lead them to freedom of the mind.

      Like

  8. Debilis says:

    I hope it’s polite to interject a Christian response.

    Personally, I think that these are legitimate concerns. More Christians ought to be asking themselves these questions. I’d even say that this is a great argument against Biblical inerrancy (which I personally reject), even though it doesn’t show that its basic claims are false.

    For instance, I see no reason why the Bible supports the view that God could have created a world without any evil. The argument here gets to that conclusion by dismissing, rather than addressing, the free will defense.

    Nor does this passage address a sophisticated theory of divine punishment. It simply takes for granted some things that I would not accept.

    There are also statements (such as the closing remark) that assert the lack of truth of Christianity. Obviously, one is free to that position, but that would not be a rebuttal against the quoted passage, as it is arguing that there is no self-contradiction on these particular points, not that Christianity has been independently been shown to be true (that would be a completely different topic).

    It seems I’ve already gone too long, but I will add that I appreciated the thoughts. I definitely agree that these issues should be pointed out, and carefully thought through by all Christians.

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    • makagutu says:

      Debilis it’s polite and you can comment as many times as you want on any subject I write. You shouldn’t fear that it will be deleted.

      I can show you given time and space that most of the bible claims are false especially the main claims on which the Abrahamic religions are based. In this case all I wanted to show that the specific arguments used in the post were specious.

      I have addressed the question of free will on other posts and gone as far as showing that even if a god were to exist they would not have free will. I know there have been discourses about god creating a world with some evil or allowing some evil.

      My friend you see, you call it a sophisticated theory of divine punishment. It is apologists trying to make sense of a god that is present as being vengeful than merciful, jealous instead of contended and so many other human frailties. I need not address myself to that since it was not part of the original post but you are welcome to address it here and I will respond to it.

      No such thing has happened. You have just convinced yourself of the impossible and the credulous!

      If this is closing remark you are referring to, I would want you to show me how and where it is false. I will gladly change my position. I will assert here again there is no truth in christianity especially the claim that there is a god who created the universe, then created all that is within and without[if that were possible], that this god drowned the first few families for disobedience, that he sent his son to die for our sins, that this son after so dying resurrected and is seated at the right hand of god[a god that is said to be formless] and that this said son will come back. Now if you and me agree that those are the central tenets of christianity, then each of the claims can be shown to be false.

      We agree on one point though, that christians and theists in general need to be think through these and more questions and when that happens religion becomes untenable.

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