This article is just one in a long series addressing questions posed by agnostic blogger Larry Simons in his article entitled, 31 Questions Christians Can’t Answer. For the rest of series click here. Enjoy!
10. Why did God create mankind at all if in Genesis God said He was sorry He created them?
Here’s the relevant passage:
“So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.” Genesis 6:6 NLT
I think it’s interesting to note that up to this point all of the questions assume the existence of God. The questions are of His power or character not His existence. With all due respect to Mr. Simons the questions are not that much higher level than the ones my wife or boss ask me about my own personal decisions from time to time. They almost all amount to, “why did you…” or, “why didn’t you…” or “how can you be ______ if you do [or don’t do] __________.” How I answer those questions may reveal undesirable parts of my character, but they will never wipe out my existence.
Logically speaking this specific criticism is especially problematic. Let’s flip it on it’s head and assume that God had considered making mankind, seen the future stretch out before Him, seen the atrocities we would commit, and decided against it. Who would be around to question that decision? The only decision that is questionable is the decision that leads to the question!
Now, dealing more specifically with the question as it is asked, what we are dealing with here is God’s emotional response to the behavior of mankind. It’s less “I wish you never existed” and more “what you’ve done with the gift of existence I gave you is the furthest thing from what I wanted for you.” True some translations and paraphrases do use the word “repented” in place of the phrase “was sorry” but the Hebrew word used in the passage is naham, it denotes a kind of regret that is universally in response to man’s actions in opposition to God’s desires for him. Go back to Free Will = God’s Will for more information on how our free will interacts with God’s will.
The type repentance we experience over our decisions and actions is represented in the Hebrew scriptures by the word shub, which literally means “to turn”. Notice the difference is emotion versus action. Interestingly, the action on God’s part that His sorrow leads Him to (the flood) is not in question here. Why not? Perhaps the questioner should reexamine his motives in asking this and all of his questions to find where his real objections lie.
Housekeeping note: You may have noticed a change in the titling for this post from previous ones that were titled “Questions Christians Can’t Answer #__” I was never very happy with that title, but went with it while I came up with something more desirable. In the next week or so I will be going back and retitling them all. They will all continue to carry the parenthetical QCCA to help readers identify them as part of the larger series, and I have also created a subcategory under apologetics by the same name to keep them seperated from everything else. Let me know what you think.