Questions About God

Question: Where did God come from?

The basic answer to this question is that God did not come “from” anything or anywhere. God’s statement about Himself is that HE IS — a statement of His all-encompassing existence. See Exodus 3:14; Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8.

This question may be asking the question, “Who made God?” And again the simple answer is that no one made God. He has always existed. He is eternal which means He has no beginning and no end. Because He had no beginning, He did not need to be made.

I know that’s hard for us to understand, because everything we see around us had a beginning. But God had no beginning. See Isaiah 40:28. We must understand that God’s eternal nature transcends time and space. See Colossians 1:17; 1 Timothy 1:17; Psalm 90:2. His Existence, to express it from a human perspective, is from everlasting past to everlasting future. So God always has been, is right now, and always will be. He is eternal.

Question: Why does God declare what He will do and then allows His mind to be changed by appeals from David, Solomon, etc.?

What this question is addressing is the immutable nature of God. Immutable means unchanging over time and unable to be changed. God does not change. See Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29. So how do we reconcile the immutability of God with an event in Scripture when it appears as though He does change His mind? Biblical Example — Exodus 32.

If anyone were to change his mind, it must be because new information has come to light that was not previously known, or the circumstances have changed that require a different kind of attitude or action. Now, if God changed His mind, it cannot be because He has learned some bit of information that He did not previously know, for God knows all (Ps. 147:5). Therefore, it must be because the circumstances have changed that require a different attitude or action. But, if the circumstances have changed, it is not necessarily the case that God has changed His mind. It may simply be the case that, since the circumstances have changed, God’s relationship to the new circumstances are different because they have changed, not God. 

See Exodus 32:9-10. When Israel was at the foot of the mountain engaged in idol worship, God told Moses that His anger was burning against them and He was prepared to destroy them in judgment. However, when Moses interceded for them, the circumstances were changed. God’s attitude toward sin is always anger, and His attitude toward those who call to Him is always an attitude of mercy. See Exodus 32:11-14.

When Moses said that God relented, it was a figurative way of describing that Moses’ intercession successfully changed the relationship of the people to God. He brought the nation under the mercy of God’s grace, and out from under the judgment of God. God does not change, neither His mind, His will, nor His nature.

Question: Can you speak to the apparent Scriptural conflicts between the portrayal of God as all-knowing (ahead of time, what will happen) vs. God as being surprised or disappointed about Israel’s rebellious behavior (such that he grieved ever creating them)?

See Genesis 6:5–8. We also see examples of the “Lord’s regret” with Israel (golden calf in Exodus , 12 spies) and with making Saul king (1 Sam 15:28-29). The grief and pain of human sin was not felt only by humankind. God himself was grieved by the sin of humankind.

As a personal, relational Being, God’s activity in the world is subject to change and allows for all the same dynamics we have in our personal relationships. There was always bound to be conflict in covenantal history between God and human beings, but this does not mean there is conflict within God’s Himself. As God’s ways appear to us, there will be change and variation, but as God is in his character and essence there can be no variation of shadow due to change (James 1:17; Mal.3:6; Heb. 13:8; 2 Tim. 2:13).

When God reflects on the disobedience of his creation, he uses a word that makes sense to us: the word “regret.” But this doesn’t mean God was ignorant about their propensity to sin or caught off guard by their rebellion. 

As John Piper points out, God is quite capable of lamenting a state of affairs he himself foreknew and brought about (parenting example). In other words, God’s regret is not comparable in every way to our regret. God can look at His creation and say “I’m grieved that they sinned; I regret that I made them” while still maintaining, “I never change my mind.”

It is the nature of our covenantal relationship with God to know God as one who responds and reacts, which ought to appear to us all the more amazing because it is the nature of our covenant keeping God never to lie, repent, or change his mind (Num. 23:19).