Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How about this?

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."

Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, "O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

"Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth'? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people.

"Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'"

So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.
How does that factor in?


Nathan Wells said...

Good question.

Here's some stuff I read:

"That leads to God’s offer to produce a new nation from M oses. Was His
offer to Moses a sincere offer? Gowan believes that Moses’ appeal to God’s solemn
oath to Abraham (32:13) is, “in a way, . . . a very weak argument, for God has
offered to start over with Moses, who is a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
and who could keep the line intact.”46 However, the matter is not that simple. Even
if God kept the Abrahamic line intact, it would still result in the repudiation of prior
divine revelation regarding the twelve tribes of Israel (cf. Genesis 49). Moses was
a member of the tribe of Levi. Therefore, if God were to begin again with Moses
alone, only the Levites would survive to fulfill the prophecies concerning them (Gen 49:5-7).

God’s suggestion to Moses could not have been something the Lord ever
intended to occur. If He did intend for it to happen, it would indicate either that He
forgot what He had previously declared about the tribes, or that His previous
prophecies were false and untrustworthy, or that Genesis 49 is an illegitimate
intrusion in the Scriptures. It is more logical and consistent to understand the divine
offer as a test intended to prepare Moses for the remaining 39 years of leading Israel
in the wilderness."

I think the bigger problem is not "how does prayer work and it appear that God changes" but rather "if God changes based on the will of a man then God is not God"

Do we really want what we will? Or do we want what God wants?

I pray for rain, you pray for sun - then what?


For the whole article:

Ben said...

1) So, when God says "I will make of you a great nation," to Moses, is he lying?

2) "I pray for rain, you pray for sun - then what?"

That is an argument against God being required to answer our prayers in the affirmative. Logically, we are talking about a different scenario:

a) You posit: God will never change his plans because of prayer.

b) I bring a counterexample: God says "I will do X"; Moses prays "Don't do X"; God "changes His mind."

If you sincerely hold to this passage being the true word of God, I don't really see the counter-argument you quoted as being a compelling one.

Nathan Wells said...

1) I think it has to do with the multiple levels of God's will - Like with Pharaoh. God commands Pharaoh to let Israel go, but then at the same time hardens his heart. Therefore the ultimate will of God is that Pharaoh not let the people go until God displays his glory in Egypt.

God's ultimate will cannot change. God can tell Pharaoh to let the people go and harden his heart at the same time.

God had already given promises to all twelve tribes of Israel - so starting over with Moses would be going back on his promise (as Moses refers to, that Israel would be a laughing stock).

"it is significant that six of the thirty times the Old
Testament speaks of God repenting or changing His mind emphasize that He does
not repent or change His mind (Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29; Jer 4:28; 20:16; Ezek
24:14; Zech 8:14)."

"Indeed, if
man is capable of changing the mind of God, then it might be argued that man knows
more about governing this world than God. However, God does know what He is
doing. The appearance of change is merely the fact that God had already planned to
“change” when His people have finally come to behave in the way He had
anticipated they would in response to His words and actions."

Nathan Wells said...

You're right about the rain example. I forgot to add that :)