Can God change His mind?

In the book of Jonah, God tells Jonah to go preach to the Ninevites that in 40 more days, Nineveh will be destroyed due to their wickedness. Eventually, he goes and preaches, Nineveh repents, and God doesn’t destroy them. Some people take that to mean that God, since He clearly changed His mind, is just like a human being, rather than all-powerful or unchangeable or anything else that Christians usually consider God. Or that He’s just wish-washy. How do we answer that?


Imagine a plant. How does it receive the sun’s rays? As good, as something helping it grow. Now imagine the same plant but the roots don’t have any water. How does it receive the sun’s rays? As death, as destruction.


The sun’s rays are the same, but the plant receives them different. From the plant’s perspective, the sun has changed, when in reality the plant is the one that changed.


The same is true of the city of Nineveh: when it persisted in wickedness, it made itself God’s enemy and so God’s action was one of wiping it out, cleansing the world of its evil. But when it repented, God’s (same) action towards it was now one of nurturing and growth. God’s action, like the sun’s rays, didn’t change, but Nineveh changed and thus received it differently.

From Nineveh’s perspective, God changed His mind, but really God was the same throughout.

We are like Nineveh

The same is true for each of us: we are like Nineveh, we are like the plant. God is eternal and unchangeable, pouring out His love (the sun’s rays) on all of us (all the plants). But, depending on how we are, we can receive those rays as something for growth or something for destruction.

One thing that sets us apart from plants is that we can choose whether our roots are in water or not. The water is there, but we can reject it. (hint: God provided the water, but doesn’t force us to accept it)

Accepting that water is repentance, and once we do, we no longer experience the sun’s rays as harsh but as life.

It’s not God who’s changed His mind, but rather us.


P.S. Be a hero today.

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