Does God have regrets? I have regrets but I am not God. Sometimes my regret is over something out of my control. If only I had more information at the time. God is never at a lack of information. I make selfish choices and many times that choice will hurt someone else. This will cause regret but does God make wrong decisions? The Bible states that God is sorry that he made mankind and that shocks me based on who I know God to be. God does not make mistakes. He is not surprised by anything. And God always does the right thing.
By the time we get to Genesis Chapter 6 the creation that God saw as good has become so evil and corrupted that God regrets that he had even made mankind. When I regret something, the underlying thought is that I made a mistake but that is not the case here. Regret is a form of disappointment. God is truly disappointed in the rebellion and evil of men. God is not regretting anything he has done. God is regretting the choices that men are making. He is sighing in sorrow at what we have done to what he created good. But this does not mean that God was wrong or that his plans are not to be accomplished just as he desires.
5 The Lord saw that the people on the earth were very evil. He saw that they thought only about evil things all the time. 6 The Lord was sorry that he had made people on the earth. It made him very sad in his heart. Genesis 6:5-6 ESV
The word used for sorry or regret in other translations means to breath strongly… a sigh. God has reached the end of what he can endure from man’s wickedness. God is prefect so his regret and sorrow are perfect also.
10 The kind of sorrow God wants makes people decide to change their lives. This leads them to salvation, and we cannot be sorry for that. But the kind of sorrow the world has will bring death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV
God’s sorrow and regret is a Godly sorrow that results in a change to the situation. Paul writes that when we in the world have sorrow it leads to death because worldly sorry does not lead to any kind of change. This kind of sorrow is depression and is it any wonder that depression seems to be a common issue for people living in this day and age. God’s sorrow on the other hand results in a change. He has put up with evil from men as long as his just nature will allow and his sorry sad heart signals a change in the situation. Judgment has arrived. Paul goes on to elaborate what Godly sorrow looks like.
11 You had the kind of sorrow God wanted you to have. Now see what that sorrow has brought you: It has made you very serious. It made you want to prove that you were not wrong. It made you angry and afraid. It made you want to see me. It made you care. It made you want the right thing to be done. You proved that you were not guilty in any part of that problem. 2 Corinthians 7:11 ESV
Godly sorrow makes one serious, angry, afraid, it makes one want to do the right thing, and it makes one care. One other thing is that it demonstrates that one is not guilty by being part of the problem. When God saw that the “people on the earth were very evil” it made him sorry with a Godly sorrow.
7 So the Lord said, “I will destroy all the people I created on the earth. I will destroy every person and every animal and everything that crawls on the earth. And I will destroy all the birds in the air, because I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah pleased the Lord. Genesis 6:7-8 ESV
God’s response to the evil before him is reflected in Paul’s description of Godly sorrow. God got very serious about the evil. God cares deeply about this creation and what is happening to it. God is angry and afraid at the evil that men have perpetrated and God knows that he cannot be made guilty by continuing to allow it to grow. God is not part of the problem caused by men. However, God is the only one who can address the problem. God’s sorrow leads to a Godly course of action that found a way to temper the evil of men.
Noah pleased God and Noah is a precursor to a future salvation found only in Jesus Christ. God’s sorrow at sin and evil lead him to a radical action of love. This is what Godly regret looks like.
6 Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV