CLAIM: In Genesis 6:6, we read, “The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” Boyd writes, “If the future is eternally settled in God’s mind and/or by God’s will, it is challenging to see how God could genuinely regret some of his decisions in light of how events played themselves out (Gen. 6:6–7; 1 Sam. 15:11, 35). How can you regret something that turns out exactly as you eternally knew it would?”
RESPONSE: The Hebrew word for “grieved” is nacham (pronounced nuh-HAM), which can also be translated as “consoling himself” (Gen. 27:42). Kaiser writes, “The root may well have reflected the idea of breathing or sighing, deeply. It suggests a physical display of one’s feelings –sorrow, compassion or comfort.” This word is used for God in a number of instances (Ex. 32:14; 1 Sam. 15:11; Jer. 26:3). Here in Genesis 6, God was tremendously affected by the evil and suffering on Earth. Therefore, this passage is not addressing the intellectual knowledge of God; it is addressing the emotional concern of God.