Can God make a mistake?

This one my brother actually brought up. Instinctively(Thanx to Religious Studies) I said no, when he brought up the though:

If God can’t make a mistake, then what about Lucifer? If God can’t make a mistake, then why did He create Lucifer? Surely He should’ve known that Lucifer would Fall, afterall God is well, God. So I was wondering what people’s opinions are regarding this debate. Can God make a mistake and why(not)?

Also, for those who don’t believe in God, please don’t say “He can’t because he doesn’t exist”. We all know your position, what I want to know is the opinions of those who’ve decided there is a God. I thank you all not to wreck this debate for those of us who’d actually like to debate it. Thank you.

In what way is Lucifer a mistake, exactly? Granted, I don’t understand why God would create a world that has any evil in it at all, except that evil supposedly comes from man and not God, but when you come down to it, do angels not have freedom or something? Can they not choose their path same as man is able to?

Can God make a mistake? Hell, yes.

This is an old George Carlin joke:

If God is all powerful can He create a stone so heavy even He Himself can’t lift it?!?

Is your god the same infallible god that most Christians believe in?

If so, then I’d say he can’t make a mistake, unless my understanding of the word infallible is way off.

Jesus called Lucifer/Satan “the Great Temptor.”

Without temptation, we would hardly ever do anything different.

If we never did anything different, Life-on-Earth would be boring for God.

So Lucifer was not a mistake.

George Carlin’s great-grandfather probably told that riddle.

The Satan, as originally conceived by pre-Exilic Israelites, appears to have been the angel charged with testing humanity – the idea of free will being something we may want to get into in another thread, but the basic question being, will one stay in allegiance to God and “righteous” under temptation to do otherwise? He was, effectively, God’s Q.C. department.

Probably under the influence of the Zoroastrian conception of Angra Mainyu (Ahriman), the “evil god” of their dyarchic theology, this conception turned to that of an archangel in rebellion against God and trying to lure as many away from Him as possible.

But, bottom line, under either conception, and if he is in fact real, he operates under God’s sufferance. God could by fiat remove all his powers, whatever they may be, or completely annihilate him.

I think the basic O.P. question is one of those that appear quite sane but end up being of the same nature as “How high is up?” The question of whether God can make a mistake depends on who defines “mistake”. Under the idea that “the King can do no wrong” (seriously raised with reference to the British monarchy over in GQ recently), then clearly He cannot. However, if one arrogates to oneself the definition of “mistake,” then clearly He can by your definition. However, as between a fallible human’s concept of what constitutes a mistake and His own, I think any sane human who first presumed the proposition of God’s actual existence, omniscience, and omnipotence would opt for His definition. (I.e., if you deny the existence of God, the entire question is meaningless, on a par with a serious discussion as to whether the Invisible Pink Unicorn favors clover or timothy as fodder; if you for the sake of argument allow it and also His omniscience and omnipotence, then I’d say you have to favor His definition of “mistake” over anyone else’s.)

By whose standards do we determine what is and what isn’t a mistake?

By God’s standard(s) only do we determine what is and what is not a mistake. If you know God, and if God is willing, then you might also know the standards–provided you can understand them. :slight_smile:

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In the ancient meso-American tradition, there is a higher level of testing than temptation: Trickery. While we hailing from the Europe/Asia/Africa religions look to Loki/Satan/Lucifer as the tempting-type of tester, the ancient meso-Americans worried about the Trickster.

As a concrete example: Many, if not most, of us are tempted to buy a car when we don’t need a new one, but we usually overcome that temptation. Yet a half-way decent auto-salesman can easily** trick** us into the unneeded purchase.

When the Aztexans came south from the Sonoran desert, they tricked the locals in the Mexico-City region into letting them stay. A century later the Aztexans began to conquer the Mexican city-states, one after the other.

The Mexicans were rescued from the Aztexans by the Spaniards under Cortez–then the Spaniards tricked Aztexans and Mexicans alike into submission.

Long Island was bought by trickery.

The Trickster makes the Temptor/Satan/Lucifer look like a lightweight. :frowning:

Wasn’t Loki actually a trickster rather than a temptor? If so: My error.

And: Did I type "Aztexans? Ach! Of course I meant “Aztecans.” :slight_smile:

Good point, Parameter. I’ll bet Sister Coyote will be along shortly to address it more thoroughly than I could.

Actually, Polycarp, I had hoped that you could address the trickster issue–since my knowlege is surface-level and I suspected that yours would be in-depth. I wanted to know more about the various levels of testing procedures in place to test humanity.

Is there really a Sister Coyote who is an ancient meso-American religious expert or were you being sarcastic? I sincerely hope that it is the former.

She is herself a follower of Coyote, a Neopagan with a vast knowledge of Christian ethics who seems to be a boundless source of accurate information on the improbable questions that come up around here. She’s also an online friend of long standing and one of the people I most respect around here. Since she has to my certain knowledge studied extensively into the Trickster motif in Native American belief and mythology, I defer to her. (I’m surprised she hasn’t been around Great Debates recently.)

I’m taking a class that requires us to read parts of the Hebrew Bible (aka The Old Testament) and I came across this verse that has intrigued me in regards to this question:

The word of the Lord then came to Samuel: “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from Me and has not carried out My commands.” (I Samuel 15:10-11)

Here’s the same verse as found in my KJV:

Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments.

I’m sure I’m not the first person in the history of the world to notice this, but I find the use of “regret” and/or “repenteth” interesting. If we accept that everything in the Bible is 100% historically true, then God apparently did regret choosing Saul to be king over the Israelites. What is regret if not an admission of somebody’s mistake? In this case, God picked him. It’s God’s mistake.

Or not?

(Of course this can also get into the issue of whether or not “regret” and “repenteth” have been properly translated over the years…but then that would imply that God is letting people read a corrupted text that purports to represent Him.)

Or not?

I’m certainly not a Biblical scholar - I hope my post doesn’t come off as sounding smug. I would be interested in hearing what others would say. And if this qualifies as a hijack then please ignore and accept my apologies. :slight_smile:

This also involves the notion of prayer…that petitioning God for something can in some way ‘change His mind’ about the advisability of an action.
For example, say I ask God to smite my neighbour. Let’s assume he wasn’t going to give the neighbour a hard time before I asked, but after listening to my moans and my sincere prayer, He decides that a good smiting would be the better course of events.
Now this indicates that God did NOT know what was ‘best’ in the first place, because He has chosen a different action because of ‘new information’ (in this case, my prayer to smite neighbour).
So my belief is that, for God to be able to ‘change his mind’ means that his prior state of mind involved a ‘mistake’ or at least a misconception.
Now please note, this involves ‘petitioning’ prayer rather than just ‘I reckon you’re a grouse bloke’ - type prayer.
So either God is NOT omnipotent (because he changes his mind)(therefore can make a mistake) or prayer is pointless (because nothing you say will make any difference to what God has planned for you anyway!

It is all really simple. Gods are only products of MYTHOLOGY and the evidence that supports them is the product of someones personal expression of faith towards one of these mythological Gods. Their writings and or teachings is usually littered with flaws.

By the way…which god are you referring to

Attempting to extend Polycarp’s argument:

If the Supreme Deity in question is truly omniscient, equivalent to seeing the full sequence of history all at once, then it is difficult to see how a rational being could do something and then regret it. (At the same time, S/He could have compassion for the afflicted.)

But omniscience, omnipotence, omnibenevolence and the existence of evil are jointly exclusive, IMHO.

Given that, there is the possibility that the Creator does not have the capabilities accorded with “true omniscience”. And if that is the case, then it is conceivable that the Deity might desire to do things differently, if it was able. Hence, “oops” may be part of the celestial vocabulary.

But, I don’t necessarily think that the creation of Lucifer would be an example of error. Never mind el-Satan of the Book of Job (that guy was a damn competent D.A. :slight_smile: )

God put the knees on flamingos backwards and the beaks upside-
down…they have to eat with their heads upside down between
their feet!

Almost all serial killers are white guys.

I have a few more, but they’re too P.I.

Yeah, and I’ve quipped that originally Genesis read “… and on the Seventh Day God created the platypus, and when He saw what He had done, He decided it was time for a rest.”

As with all of us, Saul was created with “Free Will.” The mistake was not God’s for placing Saul in Command, but Saul’s–for bungling the job. :slight_smile: