Does God Make Mistakes? What About His Statement in Genesis 6?

Genesis 6 is not an easy passage to understand. It might lead some to think God can make mistakes. This 1-minute devotion explains it biblically.

How can we understand this passage:

“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, 'I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.' But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:5-8 

How can a perfect God regret something He did? Did He make a mistake?

God is not like man, so the Bible uses figures of speech that help us understand Him with our finite minds.(1) 

In this passage, God isn't admitting a mistake—He's expressing His deep grief over mankind's sin. Our disobedience grieves our perfect, holy, loving God (Ephesians 4:30)

Before the Flood, mankind had become completely evil. Noah was the only righteous man alive.(2)

If others had repented, they'd have been saved. We know this because later in history God stopped his plan to destroy Nineveh because the whole city repented (Jonah 3).

God's grace is big enough to forgive the worst of sinners if they repent (Romans 5:20).  

Our perfect God never makes mistakes. We can completely trust in His wisdom and His grace (Proverbs 3:5-6).


Genesis 6 is not an easy passage to understand. It might lead some to think God can make mistakes. This 1-minute devotion explains it biblically.
For a similar question see: Does God Change His Mind?

(1) These are called “anthropopathisms” when human emotions are ascribed to non-human beings or objects. 

(2) Were Noah's family members as evil as the rest of mankind? Did God only include them on the ark so the human race could survive? In Genesis 7:1, it says "The LORD then said to Noah, 'Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation." The Hebrew word used for "you" in this verse is singular and masculine, so this statement does not call Noah's family righteous. Scripture does not tell us about the moral state of Noah's family. But most people assume they were not as righteous as Noah, yet they were not as evil as the rest of the culture.

Bible Love Notes 


  1. Hi, I can understand God wanting to eradicate all humans in this verse, but why the animals? They are innocent.

    1. Hi Ian,
      Good question.
      I can't give you an answer from Scripture, but let me offer these two insights:
      1. God could have saved all of the animals because He can do anything. But in His infinite wisdom He thought it was best to use a flood and only spare two of each specie.

      2. Animals do not have a soul like people do. They are a wonderful part of God's creation, but they are not made in His image. You can see that in the creation story in Genesis. They were placed on earth for our benefit. Modern man sometimes considers animals equal to man, but that's not God's value system.

      I hope that helps. I know it's not an answer, but one day God can explain it all to us (1 Cor. 13:12).

    2. Hi Gail, I admit that I am a big animal lover, do you think we will have animals in heaven? Also more specifically what are your thoughts on pets we have lost, will God allow us to be reunited with them in eternity?

    3. Hi Heidi,
      I can't give you an answer from Scripture, but I think we will have animals in heaven because we serve a creative God who enjoys making animals. He could have created our world without animals or He could have created 5-10 types of animals, but He created a huge variety of animals and birds and sea creatures.

      Revelation 4:11 says, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

      And I believe this about beloved pets we have on earth: We don't know they will be with us in eternity, but neither do we know they will not be with us, so there's nothing wrong with believing they will be with us. When we get to heaven, if we're wrong and they aren't there, we won't care b/c we will be seeing Jesus face-to-face and nothing more will matter.

      Eternity will be perfect, so there will be nothing that we miss when we are there.