Professor Taylor Lewis wrote,
“[One] may know that a thing is, that it must be, though not how it is. So here, a moral necessity compels us to hold that there is such a region of the divine emotional, most intensely real,—more real, if we may make degrees, than knowledge or intellectuality—the very ground, in fact, of the divine personal being.” [John Peter Lange..Genesis (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI: 7th printing, 1980) Vol 1, Page 288]
This was scholarship’s reaction to the first 8 verses of Genesis 6. The story of [angelic beings? If, indeed these were] the “sons of God” finding human women irresistible and God’s repentance that led to the great flood. We could not even begin to explain such an extermination event on this basis, because we know that according to chapter 1 [Genesis 1:25} God provided for all life to propagate “after his kind” and here the text speaks of marriage in Genesis 6:2 “they took them wives.” If, however, we understand that godly men married worldly women, we could accept that intellectually because it follows a pattern [Numbers 31:15-16; Judges 21:14; 1 Samuel 2:22; 1 Kings 11:1; Ezekiel 13:18-19 NET].
So Professor Lewis did what I would do, resigning himself to the text. But what he accepts exclusively on faith alone is Genesis 6:6:
“It repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”
The word “repented” meant in Ancient Israel that God consoled Himself from the grief sinful humanity caused Him. The word “grieved” means simply that it hurt; “It vexed Him in His heart.” Here is not the place for a study in the passibility of God or His capability of feeling pain, physically or emotionally. Many scholars explain this away but this is simply resigning themselves to the fact that God’s pain is impossible to relate to . Yet, this does not mean that it was not (and is not) real—as the good professor said above. [Ephesians 4:30]. In both Testaments God grieves.
None of this says God regretted making man or creating the world and life, nor does it suggest that He had or ever would have changed His mind about His plans for us. Yet, who would have thought that we could in turn relieve God’s pain, as He did ours at Calvary, simply by repenting of our sin! Is there not a sense in which God’s grace not only deals with our suffering [the product of sin] but it also deals with God’s as well.
Can we live with the notion that God is impassible! It would be the height of selfishness to persist in sinning, yielding to temptations we could and should overcome because He overcame, excuse carnality as mere human failure, or resign ourselves in spiritual ignorance to the comforts of a life conformed to this world knowing this all along causes God grief? I submit that even believers are at times obliviously content living with a half-hearted commitment to what God gave His life to provide. This ought not be!
Our God is far more than what our theologies profile Him to be. It seems shortsighted to conclude that God is without feeling when everything He does for us is wholehearted [1 Corinthians 2:9]. He reveals things of Himself to those few who spend time enough with Him in prayer to observe a very personal side to our Creator/Savior God. That anyone would simply spend time with Him invokes His deep appreciation and gratitude which in and of itself radiates forth a divine blessing. God’s smile is never inconsequential, for even here, though unspoken, He not only gives us joy but He shares in it [Zephaniah 3:17].