Gen 1:31 (KJV)

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Gen 6:6 (KJV)

And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart

The heart of the accusation seems to stem from the literal interpretation of the language. The first passage suggests that God is satisfied in his works while the second suggest that God is dissatisfied with his works. How should each of the scriptural passages be interpreted in light of each other and within their own context?

The specific translation used here isn't necessarily the translation that must be used.

I know that this question could be applicable to the Bible Heuristics site, and if the nature of answers suggests that to be the best approach I will move it there.

  • The heart of the accusation -- what accusation?
    – Flimzy
    Apr 13, 2014 at 16:19
  • @Flimzy The accusation is that the two passages are self-contradictory and reason to discard the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. Apr 13, 2014 at 16:20
  • 1
    I see no contradiction between these verses. Also, a tiny minority of Christians hold a strict "biblical inerrancy" view.
    – Flimzy
    Apr 13, 2014 at 16:21
  • 3
    That's not what the verses say. The first verse says he was satisfied with creation. The second verse says that after men rebelled, he was dissatisfied. I suppose you could pull in the whole omniscience thing and ask "Didn't God know men would rebel?" but that question has already been answered on this site.
    – Flimzy
    Apr 13, 2014 at 16:37
  • 3
    What God created was good, especially mankind--free moral agents with the capacity to love. Inherent in the capacity to love is to capacity to reject. Their choice was wrong, but having choice and freedom is certainly good.
    – Narnian
    Apr 15, 2014 at 18:25

2 Answers 2


The answer to your question is really quite simple. God said that what He created was very good indeed (or really good, or better than good) prior to the fall of man and woman.

With the fall of our first parents, both they and the world they inhabited were spoiled permanently. Paul wrote that

". . . the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now" (Romans 8:20-22 NASB Updated Version).

That spoliation became worse and worse, to the point where God "repented" of His having created humans in His image. Remember, the Bible tells us that humanity had become so depraved that

". . . every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (6:5).

Think of the "absolute" terms in that verse:

  • every intent

  • only evil

  • and evil continually

This may sound flip, but if I were God, I would've wanted to

". . . 'blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.'"

The good news, however, comes in verse 8, which is certainly a pivotal verse in Genesis:

"BUT Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD."

In conclusion, what God created good, man spoiled. There is no contradiction between these two facts.

Take a homely analogy. Cancer is ravaging a person's intestinal tract. The only recourse is to remove the cancerous intestines and transplant into the body of the cancer patient the healthy intestines from an organ donor who has just died. Is the transplant cruel or unfair, or does it contradict the Hippocratic Oath in any way? Of course not. Out with the diseased body part, and in with the healthy body part, to give the cancer survivor a new lease on life. He or she will still die, but their life could be extended for many years.


Most Christians regard God as omniscient and therefore able to know the future, in which case it should not be possible for God to be satisfied with his creation of man, knowing that later he would repent that he made man on earth.

Some Christians do accept that the Bible is not necessarily inerrant, and my answer will be consistent with this point of view. As many Christians know, the Documentary Hypothesis holds that the first creation account, in Genesis 1:1-2:4a, was written by a different source (now known as the Priestly Source) than the second creation story, in Genesis 2:4b-25, and much of the material that follows in Genesis (the source now known as the Yahwist, or 'J' Source). Material attributed to the Yahwist includes Genesis 6:5-8, in which God repents of his creation.

If the two passages were written independently by two different sources, then it is reasonable for them sometimes to appear to contradict each other.

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