Did God Change His Mind Because of Moses’ Intercession?

In verses 11-14 of Exodus 32, Moses seems to present an argument to God which changes God’s mind. Verse 14 says, “Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.” Is God actually changing his mind, the way human beings do, because Moses presented information to God which God did not know about?

This cannot be the case, because we know from many other verses in the Bible that God is omniscient (all-knowing), that God knows the past, present, and future. Therefore it is impossible that Moses taught God something. Nobody can teach God anything.

So how should we interpret God’s relenting in this passage? John Frame, in The Apologetics Study Bible explains:

For one thing, God states as a general policy in Jeremiah 18: 5-10 that if He announces judgment and people repent, He will relent; He will do the same if He pronounces blessing and people do evil. In other words, relenting is part of God’s unchanging plan, not a change forced on Him by His ignorance.

Further, God is not only transcendent (beyond our experience) but also immanent (involved in our experience). He has dwelled on earth in the tabernacle and temple, in Christ, and in His general omnipresence (Ps 139: 7-12). When God interacts with people in time, He does one thing, then another. He curses, then He blesses. His actions are in temporal sequence and are therefore, in one sense, changing. But these changes are the outworking of God’s eternal plan, which does not change. It is important, then, to see God as working from both above and below, in eternity and in time. (emphasis added)