DOES GOD HATE: WHAT IS THE LOGIC OF LOVE?

Christ in Gethsemane, Heinrich Hofmann, 1890 (from here)
Christ in Gethsemane, Heinrich Hofmann, 1890 (from here)

I been having an email debate. I say God does hate. He says God is love, that it makes no sense to believe God hates. Yet he claims to be a Christian, and in more than one place the Bible says God hates. How does he do that? Well, lots of us find excuses for picking and choosing what we want to believe.

Most are familiar with this passage.

Proverbs 6:16-19 English Standard Version (ESV)

16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.

Our sins are vile things. Should God love the things that hurt and destroy His children, our overbearing pride, our lies, our wicked schemes, the strife we create. No? Then what should God do? Pretend we don’t sin?

Are you a parent? Have you tried ignoring your children’s misbehavior? What do you think about getting rid of the police, the courts, our prisons, disbanding our military,…. No consequence for breaking the law. No penalty for hurting others. Insane? And yet some people think God is that foolish, that there is no  consequence for sin.

So does God actually hate sinners? I am not certain about that. The Bible leaves no doubt God hates sin, but it says He loved us even when we were sinners (Romans 5:6-8). Nevertheless, there is such a thing as the Wrath of God (see list of Bible verses here), and it is an appalling thing. It sends chills through my bones, but both the Old and the New Testaments speak of it. So do the teachings of those with differing religious traditions (Divine retribution). So is it wise to pretend we cannot make our Father in heaven angry? I think not, but others….

The Great Day of His Wrath, John Martin, 1851–1853. (from here)
The Great Day of His Wrath, John Martin, 1851–1853. (from here)

Because God is love, I have hope. His desire is to bless us (see list of Bible verses here).

We cannot earn God’s blessings. We cannot love God enough to earn them. We can only be humble enough to gratefully accept them.

Consider how The Sermon on the Mount begins.

Matthew 5:1-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Sermon on the Mount

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus introduces the The Sermon on the Mount with The Beatitudes.  The Beatitudes do not speak of love. They speak of other virtues, virtues such as those Benjamin Franklin once wisely strove to possess (see BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ON PRIDE AND HUMILITY). Amusingly enough, the virtue that was first on Jesus’ list was the last on Franklin’s list, Humility.

In His teachings, Jesus spoke often of love, but He spoke of love as a virtue, agape love, not the love that comes from the flesh.

1. eros – the physical, intimate, sensual type of love, not used in the Bible
2. storge – the natural affection of family members, not used in the Bible
3. phileo – love of the brethren, it is affection to family, friends, acquaintances or even activities, used in the Bible
4. agape – the deepest, greatest form of love, it is sacrificial and unconditional, used in the Bible

(from here)

Agape love is love as God loves. When we humble ourselves before our Creator, we commit ourselves to love what He loves and to hate what He hates.

Now consider again that eighth blessing, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Why were Jesus’ disciples hated? Was it because they loved sinners? No. Sinners hated Jesus’ disciples because they called sinners to repentance. Unrepentant sinners hated Jesus’ disciples because Jesus hated sin, and Jesus’ disciples followed His example.

Just as those who love their neighbors hate their neighbor’s sins, those who love their sins hate those who hate their sins. Just the same, if we love God, we must hate sin. Because God hates sin, if we love Him, we must hate sin too. And if we hate sin, those who love their sins will hate us.

References

Does God Hate?

On The Wrath of God

On The Beatitudes

11 thoughts on “DOES GOD HATE: WHAT IS THE LOGIC OF LOVE?

  1. Well written, Citizen Tom. God would not love you and me if he did not hate those who harm you and me by their sins. After all, what father who loves his children would also love the abusers of his children? Yet God’s love is larger than his wrath, so that when we sin, he provides a way to be saved, transferring wrath and punishment to his Son Jesus Christ. J.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for an excellent comment.

      That was the unspoken point of that first picture, but I am glad to see it given words. It is always well to remember and be grateful for the One who brought us redemption.

      Like

  2. Yes, I agree with Salvageable, very well written Tom. It’s inconceivable to me that God would not hate anything. It’s well documented all throughout the Bible as you say, that God hates sin and the vileness it produces. He wouldn’t be able to love us so, I don’t think, if he didn’t hate what keeps us from him.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It is less that God hates as in he actively has passionate dislike–i.e. a lack of love–and more that he cannot love things that are not of himself. Since God’s attributes cannot be separated from his actions, it would mean that God himself has hate as one of his attributes. This is impossible since hate is the deprivation of love which would mean God not only lacks himself, but is actually opposed to himself.

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    1. @mastersamwise

      I don’t see hate as coming from a lack love. As I explained, we hate because we do love. Whether our hatred is appropriate depends upon what we love.

      Anyway, you did not support your assertion. Here is an example of what I mean by support.

      The Hebrew word translated “hate” in Psalm 11 is Sänë´ (שֶׂנֵא). It “expresses an emotional attitude toward persons and things which are opposed, detested, despised and with which one wishes to have no contact or relationship.”2 This is not hate out of ignorance or animosity; rather it is a righteous God’s opposition to wickedness. The same idea is communicated by Isaiah against unrepentant Israel, declaring, “I hate [Sänë´] your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, they have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them” (Isa. 1:14). Solomon, likewise, says, “There are six things which the LORD hates [Sänë´], yes seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers” (Prov. 6:16–19). (from =>http://www.equip.org/article/can-a-loving-god-hate-someone/)

      The following article provides a decent argument for the proposition that God hates sin, but not sinners. => http://www.equip.org/article/can-a-loving-god-hate-someone/

      Since there does seem to be a place the Bible calls Hell, I am not entirely convinced God does not hate unrepentant sinners. Nevertheless, it does seem to be our own choice not God’s, that sends us to Hell. If we insist upon sinning, God isn’t going to want us around. Separation from God is by definition Hell.

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      1. We may be arguing over the semantics, but to simply say God hates would say some rather interesting and heretical things about his nature.

        I think God is just as capable of hate as he is of being weary (cf Isa 1:14). Analogously, God could be said to hate in that God could have passions in a godly sense but in way comparable to human ones. God “hates” with godly “hate.” But, as I said before referencing Aquinas (ST, PP, Q3), God’s actions are not separate from his attributes. That means every action of God is something that is inherent in his nature. Whereas we have the ability to go against our nature and sin, it is flying in the face of God to say he could do something that is commonly referred to as nothing i.e. evil.

        Thus, God created us to be with him. This is what we were predestined to do. Humans can chose otherwise, but it is only through the permissiveness of his will that God allows Man to freely choose. God always desires us. To say he could cease would mean that there is a limit to God and therefore mean he is not infinite in every respect and therefore not God.

        God stands against wickedness because he hates it, but because he is the summation of the Everything and wickedness is Nothing. Everything cannot desire Nothing nor can it be anything that Nothing is. Hate is, except analogously as noted above, not something that could be said of God. It is like saying God could be jealous or envious. God can’t have those emotions in the way we understand them or could understand them because they are lacks of what God is.

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        1. God stands against wickedness because he hates it, but because he is the summation of the Everything and wickedness is Nothing. Everything cannot desire Nothing nor can it be anything that Nothing is. Hate is, except analogously as noted above, not something that could be said of God. It is like saying God could be jealous or envious. God can’t have those emotions in the way we understand them or could understand them because they are lacks of what God is.

          God hates, but he doesn’t hate because there is nothing to hate?

          I find it curious that in order to discuss whether God hates that we must define such basic terms as love, hate, good, and evil. Nevertheless, it seem as if we must. Perhaps I will have something to post by Sunday.

          Meanwhile, here is a question for you. Jesus died for our sins. If wickedness is nothing, then why does God demand a penalty for sin?

          And yes, the Bible does say our God is a jealous God. Is He jealous in the same way we are jealous? Perhaps not. Just the same, “jealous” is the word the translators chose.

          The Bible only describes God as best we can understand Him. When we go beyond what the Bible actually says, that is probably not a good idea. We are putting into the Bible words that are not there.

          Like

        2. “If wickedness is nothing, then why does God demand a penalty for sin?”

          Because if you want to fill a hole, you need to fill it with something.

          Like

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