If God is love, how can he hate (e.g., Psalm 5:4, 11:5)?


(Rafael chavez) #1

Hey guys if god is love how can he hate (Psalms 5:4 and Psalms 11:5)


(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #2

a brief answer would be that God hates whatever is against that which is good.
the bible says god hates wickedness (Psalm 45:7) and He hates false idols (Duet.16:22). Now the next question would be: what is good? I believe Philippians 4:8 is a great example.
you bring up Psalm 11:5:

The Lord examines the righteous,
but the wicked, those who love violence,
he hates with a passion.

Why do you think God hates wickedness? What does that say about his character? Does that contradict 1 John 4:16 (God is love)?


(Lakshmi Mehta) #3

@Rafael15, I just happened to read something related to your question about how a God of love can be a God of wrath as part of a course I am taking. Miroslav Volf used to think that too–" Shouldnt a God of love be beyond wrath? …until the Bosnian War, and below is an excerpt from his book.

The apostle Paul ascribed to God actions and attitudes that stand in sharp contrast with how such a doting grandparent behaves. He spoke rather freely of God’s “judgment”, “condemnation”, even of God’s “wrath” (see Romans 1:18-3:20). Setting aside the litany of things that the Apostle believed merit God’s condemnation, let’s focus on the fact of it. In particular, let’s examine the appropriateness of God’s wrath, the strongest form of God’s censure….

I used to think that wrath was unworthy of God. Isn’t God love? Shouldn’t divine love be beyond wrath? God is love, and God loves every person and every creature. That’s exactly why God is wrathful against some of them. My last resistance to the idea of God’s wrath was a casualty of the war in former Yugoslavia, the region from which I come. According to some estimates, 200,000 people were killed and over 3,000,000 were displaced. My villages and cities were destroyed, my people shelled day in and day out, some of them brutalized beyond imagination, and I could not imagine God not being angry. Or think of Rwanda in the last decade of the past century, where 800,000 people were hacked to death in one hundred days! How did God react to the carnage? By doting on the perpetrators in a grandparently fashion? By refusing to condemn the bloodbath but instead affirming the perpetrators basic goodness? Wasn’t God fiercely angry with them? Though I used to complain about the indecency of the idea of God’s wrath, I came to think that I would have to rebel against a God who wasn’t wrathful at the sight of the world’s evil. God isn’t wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love…

… Once we accept the appropriateness of God’s wrath, condemnation, and judgment, there is no way of keeping it out there, reserved for others. We have to bring it home as well. I originally resisted the notion of a wrathful God because I dreaded being that wrath’s target; I still do. I knew I couldn’t just direct God’s wrath against others, as if it were a weapon I could aim at targets I particularly detested. It’s God’s wrath, not mine, the wrath of the one and impartial God, lover of all humanity. If I want it to fall on evildoers, I must let it fall on myself – when I deserve it.

Also, once we affirm that God’s condemnation of wrongdoing is appropriate, we cannot reserve God’s condemnation for heinous crimes. Where would the line be drawn? On what grounds could it be drawn? Everything that deserves to be condemned should be condemned in proportion to its weight as an offense – from a single slight to a murder, from indolence to idolatry, from lust to rape. To condemn heinous offenses but not light ones would be manifestly unfair. An offense is an offense and deserves condemnation…

-Miroslav Volf, Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace pp. 138-139

So, when God hates, it’s a righteous anger out of love. He takes no pleasure in harming us, His wish is that none should perish (Matt 18:14). In a sense, God died for those whose heart he hates (Prov 6: 16-19). God’s forgiveness and love has meaning only when His wrath has meaning. A good loving God desires holiness in His children as He hates for His children to be wicked and provided a way through His sacrifice.

Romans 5:11 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.


(Jimmy Sellers) #4

I hope you don’t take this to be a short answer but you can’t know love if there is no hate.

It is no contradiction for a human being to be able to love and hate, and neither is it a contradiction for God to be able to love and hate.


(Kathleen) #5

Love that Volf quote, @Lakshmismehta! I’m going to copy it right now… :slight_smile:

It’s so good to wrestle with these things, @Rafael15, so thank you for bringing this up! I don’t have much to add, but I wanted to chime in with a simple thought. I can’t remember where I heard this, but when I did, it reframed how I thought about the issue:

The opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference.

God can be many things, but I do wonder if it can ever be true that He is indifferent? I mean, in Romans 1, Paul talks about God giving people over to their desires as an act of judgement, but that doesn’t mean that he is indifferent.

Would anyone agree or disagree with that? I haven’t really thought through it completely, but I thought it worth throwing out there… :slight_smile:


(Lakshmi Mehta) #6

@KMac, Glad you found that helpful. I agree that God can’t be indifferent. I am reminded of the verse where God prefers hot or cold but not a lukewarm attitude toward Him (Rev 3:16). A lukewarm attitude usually emerges from indifference. I read that the word hate in Prov 6 for example in hebrew can be translated as " to be set against" . He is set against the wickedness of an individual which breaks the relationship between the individual and God. To be in relationship with an individual without that hatred would mean lowering His standards of holiness.


(Pat Finley) #7

It is my understanding that God hates sin. He gives us warnings and many chances to repent (otherwise we would all be dead!) Eventually those who continue to reject and fight Gods wisdom will destroy themselves. I believe he forgives us as long as we are trying and repenting. I was lucky to be raised Catholic so the Christianity was deep within and I returned to it as a young teenager. I still had to make mistakes but I still had that foundation that gave me a hope of finding some answers. The Bible says look to God for every answer and every decision we make. I think that is comforting. :blush:


(Sandy) #8

My fav gospel preacher today says it like this - “To the extent/degree that you love someone, will be to the degree that you’ll hate that which will harm/destroy them”. Like cancer or drugs in one you love. If we, being flawed could feel that way…how much more the God of immeasurable love and eternal perspective!