How Can a Loving God Hate?

Dave Gifford

READ : Romans 12:9
1 John 2:15-17
James 4:4

Like many others, I struggled with the concept of God’s wrath, his anger at sin and the Bible’s claim that he also loves people. Some thinkers attempt to resolve the seeming contradiction by claiming that the “vengeful God” of the Old Testament is outdated and supplanted by a God of love in the New Testament. From my study I knew that to be a harmfully inaccurate interpretation.

Even so, it was surprising to find such strong passages about what

not

to love in the New Testament, where love is so prominent. It gradually dawned on me that hate is the natural, negative side of love. The more we love something the more we hate anything that would hurt or oppose that which we love.

God loves us with an infinite love. It makes perfect sense that he would hate sin so much. God’s wrath shows us his determination to eradicate all that causes us harm, sorrow, defeat and death. Perhaps the question is not how can God hate, but why we do not. Too few of us become truly angry at our sin as God does. We are too polite, or too complacent. If love and hatred are so interrelated, is it possible that our lack of constructive, God-honoring “hate” reveals a deficit in our love for God?

PRAYER

Teach me, Lord, to love all that you love and to oppose all that you oppose with sufficient rigor. Amen.