Thursday, January 30, 2014

Does God Hate?

In preparing for a message on Sunday I found myself looking at a series of passages in the Bible that have caused me an undue amount of distress.  Specifically, I ran into a group of passages that talk about God hating...hating sin, disobedience, wicked people, etc...

Here are some of the sample passages:

Psalm 5:5- you (God) hate all who do wrong

Psalm 11:5- the wicked and those who love violence his (God's) soul hates

Leviticus 20:23

Proverbs 6:16-19

Hosea 9:15

Deuteronomy 12:31

Malachi 1:3- God loves Jacob and hates Esau (?)

Amos 5:21- God hates, despises the feasts...

Revelation 2:15- Jesus hates the Nicolatians

Hate is defined as an extreme aversion for or extreme hostility towards.  In Freudian psychology, hate is an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness.

In my work as a pastor, I have been drawn to the stories in Scripture of God's love for creation, people, and the desire to redeem those who have been lost.  Paul speaks of love as an activity in I Corinthians 13.  John tells us that God is love and anyone who claims to love God yet hate their brother is a liar (I John 4:20).

It does not make sense to me that the Divine could be in the business of hate.  Especially hate as defined by Freud.  If hate seeks to destroy, if hate is extreme aversion and hostility towards an object, then how/why would God ever go through the process of salvation?  Why save us?

I have heard the argument hate the sin, love the sinner, and reject this.  The sin is a part of the sinner, not an independent aspect of them.  I do not believe it is possible to separate the sin from the sinner.

And is there even any room for hate to exist where love is?  I am not sure this is possible. 

In spite of all the references in Scripture to God hating sin, wickedness, etc...  I find it difficult to accept that God could hate anything about us as human beings.  We are God's creation.  We are who Jesus came to rescue.  Why would God rescue us if there was a part of us that God hated?

Its why I believe that as Christians, as followers of Jesus, we should work to eliminate hate from our vocabulary- and not just by erasing the word, but by overcoming the concept.  Hate does lead us to destroy, whether in our heart or in real life.  It is a poison which affects and infects and shares no benefit with us.

I believe that this struggle to understand will continue.

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