Richard Coords, “Hate”

, posted by Martin Glynn

How do non-Calvinists deal with certain Bible verses which show that God hates certain people?

Psalm 5:5: “The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity.”

Psalm 7:11: “God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day.”

Psalm 26:5: “I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.”

Malachi 1:3: “But I have hated Esau [referencing Edom], and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.”

It is answered in two ways. In some instances, the word “hate” just reflects preference, such as Luke 14:26: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” However, that may not be a suitable understanding for all occurrences, such as Malachi 1:3, in which God said that He is “indignant forever” with the Edomites, regarding their betrayal of Israel during the Babylonian captivity. So, how can a God who “is love” (1st John 4:8, 10) hate anyone? It’s not that He wants to, or that He needed to create people to hate. God’s wrath is conditional. Evil distorts God’s perfect ways, and for those who do commit evil, God would rather have it that they turn back to Him, so that He may show them mercy, than to have to exercise judgment upon them.

Micah 7:18: “Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love.”

So, although God may declare that He hates a particular sinner, that does not preclude His longing to see restoration through repentance.One example is that of wicked King Ahab, when God was delighted to see his repentance, and in turn, relented from His intentions of judging him: “‘Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the evil in his days, but I will bring the evil upon his house in his son’s days.’” (1st Kings 21:29)

To further illustrate, I might say: “I hate people who tailgate on the highway and drive recklessly,” or I might say, “I hate people who don’t flush the toilet when they’re done.” This doesn’t mean that I have arbitrarily thrown names into a hat, and chosen to unconditionally hate them for no reason whatsoever. Rather, it means that my disapproval of them is based upon their free will choice to commit an act which I disapprove of. This is what God is expressing at verses like Psalm 5:5, Psalm 7:11, etc., as He is defining a certain class of people who have freely chosen to enter that class, by freely choosing to sin. It’s somewhat similar to when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. expressed a desire for his children to be judged, “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Make no mistake, God still does judge people. However, He judges them for the “content of their character,” so to speak, as displayed by the type of actions that they chose to engage in. (In other words, He doesn’t judge them on arbitrary things, such as skin color, or whether or not He unconditionally picked their name out of a hat from eternity, and arbitrarily decided to hate them for no other reason than that their name was selected.) God looks to the heart, and judges people accordingly: “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.’” (Jeremiah 17:10)