A lot is said about God’s love. It is the topic of the most well-known verse in the Bible.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
But how often have you heard anyone say anything about God’s hatred? Some people believe that God never hates anyone or anything because they believe all hatred is wrong and God never sins. Here is what the Bible says about that.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . a time to love, and a time to hate. (Ecclesiastes 3:1,8)
When we hate our hatred is usually sinful because we seldom know when hatred is called for. (Our love can also be sinful. We love something that God has told us we shouldn’t love or we love one thing more than another when we should love the second thing more.) God always knows when it is the proper time to love or hate.
Here are some of the things God hates.
There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
We can summarize this by saying that God hates sin. That is bad news for us because all of us have sinned. God can’t simply overlook sin because it defiles his creation and he must remove it in order to restore creation to its original state of perfection.
Yet God loves humans because we were made in God’s image and he has made a way to remove our sin. He sent his son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die as a sacrifice to atone for our sins. Christ’s resurrection proves that God has accepted his sacrifice.
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
If we respond to God’s love by repenting of our sins and placing our faith in Christ we will experience an eternity of happiness and fellowship with God. If we reject God’s love we become subject to God’s hate and can only look forward to an eternity of suffering in Hell.
The New Testament word translated Hell is Gehenna. This was the name of a valley outside of Jerusalem where the city’s garbage was taken to be burned. This illustrates the function of Hell. It is where all the moral garbage of creation is taken to be destroyed.
We deserve God’s hatred because of the way we live. His love arises from his nature and isn’t something we deserve.
In order to understand God we must be aware of both his love and his hatred. Some people think only of his love and this makes them believe that there is no danger that they will be judged for their sins. Others focus on his hatred of sin and this leads them to try to live a good enough life to appease it. Both of these errors will keep us from being forgiven and experiencing eternal life.