By Andrew (Shoebat Sunday Special)
God is love, and there is no darkness within Him. He is perfect in His being because all existence is found in Him and nothing can be found without Him. Everything that was, is, and every will be is found in God because there can be nothing outside of God. As true love is a reflection of God’s nature, the more perfect the love is the more perfectly it reflects God. To the contrary, evil is not merely the absence of God, but it is the perversion of love away from it reflecting God’s intended purpose for it as He created it. One might say, in a simple way, that a basic definition of evil is the use of something outside of the purpose for which God created it- in other words, to abuse it.
This raises an interesting point among many, and something I was thinking about throughout this week and while I was in line for Confession. For if to love something is to use it in accordance with its created purpose, and to hate something means to abuse it, then to hate something that is being abused is to love it because one desires it to be restored to is proper usage.
This is important because it is the basis for one of the least discussed topics in church today because of the simultaneously “controversial” nature of it. This topic is the capacity of God to hate.
Now one might ask “How can God hate if He is love?,” and this is a legitimate question, especially since many Americans have been very poorly catechized during the past 100 years. Regardless of denomination, and especially if you live in the United States, you most likely have been taught a “milk toast” variety of Christianity that has the trappings of religion but lacks in the essential substance. Like a bowlful of ice cream for a meal, we have fed ourselves the desert part of the meal without eating our meat, potatoes, and vegetables- the stuff that constitutes the less-tasty but very nutritional and healthy part of the mean.
I mean by this that Christianity today has become a religion for many people that is little different than a feel-good club, where “love” is defined in terms of varying degrees of license (depending on the sect) and the theological, moral, and spiritual reasons for the prohibitions enforced in years past are ignored in the name of “progress” and “tolerance,” but for the real fact that most common people do not understand what Christianity teaches, and that some of the more educated people either understand and do not like the teachings (so they choose to ignore them) or they are inclined to evil and choose to distort them for personal gains.
However, God is eternal and He does not change- EVER. As such, the fact that God in the Bible makes is very clear that he not only hates certain actions, but also even certain people on account of their actions should make us realize that if we believe the Bible is the word of God and is to be believed, given that this hatred is spoken about in both the Old and New Testaments, it is something that we must take seriously for the sake of our own souls.
There are many verses which describe this hatred, and I have listed a few below:
You must not do the same for the Lord your God, because every abhorrent thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods. They would even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:31)
The boastful will not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. (Psalm 5:5)
The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and his soul hates the lover of violence. (Psalm 11:5)
I have forsaken my house, I have abandoned my heritage; I have given the beloved of my heart into the hands of her enemies. My heritage has become to me like a lion in the forest; she has lifted up her voice against me— therefore I hate her. (Jeremiah 12:7-8)
The Lord God has sworn by himself (says the Lord, the God of hosts): I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds; and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it. (Amos 6:8)
I have loved Jacob but I have hated Esau (Malachi 1:2-3)
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, love what is good. (Romans 12:9)
Yet this is to your credit: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. (Revelations 2:6)
Without going into too much detail, one will notice that the unifying theme for all of them, as mentioned above, is these actions or person who commit certain actions do so in contradiction to the commands of God. If this is put into the discussion about love, then the reason they are hateful is because they do not reflect the love of God. God hates them because they are against who He IS- they are a perversion of His majesty and are not worthy of Him.
This is why God hates sin- because it is perverted and perverting, distorting not only the object or behavior but also the person who participates in it. It is why sin is so serious an offense against God, because if as Christians the purpose of our existence, as the Baltimore Catechism so wonderfully states is to know, love, and serve God, and to be content with Him in this life and eternally happy with Him in the next, it is incumbent for our salvation that we root out all that does not reflect God in us and become as much like Him as we can with each action. Indeed, God wants this not only because it brings Him honor, but more importantly because of His love for us, since if God created us a certain way for a certain end, which must be love, than the only way we can truly love God and ultimately be happy with ourselves and Him is to become the men we were created to be. Sin distorts and destroys that perfection, and it sets up obstacles to salvation that if not managed and removed can cast a man into hell.
So if we love God, then we need to demonstrate both sides of love. That is the side which reflects God’s love in one part, and the other part which reflects God’s righteous anger and hatred against all that is opposed to Him because it is perverse and evil.
This hatred is a holy hatred that runs from God’s grace because it is a hatred of sin. That said, you will almost never hear Christians today talk about hatred at all as holy because they have been so taught that all hatred is evil. Now most hatred is truly unrighteous- a perversion of God’s love- and as such that is correctly called evil. But to say that all hatred is evil is an evil is because it is an indirect rejection of God’s love and even an affront to it because it gives a metaphysical equivalency to hatred with good- if nothing can be hated, then all must be called good or at least, morally neutral- and this is simply not true. Good exists, and evil exists, and evil is to be hated as good is to be loved. Indeed, if Christians do not hate, they place their souls in a state of potential danger, for they will inevitably call evil good and good evil.
Across the world today it is plain that evil is rising up all around us in such a quantity, boldness, and openness that has never before been seen in human history. While times and evils have not changed, the tools for instituting, imposing, and disseminating that same evil over larger numbers of people in shorter time is unprecedented, and its effects are visible. It has been building up for centuries and increased rapidly during the 20th century and now is getting even worse in the 21st. There are the obvious sins such as willful murder, slavery, and physical abuse, but now there are new evils that have destroyed and are threatening to destroy civilizations long term. These sins I speak about are those which people are afraid to talk about today and include but are not limited to abortion, sexual perversions, and “interreligious dialogue.”
Abortion speaks for itself, as this crime has murdered tens of millions of children before they were even born- more than all of the people killed in all of the conflicts of the 20th century- and this is just the ones we can count, since it does not include the effects of the abortion “pill,” other contraception, and outright infanticide. We say we love children so much, yet so many people are so quick to scream about abortion being “MY RIGHT”- as though a man has a right to rip apart his own child with pliers, or burn him with a saline solution because it is MY RIGHT.
Sexual perversion is another major problem, and as Our Lady of Fatima said, most souls who go to hell do so on account of sexual perversions. The list for this is incredibly numerous. There is cohabitation, premarital sex, “hooking up,” prostitution, masturbation, adultery in deed, adultery in thought, the use of contraception in marriage, sodomy, homosexuality, and today even bestiality and pedophilia. It is nearly impossible to avoid running into some kind of sexual perversion because everything is open today, and yet at the same time it is in many parts of the world a criminal offense or at least, a social offense to criticize any of these behaviors, at which you might find yourself attacked, in jail, or dead.
Interreligious dialogue (and I speak less of the type between fellow Christians) is another seldom noticed evil, but a grave one because it disguises something evil under the appearance of good. It is good that people of different religions can talk to each other, but the fact remains that there is only one name under Heaven by which men can be saved, and that is of Jesus Christ. Buddha, Muhammad, or Shiva cannot save you- only Jesus because He is the way, the truth, and the life, and nobody can go to the Father except through Him.” To have dialogue without conversion to the true Faith is evil because it denies the other person the chance for salvation, and what could be more evil than that?
All of these actions above and the many, many other sins which happen are evil, but there is one more issue- the people who commit them.
Sins do not happen by accident. Indeed, one of the defining characteristics of sin is that man abuses his free will to choose evil, and God permits this because He is love and He allows us to choose our actions. As such, while sin exists in the world, it needs to have a person that by choice allows it to work its perverse effects. Without a “doer”, the sin is rendered ineffective because there is none to effect its effects.
This is why God says in the Bible that He hates not only sin, but certain people on account of the fact that they are immersed in sin. He does not hate them for their person- no, God loves them because they are made in His image and likeness. Why He hates them is because they have given themselves over to sin, willfully rejecting God and as a result, love. They are wicked because they are choosing wickedness, and they are evil because they have elected freely to reject God’s perfection, which is love, and instead have chosen perversity. They are evil by their own designs- nobody made them do this.
God hates them because, as I understand, He really does not want to hate them. As it says so many times in the Bible, if these men would amend their ways and return to God, He would forgive them of their sins, pardon them, and bring them back into His house:
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, “Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house and proclaim there this word and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah, who enter by these gates to worship the LORD!’” Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. “Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. (Jeremiah 7:1-7)
Perhaps the greatest story of this in the New Testament is the parable of the prodigal son. He threw away all his fortune on a dissolute life, only to return to his father and beg his forgiveness, at which his father immediately forgave him and re-accepted him into his home:
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. (Luke 11:17-24)
Now, can one not imagine that the Father was angry at his son for what he did? Could one even imagine that the father hated his own son? Yes, on account of what he did, but not account of his nature. If he hated him on account of his nature, he would not have accepted his son’s sincere apology. This is immediately disproven because the father embraced his son and accepted him back in. The hatred of his son, if there was, was on account of his choice to sin, not on account of his nature.
I say all this because as we see our culture and indeed, the entire world collapsing and burning around us, we become angry at what we see happening and at those who do it, but then we are reluctant, even immediately stop ourselves from saying that we hate the people who are doing it. “Oh no, we don’t hate them, we just hate what they are doing,” is the common response.
The dictionary definition of hate is to feel “intense and/or passionate dislike.”
Tell me, is there any reason not to feel intense and/or passionate dislike for these people, again, on account of what they do and NOT their person? While they are many from may backgrounds, they are united in their commitment to sin and persist in sin. They revel in cheating, lying, stealing, and hurting others for the sake of pleasure or profit. They earn their daily bread at the exploitation of others. They teach evil ideas that lead men’s souls to hell, and they rejoice while doing it. They are the same people who will not listen to reason, but as the ancient Israelites did, they murdered the men and women God sent to them to help them amend their wicked ways.
When you see people doing the kind of perversity above, do you feel “intense and/or passionate dislike” towards them? If you do, you hate them.
If God hated, i.e. felt intense and/or passionate dislike, towards these same people in the Bible, then what is wrong with Christians following in God’s example?
This is the dirty assumption behind “hate speech”, since hate speech says that it is a crime to feel “intense and/or passionate dislike” towards something. “Hate speech” is a verbal chimera that serves only one purpose- to legally neuter a person from making his opinions fruitful on the basis of a disagreement by another person. This is an utter paradox, because it is a law that bans certain types of hate while enshrining other kinds.
People who talk about “hate speech” are in fact the most hateful people of all. This does not bother me because, to their credit, they have a viewpoint which they believe passionately enough in that they will fight against all who oppose it- in other words, they have something they actually believe in. What bothers me is that these same people often times loves perversity and evil, and so they seek to use “hate speech laws- intense and/or passionate dislike laws,” to enshrine their evil ideas to the detriment of the good. Such people are evil, and it is only natural to feel an “intense and/or passionate dislike” of them, not because of their persons, but because of what they are doing.
Hatred also ties into love as far as mercy is concerned, because it is the sentiment of justice. Justice is based on the idea that there is such a thing as right and wrong, with wrong being a perversion of what is right and as such it merits fitting punishment. One merits punishment on the basis of the perversion because of the intense dislike that God has for that sin and the person who chose to commit it. Mercy is as just as real because if the man turns away from that perversity and makes amends, then as I noted from Scripture, God will surely pardon Him because that is His nature.
As I mentioned earlier, I went to confession today and I confessed my sins. I made a good confession, and I was absolved, and as part I resolved to detach myself from sin and all attraction to sin and to be faithful to the Cross. I want sin out of my life because, like any Christian is supposed to strive for, I want to be the person who God created me to be, and I cannot do that if I persist in following a path that leads me into perversion, for if I were to continue to do so unrepentantly, then yes, I too would be hated by God on account of my sins, and I would merit just punishment. It is a humbling and sobering thing to contemplate.
I don’t want God to hate anybody, because God only hates when there is sin. If there is no sin, there is nothing to hate. Unfortunately, we live in a sin-fallen world, and we must strive to stay in a state of grace with Him. If we don’t, we could become among the very persons that He righteously hates.
Hans Memling’s The Last Judgment from the Polish National Museum in Gdansk, Poland
Christians need to take a lesson from this- hate is a part of human life as much as love is, and the two are related. If a man truly loves something, he must hate that which is opposed to it. That includes both the deed as well as the ones who commit the deed. And at the same time, we are also commanded to love them, and to pray for them, for part of that love is indeed the hatred against them, as a zeal for the salvation of their souls in spite of their actions.
There is much unrighteous hatred in the world. But there is also the holy kind of hatred. And it must not be discarded because to do so is to reject the love of God, which is itself hateful.
Do you want to love as God loves? Then learn to hate as God hates.