The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
How can God have anger, wrath, and indignation, if He is by very nature love?
This is a question that I have encountered many times – both in personal prayer time and as a confrontational question. Truly it is a topic that is impossible to deny; Scripture makes it very clear that we serve a God of love, who hates certain things. So how do we deal with this? Why does God, if He is love, destroy wicked nations in the Old Testament? Is that loving? What do we make of a loving God who hates things that we do? Allow me to offer a story.
As I sat in the Emergency Room with my fiancée, I experienced more worry and unease than ever before in my short lifetime. She was in a tremendous amount of pain – and it caused me pain, too. In fact, her stomach hurt so bad, that she had passed out just a half hour earlier. I could see the agony in her eyes, as her abdomen wretched with discomfort; my beautiful fiancée held back the tears as she suffered through the pain, and endured the sticking of needles in her arm.
Due to my deep love for Kelly, I wanted nothing more than to take the sickness away from her. She was in so much pain, and I wanted to end it – to eradicate it for her. I could see how much damage it was doing to her body, spirit, and mind; I saw that it was tearing her apart. More than anything before, I hated this pain in her. Deep affection for my wonderful fiancée drove me to hatred of the sickness inside of her!
I love Kelly, but hated what her body was doing! In my love for her, I despised that which caused her harm. It is this same hatred that God feels.
As He sits, enthroned in holiness, with heavenly hosts all around, He experiences incomparable pain – because he sees that His creation is aching. Sin has entered into his beautiful creation, and is wrecking havoc on men, women, and children! The curse of sin and death has caused so much damage, and is destroying souls by to thousands. He sees agony in the eyes of man, as it wretches with discomfort; His beautiful creation holds back tears as it suffers through the pain, and endures the destruction that sins delivers.
Due to His deep love for us, He wants nothing more than to take away to the sickness of sin. He knows that it is causing us so much pain – so He wants to end it, to eradicate it for us. He can see how much damage it is doing to us – in body, spirit, and mind; He watches as sin tears us apart. More than anything before, He hates this sin and pain. Deep affection for His creation drives Him to hatred of the disease that has entered it!
It is still within the nature of His love to hate certain things; in fact, that hatred is a component of His love. In other words, his hatred for sin is actually a form of love for us. He knows the pain we experience, and because of that pain, he hates the sin inside of us.
It may seem paradoxical for a God of love to hate anything – but those two conflicting actions, in reality, operate in tandem with one another. Thus, it is perfectly logical for the Lord of affection to display aversion.