Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

64. WHO DOES GOD HATE?

The answer is NO ONE!  God freely gives His infinite love and a unique eternal soul to every person who will ever live.  But what God does hate is evil particularly that evil called sin which resides in the soul of man. 

Some passages of Scripture seem to suggest that God loved certain individuals and hated others:

I have loved you, says the Lord.  But you ask, “How have you loved us?”  Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?  declares the Lord.  Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness (Mal 1:2-3).

Also, Jesus appeared to encourage his followers to practice hatred:

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26).

But God does not practice or encourage psychological hatred with all its negative and sinful connotations.  God does not advocate disgust, disdain or a desire for revenge.  In the context of these and similar passages, hate means love less.  For example, Jacob loved Leah less than he loved Rachel; but Jacob did not hate Leah (Gen 29:30-33) in the sense of disgust or disdain.  When the word hate is used in Scripture, it expresses a different reality from what the English word generally signifies.