Friday, May 16, 2014

Ask the Pastor: Does God Hate the Devil?

This morning I met with some first graders at our school who had questions. Taylor asked, "Does God hate the devil?" 

First of all I told the students, we need to be sure of what we mean by God, the devil and hatred.  "God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1.1), Louis said. Another child knew that the devil was an angel that had rebelled against God (Revelation 12.7ff). Hatred, I added, was something that could be good or bad. It is good to hate what is evil. But it is not good to hate what God loves. Jesus told us to love our enemies because He still loves them, and there is hope for them to believe in God (Matthew 5.44). 

Does God then love the devil? He certainly did when He created him. But it is really the devil who hates God. How long God put up with the devil's rebellion we'll never know. Yet at some point He said, "enough is enough." He sent the devil away in judgment, and nothing will change that separation. So the best explanation is probably this:  God neither loves nor hates the devil, but He has judged him and separated him from His love because the devil hates God. 

For further study…

There are a number of Bible verses that say God hates evil deeds and that we are to hate them as well:

Psalm 45:7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness… (See also Isaiah 61.8).

Proverbs 8.13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil… (See also Amos 5.15; Revelation 2.6).

But Psalm 5.5 actually says, "You (God) hate all workers of iniquity." 

I think the best way to  understand this is similar to the statement about the devil (above). God is patient and He has "no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezekiel 33.11).  God loves sinners as Paul said, "God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5.8).  But God's patience has its limits. At some point in His divine wisdom God enters into judgment with those who resist Him. He cuts off His love and blessings from them and grants them their desire to be their own god and to live freely in their wickedness without His help. 

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