Monday, October 31, 2005

God Hates....

Ok...I'm going to go out on a limb here theologically speaking. This is something I've not studied nearly enough but I'm in the process of studying it, and need/want to make some comment on it in the meantime.

Tdub and I were talking about Robert's comments to my "Love the Sinner" post.

Robert said:
"It seems to me that if God is love, as so many say that he is, then perhaps God does not hate at all. God may reject behavior that is unwholesome, but that is not necessarily hate. It seems to me that if Satan exists, or some other personification of evil, that he harms himself without having God or his angels intervening. The same can be said for all of us who sin."


I think Robert is on to something here. And I can't help but make note of the fact that Robert clearly states he's not a Christian in the paragraph just before he says all this. I just point that out as proof that we ALL have things to learn from one another, and furthermore, is NO THREAT in being friends, having dialogue and seeking truth. In fact, it can be helpful. I'm certainly not going to reject Robert's thoughts/ideas/opinions just because he's not a Christian. He, in fact, may be operating in a Christ-like spirit at times moreso than many who claim to be Christians. Not that I'm judging others, just sayin'. :)

ANYWAY....what Robert says goes along pretty well with the discussion Tdub and I had about God and hate. Basically, we came to the conclusion that HATE is one of those terms that is used in some instances in the Bible because it's the closest word to describing something that we basically have no comprehension for. It's a God thing. So, saying God hates sin is analogous to saying light hates darkness. It's not actually hate, it's that one will not exist in the presence of the other. Sin is opposite Godliness and where God is sin must leave. God LOVES people who sin and He demonstrated this fact by sending His Son to reconcile us back to Himself even though we are sinful. Because He won't/can't tolerate the presence of sin, the way light dispells darkness, He provided a way to tolerate us in spite of our sinfulness.

Again, I haven't done an in depth Biblical study of this. But, another thing I'm struck by is the fact that there are entire books and chapters in the Bible that talk about God's love. About the fact that God IS love. And while I know that God does not tolerate sin or "hates" it, so to speak, I don't see entire books focusing on it. I'm not trying to "water down" the gospel and brush sinfulness under the rug. Not at all. I'm pretty straightforward about sin being sin. It's just that it seems like we (Christians) spend alot of our time being the "sin police" as if that's God's primary role for us. I don't think it is. I'm inclined to believe that for the most part, God can handle sin. If our lives, words, actions, and testimonies don't reflect Christ and God's love then what do we really have to offer? Cleaning the sin out of my life has been a process. And, as much as I hate to admit it, it's still going on. I'm not there yet. I still screw up. I'm a recovering sinner and always will be.

I think I'll stop this ramble for now. I don't feel like it's all that coherent but I feel better to have gotten at least this much thinking down "out loud".

Please comment if you have any verses or insight to share to help me with this.

in Him,
grace

5 comments:

Robert said...

Grace,

I am honored to be mentioned in your post!

For the benefit of your readers, the reason I put the "non-Christian" label on myself is because I am, at this point in my life, an agnostic when it comes to a belief in God or any higher being. I am sort of "If its real prove it" sort of person. I guess that is what happens when one becomes an attorney. I did not want anyone to think that I am experienced with scripture or am speaking as a believer.

That said, I can readily accept the concept of sin. People often think of "sin" as meaning "wicked" or "evil," but it is a much broader word and applies to a myriad of unsatisfactory traits. I believe there is a passage in the New Testament that compares the best of one's abilities as "filthy rags" in the eyes of God. This seems to suggest that while God wants us to strive to be the best we can be, he is still not impressed with our ultimate results, but simply the effort that was put into the process.

grace said...

Robert,
Thanks as always for your thoughtful comments. It sounds like you are but a few C.S. Lewis books away from becoming a full-fledged Christian! hehe!

Seth Robins said...

I personally know serveral theologians who would whole heartedly agree with you. One is Mike Cope, I have a link to his blog on my website.

I often look at this this way myself. The passage in the old testament that says "God is love," basically means in the origional Hebrew that God = Love. The Hebrew language is one of those that has math and writing intertwined with one another. And we know in math that if one thing equals another you could then turn it around and say that the other thing equals the one thing. Therefore, Love = God.

God is Love personified. And love is not some mushy feeling, it is an action, it is something you do. What Jesus did in dying on the cross was the ultimate act of love because Jesus was love made human.

Anyway, I could go on and on, but my point is... good point!

grace said...

Hey Seth! Thanks for stopping by. I all ready read Mike Cope daily! I happen to teach and work in our congregation with some of his friends. I'm honored to have my thinking compared with his since he is sort of an "unofficial guru" of those in the CoC who are more "progressive"(less legalistic) in belief. Again, thanks for stopping by!

Emery said...

After reading this (twice -- forgot to comment yesterday), I've got a lot to say. I'll try to reduce it to a medium amount. :-)

Perhaps this whole question of defining "God hates" has more to do with appreciating our inability to know/understand Him than our ability to grasp the infinite.

I think it's safe to say that because God is eternal, omniscient, mysterious, and superlative (just to name a few), our tiny grasp of Him and His ways is tinier than we think.

So when trying to understand anything about God, I'd think it primarily important to define/grasp God's love and let the rest of who He is fall into line along the process. That could be a life-long pursuit. Love is paramount throughout scripture. Love is the greatest of all things... better than all spiritual gifts and it is the hallmark description of the Lord.

We have a terrible definition and model of love in this world. We don't even know how bad this societal characterization of love is... But, I'll tell you it's not patient, kind, selfless, et al. Our models for loving in this society are not love at all... but cheap, cheap imitations. I shudder to even grant them the validitation of being an imitation.

And, I figure, the more we understand Godly love -- that love that He DEFINES and is the author of... and the more that we LIVE that kind of love... the less we'll need to worry much about defining Godly hate. I think that true Love motivates us to dispel, repel, dislike, gravitate towards, embrace, or "whatever" towards things that we should hate... (whatever hate means!) ;-)