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.
"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.