How Could God Hate?

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I’m confused! I was reading through Proverbs one evening, as a part of my devotions, and ran across the phrase in Proverbs 6:16 “There are six things which the Lord hates. . . .” That shocked me! How could a God who is all loving, as well as being a God of justice, “hate” anything? Isn’t that a contradiction of His nature to “hate”?


Good question! We all know that the word “hate” is strong language. If someone should say to you, “I hate you!” it’s like cutting you with a sharp knife and hurts you deeply. Sometimes the use of this word is not so bad; for example, “I hate liver.” We have a friend who puts together a Christian circus as an evangelistic tool. They have an elephant; when asked if he hates Satan, he shakes his head up and down as if to be saying “YES,” and everyone laughs.

According to The American College Dictionary, the word “hate” is defined “to regard with a strong or passionate dislike, detest.” The Hebrew word is sane’ which means “to hate personally.”

We know that God is capable of wrath, discipline, chastisement, but hatred? We must understand this in the context of verses 16-19. “There are seven things which are an abomination (disgusting or abhorrent) to Him.” Why does God hate these things? Why are they disgusting to Him? Because of what they do to us. Because of what they do when they enter the lives of His children—you and me. The heart of God hurts when there is perversion of what He intended for us. When we experience what God did not plan for us, it hurts Him. It is agony to Him. Therefore, He hates it.

Let’s briefly consider why God hates these seven things. They are often called “The Seven Deadly Sins” which has been paraphrased as “the sins that sum up all sin.” Notice that five of the seven deal with parts of the body; each of which is not evil in itself, but how it may be used.

  1. Haughty eyes refers to a “proud look” suggesting an arrogant ambition. Pride goes before destruction. Pride causes us to turn from God and play into the hands of Satan. God will not tolerate anyone who thinks highly of himself.
  2. A lying tongue suggests that God hates dishonesty, but loves the truth. Our lips were created to praise God, and lying is a perversion of God’s intention. Lying brings about broken hearts, homes, churches, and relationships.
  3. Hands that shed innocent blood reminds us that God hates violence of any kind. Some examples would include : what happened in Oklahoma City, Columbine High School, road rage, gang wars, just to name a few.
  4. A heart that devises wicked plans suggests that God hates the plotting of evil. The heart represents the will most often; here it plots evil. God had declared early on that the heart was capable of this.
  5. God also hates feet that run rapidly to evil. God hates the eagerness to do wrong. Often when we devise evil in our hearts, we hurry to accomplish it. An evil heart, in rebellion to God, will be quick and eager to do wrong, and Satan loves that!
  6. God hates a false witness who utters lies. This refers to perjury, the crime of a person who takes the witness stand and deliberately lies; violates a confidence. Obviously this is a direct violation of the Ten Commandments. Lying may be their nature as they never tell the truth.
  7. Finally, God hates one who spreads strife among brothers. This is someone who stirs up dissension, always causing trouble—among friends, believers in Christ. Proverbs calls them “quarreling people.”

We can see why God hates these because of what they can do when they enter our lives. Each one of these can be a very sharp tool of the enemy. That why it’s so important to put our trust in Christ alone, and ask the Holy Spirit to sit on the throne of our lives in order that we might clearly reflect Jesus in our lives to others.


Written for The John Ankerberg Show by: Rev. Sam Harris; ©2000.

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