God delights in destruction of people

I have a Protestant (Calvinist evangelical) friend who recently posted the following note. I am looking for a better understanding/ rebuttal to this. I appreciate all your insights!

His note:

God the Delighted Destroyer

You cannot approach the God of the Bible lightly. He cannot be a convenient “afterthought” of life; someone that affords a vague sense of universal belonging, or who offers a mere “fire-insurance” policy. The Bible affords you no such freedom vis-à-vis God. Consider this verse taken from Deuteronomy 28 (a long chapter in which Moses details the curses of judgment that await Israel should the nation disobey God):

“It shall come about that as the Lord delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the Lord will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it.” (Deuteronomy 28:63)

Does it ever enter into our conscious thought that the God we take so lightly delights in judgment and destruction? Please don’t misunderstand me…a right and full-orbed view of God extends much further than Deuteronomy 28:63. But, every now and then, it’s helpful to let one aspect of truth jolt our complacency. Those who are in Christ need not fear this. Indeed, the cross makes verse 63 a beautiful truth. You who continue to ignore Christ, be warned! Should death or Jesus’ return find you unrepentant, God will delight over your destruction. The God of John 3:16 (For God so loved the world…) is also the God of Deuteronomy 28:63. The God of Heaven is also the God of Hell. How will you respond to Him?

My response thus far;

God does not delight in the loss of a single soul. This is clearly seen in Ezekiel 18:23

“Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live? Ezek. 18:23”

The Hebrew word Hapes is used in Ezekiel…twice for emphasis. Hapes meaning “to take pleasure or desire”. This word is not found in Deuteronomy.

You fundamentally misunderstand this passage brother.

The Hebrew word Hapes is used in Ezekiel…twice for emphasis. Hapes meaning “to take pleasure or desire”. This word is not found in Deuteronomy.

What is the word in Deuteronomy and what is its meaning? Thanks.

Suws, meaning to rejoice in, take delight in. Strong’s number 7797, if anyone’s interested.

in order to really understand what that passage in Deuteronomy means, you have to look at the context. Deuteronomy is part of the Torah, the first 5 books in the Bible. I’m not a complete expert on this, but I’ve taken a few classes about the Old Testament. Around the time Deuteronomy was written, many of the people of Israel were beginning to question their faith and give into other pagan religions. This was more of an emphasis of the idea that if God could give it to you, He could also take it away. It in no way refers to Hell because in the Old Testament there was no such thing as hell nor was there a heaven. To this day, many Jews still do not believe in both of these places.
This is also the Old Testament; a covenant signed in blood by the people of Israel by means of their sacrifices. God never changes. He is just, loving, and can be wrathful; but His people do change. God was gracious enough to give us His son to fill our part of the bargain in the Old Testament and to instill a new Law of Love (aka The New Testament).

If God delighted in sending people to Hell, Jesus’ coming would have been for absolutely nothing because all He did was save.

Hopefully that helps!


If anyone has information on the contextual differences between the words if appreciate that as well.

Suws- to exalt , display joy,

Hapes- from the word Chaphets- to delight in, take pleasure in, desire, be pleased with.

I think exalt would be more accurate in the Deuteronomy verse.

This helps a lot and confirms what I wrote back to him; (FYI He appreciated the comment and softened his view a bit)

Your original thoughts especially in light of the title, seemed to very much advocate a joy in watching souls destroyed. If God found joy or delight in such things I would think he would not bother dying on a cross to save anyone.

I generally like your clarifications and think that whatever happens God delights in, as whatever happens is his will and is what is supposed to be. That said, God went to great lengths to create us to be with him and when we screwed that up he went to great lengths to redeem us so we could return to him.

Maybe it could be said. God delights in those who are meant to be with him, when they choose to be with him, and those who are not to be where they chose to be…separated from him.

I think in regard to Deuteronomy, we should be careful in conflating the rules of a physical nation on earth with the eternal nature of individuals.

It’s one thing for God to say to the nation of Israel, "If you keep following me I will make your nation great. And if you reject me I will delight in the just destruction of your nation which I gave you in the first place. " and another thing to equate that with eternity.

God delights in the destruction of evil, as anyone who is good should (as un-PC as that sounds in today’s age). There are two ways God can bring this about in a person: 1.) The person repents and so does not become tied up with evil by Christ’s sacrifice or 2.) the person is impenitent to the end and is one with their evil so must be damned. God prefers the just mercy of 1 to the simple justice of 2 always, but either are good and so something God ought to be ‘delighted’ when the free will of a person may necessitate 2 at times. To think the damnation in 2 is bad is to despise justice and to prefer some evil for a lesser good (e.g. injustice in exchange for absence of suffering). God is good, thus does not. I personally think the Ezekiel verse emphasizes God’s universal preference of 1 to 2 without denying God’s love for justice.

It is important to emphasize though that the evil is not really part of the person on the most fundamental level. “Tied up with evil” is actually a pretty good way of phrasing it - their damnation is because of a refusal to relinquish evil and turn towards God. Thus, when a person is damned, it is good that the evil that they are tied to is rejected by God, but it is bad that they choose to remain tied to it - and that is something that God leaves up to us.

So it is entirely possible to lament that the damned are damned while also recognizing the destruction of evil as a good thing - the lamentation comes in because a person, created good (if damaged by original sin), has chosen to side with evil and thus lose the greater good of heaven, not from the fact that evil has as its consequence destruction. Obviously evil ought to fail, but that doesn’t make it any less tragic when a person ties himself to that sinking ship.

When we say God delights in the destruction of anything the word delights is being used anthropomorphically, for God is Spirit. Your response to your friend is very good. Your friend should also be reminded that Bible passages must be read within context, and with the proper spirit. God bless you.

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