Gods Anger

Is God still angry today? I mean if you read the old testament you will see mentions of his anger and wrath a lot. I assume he is still angry today?

“Anger”, like “God’s right hand” and “God walking in the Garden of Eden”, is an anthropomorphism. In other words, it’s a literary device that uses human expressions as a metaphor to capture the otherwise ineffable and inexplicable. (St. Paul tells us as much in the Epistle to the Romans.)

In the case of “God’s wrath”, what is really being referred to is the sovereign justice of God - His absolute prerogrative to punish, as well as to show mercy. When he brought plagues upon the Egyptians, or exile upon the Israelites, it was an act of divine retribution for their sins. To forget this, and to imagine that God throws temper tantrums in the fashion of Donald Duck, is to miss the literary mastery of Moses and the Prophets. :slight_smile:


I’d add that the catechism teaches that, at the Fall, man conceived a “distorted image of God”. Knowing himself to be out of line with God’s will, with resulting shame and guilt, but still not ready or able to be reconciled, Adam knew deeply the profound sparation that had taken place-a wound all humanity shares with him. Even we easily tend to think of God as distant and justly angry. But our faith actually reveals that God never moved; we did-while God is justly saddened and offended by sin, especially the first sin by which man effectively scorned and rejected Him, the enmity comes from man’s side, not His. “They hated Me without reason”, Jesus tells His disciples in John 15, quoting Ps 69:4.

When the time was ripe in human history Jesus came to reveal the nature and will of God most fully. God wasn’t pleased with our sacrifices/burnt offerings, or with our futile and generally hypocritical attempts at righteousness by sterile obedience to the Law; He knew we needed change. He desired mercy, compassion; He wanted us to come to love Himself and neighbor. That’s what our justice consists of, that is what makes this universe worth living in, and that, love, is revealed to be the very nature of God. And, BTW, to get a decent description of that nature we can read 1Cor 3. Those who know God no longer fear Him, at least fear Him in the sense of dreading His power, because “love casts out fear”. (1 John 4:18)

Jesus definitively revealed God’s existence, His power, His kindness, His humility (amazingly), His goodness, mercy, forgiveness, and the enormity of His unconditional love for man in spite of our sin and even hatred of Him. He proved eternal life by the resurrection and desires that all live with Him in eternal happiness. But He won’t force us to love Him.

Excellent point. :thumbsup:

Those who know God no longer fear Him, at least fear Him in the sense of dreading His power, because “love casts out fear”. (1 John 4:18)

True. Hence the distinction between perfect and imperfect contrition. :wink:

Jesus definitively revealed God’s existence, His power, His kindness, His humility (amazingly), His goodness, mercy, forgiveness, and the enormity of His unconditional love for man in spite of our sin and even hatred of Him. He proved eternal life by the resurrection and desires that all live with Him in eternal happiness. But He won’t force us to love Him.

Very true.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three in one, is always at peace and happiness.
St. John says that “God is Love”. And somewhere else it says that “God chastises those whom he loves.” This is what is seen by men as God’s anger. But in reality, he uses bad times to wake humanity up to the harm they are doing to themselves and to redirect them back to their true happiness and purpose.

Some will bring up sickness and death in an attempt to target God’s anger and indifference. But this is what man has done to himself from the beginning when he chose to eat of the fruit that would poison himself against the counsol of God. And Jesus, God’s beloved Son of the Father, came to lift that sorrow from our shoulders by putting that misery on himself for our sakes. So that our sorrow and death would be no more, and that only peace and happiness would be our fortune.

In the old testiment, Noah and the flood, is a prime example used to demonstrate God’s anger at men. But in reality, mankind was so corrupt, that only a few good ones could be saved in the ark to save mankind from itself. So again God’s chastisement is seen and expressed as anger, when again it is God’s providential plan at work for man to return to its intended goodness, so that mankind could provide a saviour to the world.

Interesting… specifically where in Romans?

Romans 3:5 (NAB)

“Is God unjust, humanly speaking, to inflict his wrath?” (italics mine)

The sentence construction (some translations have “humanly speaking” in brackets for clarity)…

Romans 3:5 (Douay-Rheims-Challoner)

“Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)

…makes it clear that when St. Paul speaks of God “inflicting his wrath” or “taking vengeance”, he is using an anthropomorphism, rather than being literal. The context makes it clear that he is referring to the retributive aspect of God’s justice, not literal anger.

I meant 1 Cor 13 in my post above, not 1 Cor 3

Very well put :thumbsup:

Thanks, but I can’t really take credit. Most of these ideas are from the various annotated Bibles I own.

The same principle can be used to understand God’s “jealousy”. God is not literally “jealous” and does not “stalk” us; however, to truly love Him and His holiness is not compatible with the worship of other gods. In other words, “jealousy” refers to the absolute loyalty that God demands from His people. :slight_smile:

I will take an opposing view to most other’s on this thread. God can be angry. Anger is not incompatible with either mercy or love. We know for a fact that Jesus became angry. Not all anger is wrong. I do not agree with the statements on this thread that all mentions of God’s anger are simply anthropomorphisms.

Is God angry now? I suspect He is angry about one or two things in the world.

I agree that God hates sin-and that righteous anger over sin is justified, demonstrated by Jesus, and experienced by ourselves at times albeit much more rarely since our anger is often not-so-righteous. But there’s a tendency in us-and this sometimes carries over into our theology, especially that of certain Protestant stripes, to see God as just plain wrathful, looking for an excuse to pull the trigger on sinful man. We regard God more in the manner of how we would play God, of how* we* would react to being offended, which usually means “an eye for an eye”. But it cannot be over-emphasized just how much God loves and forgives man-how He desires that all should turn from sin and towards His love and the eternal life He intends for us. Jesus demonstrated* this* as well: that God, Himself, would suffer an excruciatingly humiliating and painful death at the hands of His own creation to prove what He should never have to prove: a love that we can only barely begin to fathom the depths of: an ineffable, unimaginable, infinitely huge love that goes way beyond what we would ever anticipate God would do.

fhansen, I agree with the tendency of some Protestants to focus on God’s wrath, and almost ignore His mercy and love. But this is a Catholic forum, and I think the much more prevalent tendency among modern Catholics is just the opposite. This thread is an example, with post after post implying an impossibility of God actually being angry: all biblical references to the contrary are just projecting human qualities onto God.

I have a hard time ignoring so many passages, especially several very explicit examples of Jesus’s anger.

For most of us, in our fallen state, the vast majority if times we become angry is likely sinful due to being out of proportion to the offense. I would suggest that a better example of anthropomorphicism with regards to this topic is our being unable to believe that God’s anger is always just and never exclusive of His love.

It seems to me that if we believe that God is just, and has infinite love for His creation; and then consider such atrocities as the murder of millions of Jews during WWII or millions of unborn babies today ( the list could go on); it is impossible to answer the OP’s question with anything besides “yes”. Yet no one can bring themselves to say that.

The problem with this stance is that anger is an emotion (or to use an older term, a passion.) Every emotion is a reaction to something or someone in the environment, and thereby implies a change. If I get angry with someone, I have changed.

God is Eternal and unchangeable - this has been acknowledged by Church philosophers for centuries. Therefore, He cannot have passions in the human sense, because that would imply change, and God does not change.

The fact that Jesus displayed anger at times is a manifestation of his humanity - He is truly God and truly man. Yet, it’s also instructive to look at what he did when he was angry:

  • expelled the moneychangers from the Temple with a rope of cords (note, no mention of him attacking or killing anyone)
  • rebuked the Pharisees for their obstinacy and hypocrisy (note, this was a verbal admonition very much in the vein of the Prophets)
  • rebuked Peter for his objections to a suffering Messiah (same as the above)

People who want and desire a “fire and brimstone God” (often on the basis of early life experiences) should also reflect on the following:

And when his disciples, James and John, had seen this, they said: Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?
And turning, he rebuked them
, saying: you know not of what spirit you are.
The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save.

(Luke 9: 54-56)

*And the servants of the good man of the house coming said to him. Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? Whence then hath it cockle?
And he said to them: An enemy hath done this. *And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go and gather it up?
And he said: No, lest perhaps gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it. **
Suffer both to grow until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn, but the wheat gather ye into my barn.

(Matthew 13: 27-30)

God’s ways are not our ways. Trying to remake God in our image is wrong.

Anger is an emotion for us at times, not for God. Same with joy, love, etc

Love is not an emotion or a warm and fuzzy feeling. That’s a lie that the modern world has sold us. At best, such phenomena are approximations (or “epiphenomena” if you will) of what love truly is.

To love is to will the good of another. (St. Thomas Aquinas). God wills that we should be saved through faith in His Son and following the teachings of His Church. That is how He loves us. Love is not sentimentality.

Similarly, happiness can be an emotion, but joy - perfect joy - is a state of being in the presence of God, and beholding the Beatific Vision. That is what the “Joy of the Lord” is about. We get glimpses of it in this world, but only in the next will we see face to face.

That’s what I just said.

God is infinite and outside of time. If an action occurs which makes Him
Angry, that action is literally present to Him throughout eternity. Hence His anger is not an emotion or does not change Him. Same thing as if something pleases God.

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