Is God's love unconditional? Discuss


Hi. Do you think God’s love is unconditional? This came up with a close relative today and I thought his comments very wise. I will tell them to you below, but first I will tell you why it was brought up. We are having difficulty with another relative that is verbally and psychologically abusive to us. We have been bearing this for many years and he (the wise one) is throwing in the towel and advising me to do the same. Our relative (the difficult one) is telling us we are bad Catholics/Christians if we do not love her unconditionally.

So the wise relative told me, “Tasha, this whole unconditional love thing is a myth. Even God’s love is conditional–and He is love”!

I know most people would fight this statement tooth and nail. But I was thinking about it and maybe my wise relative is right. If unrepentant people go to Hell and Hell is the absence of God–wouldn’t you be lacking God’s love there? You get what I mean, I hope. These are the life situations that make my head hurt from thinking! Any opinions are welcome. Thanks.

P.S. He also told me to stop picking up “the snake” and hoping it wouldn’t bite me. That it’s foolish to believe otherwise. And that Jesus shook the dust from his sandals and moved on when he couldn’t get through to people.


Not at all. God’s love is more unconditional than a woman’s for the child in her womb - and He tells us so in scripture. ‘Does a mother forget her baby? Or a woman the child within her womb? Yet even if these should forget, I will never forget you. You are carved in the palm of my hand.’ (Isaiah 49:15-17)

I hear stories all the time about people who love, with every fibre of their beings and totally without conditions, their drug-addicted or abusive or otherwise problematic parent, child or spouse. They will tell you so frankly themselves.

And who, in spite of that unconditional love, regretfully put parent, child or spouse out of the house, or leave home themselves, or get a divorce, because even though they love them unconditionally they can’t LIVE with the drugs or the abuse or other problems.

See God simply can’t live with sin, which is why sinners (and even those who aren’t utterly perfect like the souls in purgatory) are temporarily or permanently excluded from heaven and His presence.

Doesn’t mean in the slightest that he doesn’t love the sinner unconditionally. And I think that’s part of what makes hell so awful. I think that the souls who are there DO feel His love.

My take on Hell is that only after their deaths are they truly aware of the unconditional nature of His love, what a wondrous thing it is, and how much their sin is an abuse of that love. What a foolish thing it was to reject it. How awful it is to live eternally separated from it when they could have chosen to live eternally united with it.


“And who, in spite of that unconditional love, regretfully put parent, child or spouse out of the house, or leave home themselves, or get a divorce, because even though they love them unconditionally they can’t LIVE with the drugs or the abuse or other problems”.

This is a good point, Lily. Yes, I do love this difficult relative, very much so but I just can’t take the abuse and the only way to stop it is to cut myself off from her completely. But how to explain that I still love her–to her? “I love you forever, but goodbye forever”?


complete misunderstanding of the meaning of unconditional love. does not mean allowing or condoning sin or abuse, it means loving even when it is necessary to separate from the person in order so they will be able to stop the cycle of sin and abuse. that is what God does. When we withdraw from him because of our sin and abuse of his love we are totally dead spiritually. It is necessary so that we recognize our depths and so are able to know our need is him, so that we can ask for healing.


Oh I think God can make us understand such a thing perfectly well. He’s not limited in His means of communication.

Of course we all, just and unjust alike, will face Him after death for our judgement. It may well be that the unjust as well as the just will ‘see Him as He really is’ and ‘know as we are known’, as St Paul puts it.


PuzzleAnnie, another good point! Wow! OK, maybe I can sleep now–my brain is unwinding a bit. Will be back tomorrow for more. Thank you Lily and PuzzleAnnie.



I didn’t sleep.

I guess what my wise relative was trying to say was–Jesus said, “If you love me keep my ways”. So if you choose not to obey Him (Ten Commandments) then you will choose Hell. That’s conditional isn’t it?? I know this sounds like a complicated philosophical discussion, but I need to put it into application. I know that we CHOOSE to go against God. But if His love is truly unconditional, Hell would not exist. Or can He love the souls in Hell? That seems to be wrong if Hell is the absence of Him. :confused:

Does that make sense? Perhaps I’m just trying to ease my guilt.


Another thing that troubles me is the lack of action behind love. I know this guy and he swears he loves his parents but he never visits them. He never calls them. Not for birthdays, not Christmas, not if they are ill or in the hospital. He may answer the phone if they call him, but most likely not. There is no action behind the word. I don’t want to be this guy. And I don’t want to feel that there is no action behind my love if I cut communication with my troubled relative. Ugh.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit