Scriptural Passages That Say God Hates Some People


I was speaking with a Muslim apologist when he gave me the following Scriptural quotes that indicate God doesn’t love everyone. Here they are:

Psalm 5:4-6

4 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
    with you the wicked cannot dwell.

5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
    you hate all who do wrong.

6 You destroy those who tell lies;
    bloodthirsty and deceitful men
    the LORD abhors.

Psalm 11:5

5 The LORD examines the righteous,
    but the wicked and those who love violence
    his soul hates.

Romans 9:13
Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

What are we to make of this? Does God hate the wicked?

I’m guessing he missed the self-condemning irony in pointing that out to you?

St. Thomas Aquinas answers this question in his Handbook of Theology. If you’ve never read it before, the Handbook can be confusing because it always starts each chapter by arguing Against Catholic doctrine. He sets out several detailed arguments Against Catholicism in the form of “objections” by an imaginary opponent in a debate. Then, St. Thomas explains what Catholic doctrine actually says and then answers the objections of his imaginary opponent.

His chapter on hatred has this title:

“[Is] hatred of one’s neighbor…always a sin?” (Summa Theologiae Part 2.2 Question 34 Article 3)

His answer is:

“hatred of one’s brother, if we consider it simply, is always sinful.” (ibid.)

His imaginary opponent gives this objection:

“nothing wherein we imitate God can be a sin. But it is in imitation of God that we hate certain people: for it is written (Romans 1:30): “Detractors [are] hateful to God.” Therefore it is possible to hate certain people without committing a sin.” (ibid.)

St. Thomas answers this way:

“love is due to our neighbor in respect of what he holds from God, i.e. in respect of nature and grace, but not in respect of what he has of himself and from the devil, i.e. in respect of sin and lack of justice. … Consequently it is lawful to hate the sin in one’s brother, and whatever pertains to the defect of Divine justice, but we cannot hate our brother’s nature and grace without sin. Now it is part of our love for our brother that we hate the fault and the lack of good in him, since desire for another’s good is equivalent to hatred of his evil. … God hates the sin which is in the detractor, not his nature: so that we can hate detractors [in this sense] without committing a sin.” (ibid.)

If you want to read the whole chapter, it’s available here:

I hope that helps. Please let me know.

Here is an outline of a famous sermon by Jonathan Edwards titled “Sinner’s in the hands of an Angry God”. Gives a particular perspective from a Protestant enlightenment point of view.

  1. God may cast wicked men into hell at any given moment.
    2.The Wicked deserve to be cast into hell. Divine justice does not prevent God from destroying the Wicked at any moment.
    3.The Wicked, at this moment, suffer under God’s condemnation to Hell.
    4.The Wicked, on earth - at this very moment - suffer a sample of the torments of Hell. The Wicked must not think, simply because they are not physically in Hell, that God (in Whose hand the Wicked now reside) is not - at this very moment - as angry with them as He is with those miserable creatures He is now tormenting in hell, and who - at this very moment - do feel and bear the fierceness of His wrath.
    5.At any moment God shall permit him, Satan stands ready to fall upon the Wicked and seize them as his own.
    6.If it were not for God’s restraints, there are, in the souls of wicked men, hellish principles reigning which, presently, would kindle and flame out into hellfire.
    7.Simply because there are not visible means of death before them at any given moment, the Wicked should not feel secure.
    8.Simply because it is natural to care for oneself or to think that others may care for them, men should not think themselves safe from God’s wrath.
    9.All that wicked men may do to save themselves from Hell’s pains shall afford them nothing if they continue to reject Christ.
  2. God has never promised to save us from Hell, except for those contained in Christ through the covenant of Grace.

What we have to understand is what the word “hate” means within the context of each verse cited. After all, Jesus told us that anyone who doesn’t “hate” his mother or father, etc. cannot be his disciple. This is where a reliable Bible concordance is useful.

What is means when Scripture says that God hates the evil person is that he hates the heart that revels in evil. That’s only to be expected, isn’t it? If we deliberately and with full knowledge commit evil acts do we not deserve God’s judgment that we are evil? And does not that evil deserve to be hated? God doesn’t revile the innocent man nor even the man who does evil through weakness or coercion, but he does hate those who do evil from a heart of evil for they have judged themselves as against God before God agreed with their judgment of themselves.

However, God’s mercy is always waiting for them to repent of their evil and turn to God to receive his loving forgiveness and turn their lives around. There are many examples of this in history. So, God’s hatred of evil doers doesn’t need to be eternal if the person is willing to repent. As long as we are alive we can turn to God in humility and he will forgive us and restore us to his friendship.

Unfortunately,the only fruit that sermons such have “Sinners in the hand of an angry God” have produced is terrifying people into believing.The belief is not caused by a person wilfully choosing to love God with all their heart & mind.

OP.I think the answer probably lies in researching the languages that the scriptures were original written in as they have been translated to English.
The original translation of the words 'hate" etc may mean something slightly different.
It is impossible that it means God/Jesus literally hates because Christians are called to be like Christ and love people.It is impossible to both love and hate someone.


I don’t think that is true about this sermon though. It has, for centuries, been a reminder of the need for our need to “fear”, meaning respect God, and particularly Christ. John 3:36 tells us those who believe in Christ will have eternal life, but God’s wrath will be on those who don’t believe/obey him.

Whether that is “hate” or not, I don’t know. I do know I don’t want to be subject to his wrath.

Strictly speaking, hate is not necessarily the opposite of love. It is possible to hate a person yet still love them. I do it all the time. In fact, I pray for people that I hate.

The general definition of hate is to intensely dislike or abhor. It does not mean to not love.

I looked in my Koine Greek dictionaries and the word “emisesa” (the word used in Psalm 5:5 and Rom 9:13) means to hate or detest. It is also possible for the word to mean “less loved” but I find no evidence that it means “not loved”.

Some great responses, everyone. I think I now understand the issue and can respond to my Muslim friend. Thanks! :slight_smile:

…the problem with reading Scriptures as if it were a textbook or a novel is that the Truth is not Revealed in bite/crunch size bits…

Let’s start with Esau… this passage is prophetic of a child that has not even been conceived in his mother’s womb… so why would Yahweh God have a reason to hate him?

Though I am not a linguist, I would suggest that Hebrew (and perhaps some other languages in that region) did not have a better term for expressing opposite thought/feelings.

Still, here’s what actually develops:

4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. (Genesis 33:4)

…both brothers were Blessed by God–though Jacob was chosen as the son of the Promise.

While it is true that Scriptures are very adamant about God’s rejection of that which is unrighteous… it is also true that God hates evil but not man:

19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: (Deuteronomy 30:19)

18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 1:18-20)

23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.

29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? 30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. (Ezekiel 18:23, 27, 29-32–read the full chapter)

Our God is not a malevolent, bloodthirsty, and vindictive God bent on our destruction. He wants us to become as He:

44 For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: (Leviticus 11:44)

Maran atha!


Great answer.

To me,disliking someone a lot is not the same as hating them.
Hate is what ISIS feel for example.

Well the dictionary disagrees with you.

However, I do agree with you to a certain extent. That is why I wrote hate is “not necessarily” the opposite of love. It all comes down to context and I don’t think God hates in the same way ISIS hates.

Indeed, God doesn’t hate for the same motives as we fallible human beings do. We usually hate out of fear, bigotry, greed, etc. rather for pure reasons. God’s reasons to hate sin, and thus the unrepentant sinner, is that mortal sin destroys love, and God is love, thus mortal sin destroys our relationship with him.

Still, even as God hates such a sinner for his hardness of heart, he loves that person, as well–as his creation, for whom he sent his only Son to die to redeem all sinners, great and small alike. Jesus was the personification of that when he castigated the Scribes and Pharisees while lamenting his people’s lack of faith and rejection of his love.

We cannot understand such a paradox because we are not divine nor perfect in our loves and hates, as God is. Trying to fathom the depths of God’s loves and hates is impossible for us. We can only see how committing mortal sin versus God’s love, active in our lives, affects us. Our perspective is a bit skewed–which is why we need to “take on the mind of Christ” instead of relying on our own understanding.

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