Sinners in the hands of an angry God?


I was discussing this topic with a friend the other night, and wanted to get your impressions.

I don’t want to ask about what Jonathan Edwards says (so much) in his great Fire and Brimstone sermon entitled ‘Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God’ as I want to ask a much more basic question revolving around his concept of God: does God get angry with us?

We, as Catholics, seem to be at a unique divide. Our churches and our homes are graced by the image of the crucifix – at once an expression of great suffering, but ultimately one of great Love. Our tradition, both theologically and spiritually, bespeaks of many wonderful reflections on the nature of the crucifix and the sacrifice of Calvary, including how Christ’s arms are extended in order to embrace us. And yet, despite all of this, we Catholics are known for our heightened sense of guilt and exacting scrupulosity. We preach that God loves us *so much *that he was willing to die for us, yet we shrink away and fear him when we tell a little white lie or something even more petty.

My pastor doesn’t think that God ever gets angry with us. That makes sense if you *really *think about it. For one, anger is the result of pride and self-love; even a just anger can lack compassion. Plus, his expectations of us are not the high expectations we have for ourselves. He knows that we need him more than we need the breath of life. He knows that we’re bound to sin. What he knows about us is written everywhere – not just in actual texts, but in nature itself.

What do you think? What do you believe? Those are actually two different questions: what you think conceptually about God isn’t always how you react to him based on engrained beliefs.


Well I guess it depends on how you define anger.

The definition from my dictionary says:

anger - a strong feeling of displeasure aroused by a wrong

Using that definition I’d say yes God does get angry.


God is slow to anger and quick to mercy.


Since God is pure spirit he can’t get angry. Jesus could because of His humanity side.We anthromorphise God all the Time and in the OT it is rampant.How else can we relate to Him? Being human we can only understand things through our human parameters. Since God is above all human understanding we can only reflect on him through our very limited capacites.


Actually, if we use *that *definition, then it would be accurate to say that doesn’t just *get *angry, he *remains *angry. In fact, it would almost seem that God is anger.


Good point Epistemes. With the definition I presented it could support God being always angry because of course he would feel displeasure with our wrongs.

I like Eucharisted’s post with “God is slow to anger and quick to mercy”

And we do see many examples of God’s great mercy throughout the entire bible.


Hi “Ep” :wave: My :twocents: … it’s probably more precise to say… “God gets angry”. Yes, I think God gets very angry about things like abortion, social injustice, etc. But that His “emotion” (for lack of a better word) toward the personal sins of each one of us… is probably more like “sadness” than anger. Our sins make God sad… like any parent would feel, on seeing their precious child go astray.

Very true. :sad_yes: This came to mind… “To whom much is given, much will be expected”. Believing, practicing Catholics… are in a way “chosen”. We enjoy the fullness of Truth, within the One Church, founded by Our Lord Himself. Though we realize, we are not worthy of such grace.

With this privilege… comes much responsibility. I think that for many of us… especially those who suffer from scrupulosity… there is a heightened sense of “Oh man, I better get this RIGHT”. Hence, we’re constantly picking over our every action and thought. I’m not saying “scruples” are good… they aren’t. But in a weird sort of way, the scrupulous person does the exact opposite of the hardened sinner (who cares nothing about his/her behavior… or seemingly, about God :frowning: ).

I think the solution, is to try to find that “middle ground”… where we are aware of both our sinfulness and the grace of God, working in our lives. And then, take up the motto that Our Lord gave to St. Faustina: “Jesus, I trust in You”.

I believe I understand the feelings, which prompt this thought. But I respectfully offer a different view. Our Heavenly Father has the very highest expectations for us. He wants us to be with Him in Heaven, for all eternity! :extrahappy: He wanted this so much… that He sent His only Son to suffer and die for us.

You’re right, we need Him more than the air we breathe. And we’re probably going to fall down a great many times, during our earthly lives. But if we’re faithful to Him, we are bound for something truly great. How are we faithful to Him? By realizing our need for Him (as you said); and by repenting when we fall down.

St. Paul says: “For all of you are children of the light and children of the day.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

This passage gives me great hope. It helps us remember what we were made a “part” of, at Baptism and Confirmation. It also reminds me… that God, our Father in Heaven… has expectations for each of us. Just as any father does for his child. And He expects us to keep trying. It’s difficult when we fall down. But I believe that God is always there and ready and willing to forgive me, and help me get up… and on my feet again.

Peter once asked Jesus… “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22).

If Jesus instructed His Apostles to forgive, over and over… how much more will He forgive? Doesn’t sound like an “Angry God” to me. Sounds more like a Merciful, Loving God. Who is always on our side, always ready to help us. Because He wants us in Heaven one day. That is what I think. That is what I believe.

God bless.


I think that our sins do offend God and His justice, but despite all that, He still loves us.

He hates the evil, the sin, but still wants the sinner to repent.

I do believe that God’s mercy is greater than His justice, as Jesus told St Faustina :slight_smile:


i don’t agree… all through the Bible it speaks of God’s anger towards sin…

ys God is above our understanding… to a point.

it is not hard to understand God being angry with such things as abortion… adultery… (God hates divorce - Malachi) and other atrocities…

we are created in God’s image. If we get angry, it only makes sense that God gets even MORE angry… at Sin… selfishness… sexual impurity… doing our own thing and not caring about His ways…

God gets so angry He keeps those who persist in such nonsense away from him… they are not allowed inot Heavne… and it says this all through the Word…


i totally agree…

If we humans hate sin: injustice… murder of the unborn… unfaithfulness in marraige (lust)…

we can only imagine how much God hates it…

and that is why Jesus said taht not many find that narrow way that leads to eternal life…

he said that many will attempt to enter Heaven but “will not be strong enough”…


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