Does God HATE the ones whom He will not save?

Many of us would be quick to say that God’s love is universal to all mankind. The majority of us grew up singing songs like “Jesus loves me” and “Jesus loves the little children” in which one line in the song states: “Jesus loves all the children of the world”.

This is something I struggled with recently that was spurred on by a few comments made on my post, Westboro Baptist No More. In the doctrine of election we know that God unconditionally chooses people before the foundation of the world to be adopted as sons and daughters in Christ. It would seem that it’s not exactly the easiest thing to reconcile the doctrine of election and God’s universal love.

In the Scriptures we read of God’s amazing love towards sinners, but normally it’s towards his people, the elect. Obviously God doesn’t love all people the same way. If he loved everyone in a saving manner, then all would be saved. But we know this is not true. Not all are saved.

British Baptist leader Erroll Hulse, dealing with this very question, has written,

How can we say God loves all men when the psalms tell us He hates the worker of iniquity (Psalms 5:5)? How can we maintain that God loves all when Paul says that He bears the objects of His wrath, being fitted for destruction, with great patience (Romans 9:22)? Even more how can we possibly accept that God loves all men without exception when we survey the acts of God’s wrath in history? Think of the deluge which destroyed all but one family. Think of Sodom and Gomorrah. With so specific a chapter as Romans [1,] which declares that sodomy is a sign of reprobation, could we possibly maintain that God loved the population of the two cities destroyed by fire? How can we possibly reconcile God’s love and His wrath? Would we deny the profundity of this problem? (Erroll Hulse, “The Love of God for All Mankind,” Reformation Today [Nov–Dec 1983], 18–19).

Yet, Hulse recognizes that if we look at the Scriptures, there is no escaping that God loves all human kind, even the ones he will condemn. “The will of God is expressed in unmistakable terms,” Hulse writes. “He has no pleasure in the destruction and punishment of the wicked” (Ez. 18:32; 33:11). Hulse also references Matthew 23:37, where Jesus weeps over the city of Jerusalem, then says, “We are left in no doubt that the desire and will of God is for man’s highest good, that is, his eternal salvation through heeding the gospel of Christ.”

This is one of the things that irks me most about Westboro Baptist. They take bits and pieces from the Scripture and form their understanding based upon select verses rather than from the whole text. As Christians we are called to declare the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). In Paul’s second letter to Timothy we read that, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). We can’t build a comprehensive theology out of a few select verses. If we do, then by definition, it is something less than Christianity. With Psalms 5:5 in our head we can’t start picketing dead soldier funerals holding signs that read, “Thank God for dead soldiers”. Well then: How would Jesus treat those who will reject him their entire life?

In Mark 10 we read the story of the rich young man. The young man approaches Jesus inquiring how he can possess eternal life. He claims he has kept the law in its whole from youth. Jesus then says, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” We read that the man loved his possessions greatly and left disheartened. He loved his stuff more than he wanted eternal life, more than he wanted to follow Jesus. One line we often skip over in Mark 10:21 is; “Jesus, looking at him, loved him”. We see here that Jesus loved this man even though, by what we read in the Scriptures, the man never repents of his unbelief. Jesus obviously loved this man, an open, non-repentant sinner. He loved him.

The 20 year old dad at the cafe
Remove Your Swagger and Take Up Your Cross
Some Revised Calvinistic Parables..
Spitting into the Sky
  • Sagrav

    A love that sits by passively as you are tortured for eternity is a hollow thing indeed.

    • Katherine

      The Bible says God will judge all fairly when the end comes. God is just. People who haven’t heard of God and have not had a chance to make a decision about whether they believe or not obviously won’t be damned. How could a perfect God do such a thing? But those who knew about God, who had a choice and refused, they will be punished. It is a sad thing and no one wants that for anyone. Especially God. It pains him and breaks his heart, we see this in the story of the flood in Genesis. We, as people, need to realize that we’re evil beings. We know what’s right and disobey God all the time. I’m no exception. We are saved by amazing grace. Our culture tells us we are entitled to things, but we’re not entitled to anything at all.

      • Steve


        One of the things that makes Calvinism so difficult for people is this dilemma. If God chooses all from the beginning of time, and we’re all living out God’s election… it is hard not to reach the conclusion that God has disdain for some of His creature. That some were simply made for Hell.

        In defending God’s justice, appeals always cite genuine human freedom – just as you did. However, it is precisely that freedom which Calvinism doesn’t really have a place for.

        • Katherine

          Steve, I don’t think God has hatred for any of his creatures. Yes, he does hate what the wicked do, which can be seen many times through the Bible, but John 3:16 says that ” God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” It doesn’t say, ” whosoever God chose specifically and predestined” We were all damned. In the OT the punishments often seem harsh, but they are really what all of us deserve. What we have always deserved. The penalty for sin is death. That’s why God sent his son, so we could have a choice and be with Him. Yes, God knows who will ultimately choose him and who won’t. But he doesn’t see someone who he knows will not choose him in the end come close to becoming a Christian and say, “Oh no, can’t have that. They must go to hell.” God loves us and wants us to choose him. He has already chosen all of us, but now its up to us. We either choose him and try to tell others the good news that we can be saved after all, or we refuse to believe. I appreciate your comments and the comments of others because they make me think and examine my faith. Something that I couldn’t don on my own.

          • John Ingram

            Psalm 5:5 says “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”
            It is important to understand that hate and love are not necessarily opposed to each other. Hate is an emotion, and love is a choice. God does both.

            Concerning John 3:16, it is important to recognize context. The word “so” in “For God so loved the world…” translates to “in that way.” The previous two verses reference Numbers 21, when God sent fiery serpents against the Israelites. It was only after many had perished that God commanded Moses to raise up a bronze serpent than any who looked upon it would not be killed by the bites of the serpents. The opportunity was not available to those who had already died. The point is that salvation is not offered to everyone.

            “It doesn’t say, ‘whosoever God chose specifically and predestined.’”
            That doesn’t change anything. It is impossible to believe if you aren’t chosen. The issue concerns causality. Non-reformed Christians believe that people choose to believe in Christ. Reformed Christians believe that Christ chose who will believe in him.

      • Sami

        “People who haven’t heard of God and have not had a chance to make a decision about whether they believe or not obviously won’t be damned.” – Katherine

        What then from Romans 1:19-20?
        For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. SO THEY ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE.

        • Steve

          Mr. Sami,

          In that passage, it would seem that Paul expects people to know the things which “God has made plain” to us in nature. Those would include “his invisible attributes, his eternal power, and divine nature.” Note that this does not say “that He is the God of Abraham who was incarnate in Christ Jesus.”

          It would seem to me that Paul is saying, “One can arrive at Theism simply by observing nature.” I look at that passage as a condemnation of Godlessness and atheism, but not necessarily condemning all those who haven’t heard the Gospel. There are other passages in Scripture which can round out our understanding of this further.

          • Sami

            So, are you saying that as long as one plainly believes in a god? As long as one doesn’t have to be godless or an atheist but to rather just believe in a god?

            Yes, it didn’t say that the God there is the God of Abraham, but it did say from the passages before that “Grace to you and peace from GOD our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7)

            In the OT, God made a covenant through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham became known to be Israel’s father in faith because it was through Abraham, God made a covenant and made Israel as God’s people. And in Abraham’s faith, he became an ancestor to a nation chosen by God.

            That was from the old covenant. The new covenant is now through Jesus, God’s only Son, perfect and without sin. Jesus paid the price and reconciled the people (not only Israel) and planted in their hearts, God’s Word. It was through Jesus that God adopted those who called him as their Lord. And it is in this new covenant that we can call God as our Father.

            This God, Paul mentioned, is still the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but this God, I can now call my Father through the saving grace of Jesus Christ, despite that I am not an Israelite but a Gentile.

            I’m not a Calvinist or Reformed. I call myself neither. I can only call myself as a child of God. Growing up, I don’t know God, but there’s been an upwelling in me that there’s something. Something that needs to be discovered. Until I reached young adulthood, God and His Word was taught to me. I finally found what that something was, but rather Someone.

            We all have that sense in us that there must be a Higher Being. Whether atheist or theist. I don’t believe in atheists, I’m sure they believe in something. But if we seek for that Higher Being so much, even if it could take years of perseverance, we will be found eventually. We just have to choose.

          • Steve

            Why is it that the phrase, “Are you saying…” is always followed by something the person wasn’t trying to say? And why do people feel the urge to embed their Christian testimony in every discussion?

            I am merely pointing out the boundaries of what Paul said and didn’t say in that one passage. Theism is attainable through reason – the godless have no excuse. Romans Ch2 expands on this understanding by talking about the judgement of those who “don’t have the law”.

            And there is lots more that sheds light on the issue. Acts 17:29-31 , John 15:22 , and Luke 12:47-48 for starters. We have to take all of the Bible into account on this issue – on any issue.

  • Sharon

    Your definition of love is morally bankrupt if you can say with a straight face that God both loves and chooses some people for damnation.

    • Katherine

      I can see how you might think that, but those who become Christians and get eternal life are God’s adopted children. When someone in a community adopts a child we all celebrate it and respect their decision because adoption is a wonderful thing. We don’t become angry with them because of all the children they didn’t adopt. I’m not saying I understand this. God is too great for anyone to comprehend, and we don’t always know why terrible things happen. We just have to trust.

      • Steve

        Yes, Katherine, but in another sense we are all God’s children. He created our souls, we are made in His likeness.

        You wouldn’t be angry at a person who doesn’t adopt every child. But would you be angry at a Father who doesn’t feed all of his children? In order to explain how God is just, you’re forced to say that some people are not God’s children. That… is a very sad thought.

      • Sven

        That’s a pretty poor metaphor.Unlike adoptive parents, God does not have limited resources. Also, adoptive parents aren’t the ones who decided the kids should be in the orphanage in the first place.

        If you’re going for the adoption metaphor, God would be like a parent who put some of his kids up for adoption because they weren’t obedient enough. Except there are no other parents to adopt the kids, and they never grow up, so they stay in the “orphanage” forever until they behave enough to get back into their father’s good graces. This is, of course, sadistic and evil.

  • John I.

    “If he loved everyone in a saving manner, then all would be saved.” The latter does not logically, nor necessarily, follow from the former. Any meaning in that statement depends on the meanings of the words used therein. What is meant by “in a saving manner”? One underlying assumption of the statement is that God can be and express love without loving one of his created humans in a saving manner. Another assumption is that to “love in a saving manner” necessarily means that God will determine that the person subject of that sort of love will “be saved” – participate in the resurrection to everlasting life in Christ. A further assumption is that God cannot be or express a love that results in salvation unless that love determines the salvation of its subject.

    If God is love, and he is omnipotent, and he has the power to express “saving love” (the kind that determines that a person will be / is saved), and he has the desire to exercise this love in a determining manner, then why are not all saved? A saving love that is determining is deficient if it does not result in salvation.

    Jesus, as part of the pre-existent Trinity, had determined before creation that the rich man would not be saved but would spend eternity in hell. Jesus determined that the man’s eternal suffering and agony would bring Him, the Trinity, glory for all eternity. All the rich man gets is a few years of wealth and then billions upon trillions upon unlimited years in agony.

    So, in what sense at all is Jesus loving the rich man?

    The discussion in the post renders the concept of “love”, in the statement “Jesus, looking at him, loved him”, meaningless.

    • Stephen McCaskell

      The love Jesus has towards this rich young man is one of compassion, one of common grace, not saving grace.

  • Jack Bobzien

    But the Bible does not simply say God is love(and by that I mean the extremely vague English word with various meanings). It says God is Charity which the is the selfless willing the good of the other. If God truly wishes the good of all how can you claim he has chosen some before time to eternal damnation.

  • carol tello

    I never fully understood the love of God for the hardened lost until I experienced it myself. I gave birth to a son, gave him a Biblical name, home schooled him, raised him in the church, read the Bible to him many times before he could read and then encouraged him in a relationship with Christ. In his late teens he slowly turned away and then completely from Christ into a life of sin and anger for raising him to be a christian. It was then that I fully loved him, and it crushed me. I happened to be going through an in-depth Bible study on Isaiah. I could feel God’s pain at loving a son (Israel) and have him turn away from his Maker. You don’t truly know how much you love a child until they turn away from you. God loves the hardened sinner. We need to love the hardened sinner too.

    • Matt Thornton

      Carol –

      I’m so sorry to hear of your pain, and your strained relationship with your son. None of us knows which way the heart will turn.

      I think you’re making an important point about fully loving when that love is thrown into relief by suffering. Perhaps it might help to remember that your plan for how your son would ‘turn out’ was just that, your plan. Unlike the story from Isiah, we are not the ‘makers’ of our children – we’re merely their parents with a responsibility to help them get started. We don’t have a maker’s claim on them.

      Just a thought.

  • Sharon

    But, Carol, I bet you wouldn’t have chosen before his birth that he would reject your values, and then condemn him forever for doing so.

  • pagansister

    I find it very interesting that so many people know just what God will or will not do. If a child rejects the teaching of his/her parents as they mature—-how is that a problem? The best we can do is raise them with love and care and hope they grow to be “good people”. Letting them “fly” on their own is scary, but needed. IMO, those that do not accept the divinity of Jesus are not condemned to any type of eternal punishment. There are so many valid religions on this earth, and IMO, none are THE faith. Also, those that do not have any interest in or belief in a religion are going to be just fine if there actually is any “end of the world” saga.

  • jason greene

    Calvinism is the worst form of blasphemy. It pays such wonderful praise to the majesty of God, the sovereignty of God, the power of God, and the “grace” of God; yet it has for a God a sick twisted monster that chooses to create some people for the sole purpose of burning them in eternal hell. I will pass on such nonsense; I am SURE that Jesus does too. Sick very sick stuff…..
    SSG Jason D Greene, US Army
    Christian, Methodist, Seminary Student…..

    • Steve

      Worst form of blasphemy? Surely you can think of greater forms.

    • Pete Williamson

      With all due respect, SSG Greene, that’s not the God Calvinists believe in. Where have you gotten your information?

  • Hilary

    And this is why I am so glad to be Jewish. I don’t need to worry about who God will or will not save, it’s not my business. I can trust God to deal with every body else for who they are – the righteous of all nations have a place in the world to come. The truely righteous go straight to heaven, the truely evil get annihilated, and the rest of us get some level of review of the consequences of our lives, and then go to heaven. Or get reincarnated to go over a few points. Or whatever. The important thing is to do well in this world here, and all people are capable of living good lives, regardless of if they are Jewish or not.

    This is from an Orhtodox Jewish website. I disagree with him about liberal Judaism hemoraging people and the consequences of mixed marriages, but even amoung our most tradtional followers, we can recognize that God can love other people then just us. Duh.


  • Chery

    Who has known the mind of Christ? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—

    We can’t assume God chooses how we choose. His selection process is solely based on GRACE. That’s something we can’t bottle up into a human concept of Love. We are not called to fully understand how God makes up His mind. We are called to know OUR personal election 2 Peter 1:10. It’s a tough word to except. It is His desire that all be saved but He also knows that this wont happen. We can’t change God mind we can only align our selfs to His will. So… Does God hate those that will not be saved, NO. He hates Sin. He hates knowing that some will perish because He doesn’t delight in destruction of the wicked.

    For your consideration, a loving brother in The Lord

  • Shelly

    I think we are prideful if we think that we somehow deserve more than hell with our depraved and sinful nature. It is NOT that God chooses hell for us, it’s that in our sin we have chosen it for ourselves. I won’t pretend to know the ins and outs of God showing saving grace to some and only common grace to others. Who am I to question God almighty? But I do know, that in our sin, He could simply extend true justice and we would ALL be separated from Him eternally. But in his mercy He extends grace to every human being in the sense that life and breath and waking up is a gift of grace, that the world benefits from the love of Christ via the Church, etc. He further extends grace to some and they are called out, redeemed, and saved from what they deserve. Why? I don’t know other than it’s for His glory. Mercy shines brightly when there is much to be saved from. Only God knows those details- the why, the how…..I’m okay with that, for I am NOT God. The idea that we would have to be punished for our sins (umm, hello) is clear in scripture. We are not deserving of anything but that punishment. How dare we raise ourselves up higher than we should be and condemn the way God moves and works among HIS creation?! Man’s flesh/sin/pride rears it’s ugly head again. We want to have a say, we want to rule and reign in our own lives, we want to cry injustice. Ha. Makes me shake my head.

  • Jason Garwood

    Yes this is a difficult topic, and we ought to approach it with tears (Phil. 3:18).

    But I have read a lot of comments here that are philosophical in nature and not biblical. Seems to me that Romans 9 is clear:

    18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
    19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”
    20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”
    21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?
    22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
    23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-

  • Pete Williamson

    In the hope of promoting dialogue that is based in what is actually believed by Reformed/Calvinist types, may I suggest that you consider this post by Kim Riddlebarger in which he interacts with one of the official Reformed confessions (the Canons of Dort) on the doctrine of reprobration.


  • pagansister

    Had anyone noticed that the Bible is full of contradictions? How can it be reliable for guidance?

  • Araghast

    I was wondering if I could get some external perspective on this, as its something I have been thinking about for a while and not sure what to make of it.

    When I try and break it down and get to the core foundations of the christian faith I find myself reaching the following concepts:
    1. That there is an anthropomorphic (which is to say a being that has some traits that could be recognised as human like) entity (hereby referred to by god) that is responsible for the creation of the universe and the development of life on earth.

    2. That by virtue of having created the universe, this god has sovereignty over the universe and us.

    3. As an extrapolation of the second concept, that this god has ownership over mankind and the universe, and can do whatever it desires with it.

    4. That human beings were created with the primary purpose of serving the whim’s of this god and always defer to his authority.

    5. That this god created us with the capacity to deviate from this purpose.

    6. That this god has set out a punishment for those who deviate from this purpose, and conversely has set out a reward for fulfilling this purpose.

    7. That we should fulfill the primary purpose that this god set out for us.

    8. That humanity as a whole has deviated from this primary purpose through a culmination of events and decisions.

    9. That those who have deviated from this purpose deserve the punishment because they have deviated from the primary purpose.

    10. That christ is a perfect example of fulfilling this primary purpose, and that by emulating him, we can fulfill the primary purpose and recieve the reward.

    If others can perhaps comment on this and offer an analysis of this perspective I would appreciate this.

  • pagansister

    Basically, this life is not a dress rehearsal for anything—this is IT, folks. That’s all she wrote. :-) Make the best of it—-

  • rvs

    The Body of Christ should remember that Calvin killed Servetus, which is to say that a particular kind of Calvinism has at its core something rather ugly.

  • Sandrajune

    The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Psalm 11:5