Does God hate anything? What does God hate?

When you begin to type search terms into Google’s search box, the system offers you different options to finish what you are typing. For the search “God hates “, Google suggested:
“God hates us all” [apparently it’s a heavy metal band album name]
“God hates astronauts” [some type of comic or graphic novel]
Then if you type one additional letter, you get some amusing suggestions to finish that last word. Apparently, “God hates … buffalo, charades, divorce, evil, figs, goths … zombies”. I’m not sure what type of algorithm is used to finish searches this way.

But it is a legitimate question to ask: Does God hate anything? What does God hate?

The answer is simple. “God is truly and absolutely simple” [1] The Divine Nature is so thoroughly One that all the acts of God are identical to His Nature. God is not divided into what He is and what He does. God loves as an act (what He does), but God also is love, by His very Nature. God knows truth and God is truth. God shows mercy and God is mercy. And all these truths about God are One: God is love is truth is mercy, etc. Everything that can truly be said about the acts of God can also be said about His Nature. But to fulfill absolute unity of Nature, God must be His acts. The Divine Nature is One Divine Eternal Act, the act of being everything that God is and of doing everything that God does. And in God, being and doing are identical.

If God were to hate anything (even astronauts or figs), then God would have to be hate by His very Nature. This cannot be true. For we know that God is Love.

[1 John]
{4:8} Whoever does not love, does not know God. For God is love.

Hate is incompatible with the love of God. If you hate any individual human person, or any groups of persons, you do not love God.

{2:11} But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness, and in darkness he walks, and he does not know where he is going. For the darkness has blinded his eyes.

{3:15} Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding within him.

{4:19} Therefore, let us love God, for God first loved us.
{4:20} If anyone says that he loves God, but hates his brother, then he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he does see, in what way can he love God, whom he does not see?
{4:21} And this is the commandment that we have from God, that he who loves God must also love his brother.

Now certainly the term “hate” can be used as a figure of speech. For example: “I hate ice cream flavors that have bits of candy bar in them.” Jesus even used the term “hate” as a figure of speech:

{14:26} “If anyone comes to me, and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and yes, even his own life, he is not able to be my disciple.

Jesus was not literally asking his disciples to “hate” their family members. He was using the term “hate” to indicate a reasonable detachment from family members, so as to love them and many others in a spiritual way, not with mere emotion.

Does God figuratively hate any human person? No, not at all. Not even the worst sinner.

We can say that God “hates sin”, but even this expression is figurative, since God is His acts and God is Love, not hate. Sin is so radically different from the Love that is God’s Nature, we are justified in using that figure about sin.

{5:21} And, as long as they did not sin in the sight of their God, it was well with them. For their God hates iniquity.

{16:20} You shall justly pursue what is just, so that you may live and possess the land, which the Lord your God will give to you.
{16:21} You shall not plant a sacred grove, nor shall you plant any tree near the altar of the Lord your God;
{16:22} you shall neither make nor set up for yourself a statue. These things the Lord your God hates.”

The above list of things that God hates — planting a sacred grove [to a pagan god], planting a tree [in honor of a pagan god] near an altar of the Lord your God, or setting up a statue [to a pagan god] are all acts of idolatry. So the essential point here is that God hates idolatry (the worship of false gods). But like God’s hatred for sin, this too is a figure of speech.

God is Love. He does not hate any person or group of persons, nor does He hate anything in all Creation. God loves everyone, even us poor sinners.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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[1] Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, Q. 3, A. 7. “On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. iv, 6,7): ‘God is truly and absolutely simple.’ I answer that, the absolute simplicity of God may be shown in many ways.”

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