Barry is the founder and Professor of the M.Div. program for Mindanao Grace Seminary, Philippines.
Does God Love Everyone?
Perhaps this seems like a ridiculous question. But please bear with me. If we went to the vast majority of people who claim to believe the Bible, they would say that God does love everyone. I saw on a recent video that a man said “The consisting teaching of Jesus, the Apostles, and the whole bible is that God loves everyone.” No doubt the gentleman believes this is true. And no doubt the vast majority of people in the vast majority of churches believe that this is true also. We hear this all the time. The most quoted verse from the bible is John 3:16, “God so loved the world.” The assumption is that the word world means every person throughout all time. What if that is not what the verse means? John 3:16 is the most quoted verse from the Bible but it could be the most misquoted verse from the Bible.
People are fond of saying that “God is love.” This is used to infer that God loves every person. God does love the world. And God is love. Does it necessarily follow that God loves every person? It is interesting to me, that people will quote those portions of verses but will never quote from Hebrews 12:29 which says "our God is a consuming fire." Nor do they quote Hebrews 2:31 which says "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of living god."
Some would say that this proves that the bible contradicts itself. How is God love and at the same time terrifying? One of the escapes that people use is to say that God hates sin but he loves the sinner.
Does God love the sinner?
Psalm 5:5 "The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity."
Psalms 5:6 "You destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit."
Leviticus 26:30 "I then will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your remains on the remains of your idols, for My soul shall abhor you."
Psalm 11:5 "The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates."
Malachi 1:2-3 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.”
Jeremiah 12:8 “My inheritance has become to Me Like a lion in the forest; She has roared against Me; Therefore I have come to hate her."
Psalms 106:40 "Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against His people And He abhorred His inheritance."
These verses show that God not only hates sin but hates those who sin. God hates some people. I can find numerous other verses that say similar things but I think this is sufficient. God does not love everyone. God hates not only the sin but also God hates those who sin. How do we reconcile these verses with those that say God is love and that He loves the world?
God is Love and God Hates
The crux of the matter hangs upon the word "world." Strong's Concordance or any other Bible dictionary will give us several definitions for the word "world." We know in any language, that a word is always modified and ultimately defined by the context. We must conclude that the word "world" as it is used in John 3:16, cannot mean every person.
Bible says that God is love and the Bible says that God hates people. How do we reconcile this? God must hate because God is love. He loves what is good, righteous, just, holy, and beautiful. Because He is love He must hate. Because He is good, He must hate what is evil.
Many hold ideas to be true and then turn to the bible to confirm what they believe. They find a handful of verses that says what they presume. This confirms their beliefs. They never consider the totality of the Bible. There is no reason for them to do so. They have proven themselves to be right. In short, they do not have a full view of Scripture.
The Bible is true in its totality. We most hold all verses to be true, whether we like those verses or not.
Barry G Carpenter (author) from Mindanao, Philippines on June 05, 2020:
North Wind, Thank you for reading and for the comment. Your comment on the unchanging character of god is very astute and appreciated. Thank you.
North Wind from The World (for now) on June 05, 2020:
Agreed. Reading in context is important. God is good and just. He must hate evil and does.
I am familiar with many people argue that those verses from the Psalms and from Malachi are Old Testament and not New Testament as though God's character changed somehow by the Book of Matthew but this is not true. God has always been the same and thankfully, always will be.
Barry G Carpenter (author) from Mindanao, Philippines on June 03, 2020:
Thank you for reading and for the comment.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 03, 2020:
A nice explanation of an obvious fact to me. Thank you.