Church of the Living God

Does God love everyone?

(This post is part of a series. For an introduction to the topic read, “How ought we read the Bible?” To see all posts in this topic, go to “Does the Bible really say that?”)

You know the song. Jesus loves the little children – all the children of the world.

What does it mean to say that God loves people? God certainly loves the world – John 3:16 is a great illustration of that. This familiar passage shows us how much God loves humanity in general – so much that he sent His Son to die. But does that mean that he loves all humans specifically? We need to do some careful thought before making that leap.We say things like “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!”, and “Love the sinner; hate the sin”, but I wonder if we’ve thought it through.

Let’s look at a few specific passages.

  • “The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.” – Psalm 5:5
  • “The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”  – Psalm 11:5
  • “And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them.” – Lev. 20:23
  • There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” – Proverbs 6:16-19
  • “Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no more” – Hosea 9:15

So how do we reconcile this with a God of love?

God created humans and they rebelled against Him. They wanted things their way. It is we humans who broke off relationship with God. Even so, God loved and pursued humanity such that he sent His Son to save His own. Naturally there have been many who continued to stand in opposition to God. God hates sin and opposes the rebels who cling to it, but He remains waiting with open arms for any who will turn to him.

Does Jesus love the little children? Absolutely.

Does He want all to come to Him? Yes.

Does God always get what He wants? No. He allows people to choose to reject Him.

Does He love all humans equally? It depends what you mean by ‘love’. He extends His offer equally to all. He does not force anyone to choose against their will. Those sound to me like the actions of a loving God. But Does God have the same feelings for all mankind? I don’t think the Bible bears that out. God loves those who have sought and found reconciliation through His Son, but hates those who willfully oppose Him. If we truly love our neighbor, we will show that love by extending God’s invitation to them as well.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” – John 3:36

“And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” – Jude 1:22-23

 

4 Responses

  1. Braden Weber says:

    But God is love, right? How can a loving God–so much that a person said he is love–hate? Am I supposed to tell “sinners” that God detests and hates them? How, then, could they have the conviction that God is who he says he is? Just a few things to ponder 🙂 I’m not saying I disagree with you, I just want to know how you could fit these points into the equation.

    • Scott Smith says:

      Good questions Braden! Since you’re in a pondering mood, try these questions on and see how they fit in.

      If God is love, does he love sin? Does he love it when those who follow him are mistreated? If not love, what would you call God’s attitude toward them? (And what does God call it?)

      As to what we should tell people, I probably wouldn’t lead with that. 🙂

      • Braden Weber says:

        my dad talked to me about this. apparently, the “love” that is used in “God is love” is the Hebrew word for a love done by benevolence or good will, not the love we interpret it as. Anyway, you made another great point there, and I applaude you!

  2. Gary and Pat says:

    Braden, you are a young man with insight to God’s Word. Thank you for investigating a theological concept that many have confused.

    There are pagan people who believe that all people are God’s children.

    Hebrews 11 defies that thinking, for one.

    Why is there going to be a “day of the Lord”?

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