Love OR Hate - A Question OF Deity
Let me ask you a simple question. Is your God a God of Love or Hate? Obviously if you don’t believe in God you can skip this conversation altogether, however, if you continue on, you still may learn something very interesting.
Love and hate, they seem like polar opposites don’t’ they. Let’s find out if they are and in order to do that, we need to define what we mean by the terms. So according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary;
A strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, like the maternal love for a child.
An attraction based on sexual desire, like the affection and tenderness felt by lovers.
An affection based on admiration, benevolence or common interests, like the love for his old schoolmates.
An assurance of affection.
A warm attachment, enthusiasm or devotion, like a love of the sea.
The object of attachment, devotion or admiration, like in baseball was his first love.
A beloved person, often used as a term of endearment or it can be used as an informal term of address.
An unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another, as in the fatherly concern of God for humankind or a brotherly concern for others.
An intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger or sense of injury.
An extreme dislike or antipathy.
A loathing toward someone or something, like in having a great hate of hard work.
An object of hatred.
Since the term hate has fewer definitions, let’s begin with the premise that God is a God of hate. What would the world or our lives here on earth be like if God were a God of hate? I believe there are only three potential outcomes if this premise were true.
First, if God were a God of hate, then one major question comes to our minds; why would he have bothered at all to create mankind (yes, of course in a discussion about God we also have to factor in our consideration that the world was actually created by God and did not occur as just an accidental evolution, as some would speculate, however, that topic should be addressed in a separate paper in order to keep things simplified in this analysis)? If an ethereal or celestial being possessed hate as its core characteristic, then it would be averse to being around, spending time with or even associating with anything that would provoke that essence of hate. Hence, a God of hate would most likely not have created the world as we know it, since it would have aggravated him to have done so. Therefore, we must consider this strike one against the idea that God is a God of hate.
However, we haven’t totally struck out with this theory yet, so let’s examine the next possibility. If God were a God of hate, and decided to create the world as we know it anyway, in spite of the known aggravation it would have caused him, he would have done so only for his own enjoyment. Gritting his teeth he would have gone ahead and created the world even though it would have unnerved him to so it. Then once in existence, he would have “played” with his creation perhaps for a bit but then his hate would eventually drive him to destroy his own creation, since he would come to loathe it.
How much time would have elapsed prior to initiating its destruction? We can’t know for sure but anyone who has ever felt and regrettably reacted to extreme anger knows that it doesn’t take long for things to escalate out of hand and so I don’t think we’d still be lingering here on this sphere for very long. Great pleasure would most likely be derived from this cosmic being through the upheaval and trashing of his object of hate. With mankind wiped out, either the cycle of creation and subsequent destruction would be repeated on or on for all eternity or the deity would resort back to our first suggestion and avoid the aggravation all together and just stop recreating this ball of floating life.
Considering that we have been in existence for several thousands of years (if not millions according to some) although we have been brought time and time again to the brink of extinction but not totally annihilated, I think this idea has to be considered strike two as not very plausible.
Lastly, in our consideration that God could be a God of hate, we would have to consider a further development in our previous idea that God did create this world for his own destructive enjoyment but rather than destroying it himself, he was to be entertained by our own self-destruction. How would this play out? Well mankind would be tolerated only so long, and then God’s hate would prompt him to set things in motion for mankind to start attacking and destroying itself. Of course this would carry on again and again over time as a recurring nightmare or even possibly be ended in one gigantic snuff-out by God himself. Given the shape our world is in currently and how numerous the senseless acts of violence are, I believe this is the only idea with any merit thus far, especially when we consider what some view as texts that give their lives purpose and meaning.
"As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help." Quran 5:33
"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement." Quran 8:12
"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them." Quran 9:123
"O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.6"
"Allah's Apostle said... 'I have been made victorious with terror." Bukhari 52:220
"Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us" The words of Muhammad, prophet of Islam. " Tabari 9:69
Even if we should consider this a valid possibility; that a God of hate would follow our suggested progression, if played out to the fullest, when one religion, people, race or whatever succeed in carrying out God’s hate upon all others, with no one left to hate, eventually the hate of God would turn on the ones who previously were victorious in God’s hateful efforts and they themselves would be destroyed by their own God.
Yet, before we draw any solid conclusions, we must examine the other side of the coin. Could God be a God of love? If so what things could we draw out of this idea?
To begin with, we would have to agree that God is not a God of a lovey-dovey or simplistic kind of love, where everyone and everything is happy, pleasant and good. If God were this kind of God, then the world would not have any problems, since driven by his unsophisticated love, God would immediately step in and fix anything that appeared to be going wrong. Since we can easily see that this is not taking place, as so succinctly and bluntly put by the New York Daily News magazine cover regarding the recent December 2nd 2015 San Bernardino shooting that read 'God isn't fixing this', we can eliminate this kind of love as a possibility from our consideration.
Rather, the kind of love we are considering is like a parent’s kind of love; that is a tough love. One in which the best interest of the one loved is maintained above all else. If God were a God of this kind of love then the creation he made would be given every opportunity to prosper and grow. Sure, warnings would be given to help correct and nurture the loved one but in the end only the decision of the loved one would be allowed to control the outcome, not the corrective action of a loving God. In other words, genuine love must allow for the loved one to have a free will in order to love or not to love in return, otherwise it’s not love, its coercion at best and enslavement at worst.
So, using the example of a loving parent, if the parent were to tell the child not to touch the stove because it’s hot, the child hast to be allowed to touch the stove if it is their choice to do so. However, genuine love will provide adequate teaching, proper guidance, advance warring and even illustrative example to try to prevent injury to the loved one.
Taking our example further then, when the child is told not to touch the stove, the child will also be taught what the concept of hot is, perhaps by showing how the pan on the stove sizzles when food is place in it, or how the water in a pot begins to boil. They will maybe be shown a contrast of something cold versus something hot. They will be given the parameters (how far the heat radiates) of the stove. In other words, they will be allowed to come close and feel the heat without getting actually burnt, so they understand even better what hot means.
They will be warned and perhaps even re-warned quite often about the results of what getting a burn will mean and how painful it can be. If this still doesn’t work and the teaching, guidance or warning have not deterred the child’s attempt to touch the stove, the last resort will be to show the child by example. In a pure loving relationship the parent will endure the pain and touch the stove to show the child that it burns and the child can observe the results of the discomfort and the agony the heat caused the parent.
Lastly, in a truly loving context, when all else has been both said and done, if the child is still intent on touching the stove for themselves, love must step aside and let the child do so and experience their own consequences. This is the kind of love that I believe God is when the Bible tells us “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1-John 4:8 KJV
At this point, or maybe sooner, some have considered the possibility that maybe God is both, a God of love and hate. Before we consider this option, we must first understand what we mean by the use of the word; God. In other words what characteristics must God possess in order to be crowned God? Well, let’s again use the Merriam-Webster Dictionary to first define the term.
Accordingly, God is defined as:
The supreme or ultimate reality, the being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe.
The incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit and/or infinite Mind.
A being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship, specifically one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality.
A person or thing of supreme value.
A powerful ruler.
What we conclude from this is that to be a God one must be a being that is all powerful and completely in control. With this understanding, we can move forward with the consideration that God may be both a God of love and hate and not just one or the other. What then would that look like? As an all-powerful being, he would desire to exercise his attributes of both love and hate but then his subjects or objects of love/hate would never know what to expect. One moment they would be embraced by love and the next moment slapped in the face by hate. It would create chaos and confusion and certainly a resistance by mankind to have anything to do with God. One attribute of neither love nor hate could prevail over the other as all-powerful and thus by the very definition could not be considered God. By the way, we call this type of person displaying this type of behavior a sociopath or psychopath; meaning one who is mentally unstable. If God were mentally unstable, then he would not be in complete control as is required of Gods. Therefore, God cannot be both a God of love and hate.
There is one last possibility we must consider and that is perhaps there is more than one God. Yes, some would say that’s got to be the answer since it would explain all our worldly chaos and upset. With more than one God involved in trying to run the show, we would be caught in the epic battle going on between them. Really? Did we forget the definition of God? In order to be God, complete control must exist and if there isn’t complete control then it is not God!
What is the answer then to the turmoil in our world? My friends, I believe it is the existence of God as a loving God. This God is doing his best to allow his creation to prosper and grow, but due to true love’s constriction, he must allow for free will within the creation. Thus, we witness the effects of this free will exercised in the child wanting to have things his own way rather than following the teaching, guidance, warnings and even example of this loving God. I also believe there are those (both spiritual and physical) who would want to take the place of God and be God themselves. However, these want-to-be’s don’t understand true love and act as gods of hate, as a result, either knowingly or unknowingly.
So how do we find the answers or solutions to our problems? I don’t believe it starts with asking questions of ourselves, but rather asking questions of our deities (the things that we worship and venerate as God in our lives). Is it a God of love or hate? If our God is calling for destruction of another or the elimination of a certain way of life, we understand how that will play out, because once the hate is satisfied on another, the deity’s hate has only one place left to reside, be back on ourselves. Hence, I believe we must follow a God of love who teaches us with written words, guiding stories, even warning messages and best of all by tender example.
Here are a few things that I find in the bible that help me understand and believe this is so:
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1-Corinthians 14:33 KJV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV
“For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” 1-Peter 2:20-21 KJV
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’ ” Matthew 22:36-40 NIV
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1-Corhithians 13:4-6 NIV
Finally, some may say what about the judgment of God. In other words how can a loving God condemn and be a judge over the actions of others? Again we come back to the loving example of a parent. If the child still chooses to touch the stove the consequences are all his and not the responsibility of the parent. While this may seem harsh to some it is the only way for true love to operate. Could this really be the way of the God of the Bible? Well here’s the answer I find:
“And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” John 12:47-48 KJV
The conclusion is this: In the end you must decide which scenario above you believe and desire to follow after but rest assured, you can always switch sides. A hateful God may hate you for doing so but a loving God will never stop loving you.
Thanks - Rick