Oct 11, 2006

Does God Hate the Devil?

Mrs. M called me the other day and asked the above question? She said God teaches us to love everybody, even our enemy, so He must love the devil. I wasn't quite prepared to answer this question, but I felt sure she was wrong and there was some contradiction involved.

The web provided several items on the subject, mostly from Protestants--even Billy Graham stated that God hated the devil. The Catholic Encyclopedia article on the devil did not answer the question, so it appeared to me that the answer was a matter of theological speculation. [Suarez, De Angelis was referenced as being the prime Catholic resource on the angels and Satan.]

So armed with a few printouts of interest, I took three grandchildren with me to visit Mrs. M in the nursing home. On the way, I explained to the 12-, 10-, and 3-year olds the question that Mrs. M had asked. The 10-year old immediately said, "But how can God hate his own creation?" What a question! The Bible is clear that the devil is our adversary and we must oppose him, but does God hate the devil with some divine perfection? My own answer follows, subject to immediate revision should the Church have already addressed this issue.

God and the devil exist outside of the dimension of time in our universe: God as creator of time and all else that exists, and the devil as a spiritual being created by God. God loves the devil because God loves His own handiwork. However, the devil has an unrestricted free will because he is not tempted by anything external to his own nature. God hates the devil for what the devil has freely chosen to become.

In contrast to our sins which can be forgiven in this world, the devil's sin is unforgivable. Even the sins of our enemies can be forgiven. Moreover, Christians are required to be part of God's plan to give His love to our enemies so they are not eternally damned. Not so for our enemy the devil. Once the devil sinned, he sinned forever.

A basic principle of Christianity is "Mercy in this world; justice in the next." God is unmerciful outside of time, because then His mercy would contradict His justice--and God is NOT contradictory! The devil's sin is unforgivable because he cannot change; change requires intelligent beings to exist within time.

When Satan rebelled, God may have constrained the devil to the straitjacket of time to suffer in hell and to tempt man, yet not to know the future. God foresaw the devil's arrogance, yet the devil's pride and his temptations of man are part of God's plan in time.

20 comments:

Radical Catholic Mom said...

Out of the mouth of babes. . .

Great topic and great question!

Tony said...

God is love, He is not capable of hate.

Julie said...

My kids, 7 and 9, asked this precise question just the other day, and I've been wrestling with it ever since.

I can't reconcile in my mind the apparent contradiction of an all-loving God creating something that He knew justice would require Him to hate.

Maybe this is one of those things we simply aren't meant to comprehend while still limited by time and space.

Therese_Rose_Morning said...

Tony, God is indeed Love, but He is also God, He is not "incapable" of anything. God does indeed hate, but His hate is a perfection that we cannot comprehend. Proverbs 6:16-19 Six things there are, which the Lord hateth, and the seventh his soul detesteth: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked plots, feet that are swift to run into mischief, a deceitful witness that uttereth lies, and him that soweth discord among brethren.

God is also merciful, and if we turn away from doing that which He hates, He joyfully forgives us. The devil cannot turn back like we can, he is immolated in that which God hates, and he loves what God hates, making himself hated by God.

Anonymous said...

pity the poor devil he must take the sins of all the world onto himself

Open Minded said...

Proverbs 6:16-19 and other Biblical passages would seem to indicate that God hates the sin, not the sinner. If so, this would apply to the Devil too.

Assuming one subscribes to the traditional Christian understanding of Satan's angelic origins and the subsequent rebellion in Heaven described by the Book of Revelation, God hates what the Devil has become. I'm sure, like any loving father, God laments the fact that his firstborn and eldest son would turn out his sworn adversary.

He obviously hates Satan's sinful ways, but I don't think a Creator could ever truly *hate* his Creation any more than a parent could truly *hate* their child, no matter how terrible the kid. Even Timothy McVeigh's mother described him as "a loving son and happy child growing up, a child any mother could be proud of".

One can imagine God thinking the same way about Lucifer, whose name means "light bringer" and meant that he was obviously one of God's greatest creations before he rebelled. God similarly regrets whenever we sin, but I don't think he could ever hate anyone, angel or human.

Tony D said...

Interesting question.. I see your logical conclusion, of course your conclusion leads to another problem. You assume that the Devil rebelled outside of time, but you also said that things don't change outside of time. It was explained to me by my theology professor that angels are in fact in time and thus were able to fall from grace. It could very well be true that the Devils sin is unforgivable, but to say that it is because he is outside of time is an illogical conclusion. Of course, you could argue that the devil was outside of time, until God created hell and sent him there, thus hell became a place outside of time for eternal separation from God.

Anonymous said...

Many people forget that God has many attributes, not only love. He is also just, and he shows justice to Satan.

Elyana (cs.llanes@verizon.net) said...

This question has always bugged me ever since I was little and no one has ever dared try talking to me about it. I'm only 15 and I haven't had any theology classes or anything so I got a bit confused at "outside" and "inside" of time. The concepts are rather mind boggling!

If one needed time to be able to change (I don't understand why one needs to have time, so if someone could explain that to me), then wouldn't Lucifer need to have been "inside" of time to fall? And doesn't he tempt Jesus in the wilderness, so if he isn't always in time, he must have the ability to step into time. Thus, doesn't he have the ability to change?

Does God love satan? I think he does. Who am I to say what God does or does not do, but God is God of love. He is God of justice, too. He will justly punish Satan, but for what he has done, not because of who he is. Just like God will judge our sin, not the identiy of the sinner. He hates the sun, but hating a creation of his? Bah! I can't see it!

God is God of Mercy, too isn't he? Maybe he has a plan for little Lucifer. We never know, he could be the most extreme form of a prodigal son in all eternity!

Another question for this original one arises... Should we love Satan? =)

Anonymous said...

THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY is All
Powerful,All Knowing,and
ever Present. Whatever GOD
does it's forever. The past
present and future are all
planned out by GOD.

Anonymous said...

I would think that God forgiving the Devil him then never having him in his graces again would be a million times more powerful than to hate him.

Anonymous said...

If God hated Esau its safe to assume he can hate the Devil

Anonymous said...

I would like to leave a scripture reference to God hating Esau Malachi 1:13 and Roman 9:13-15........I would also like to say dont try to love the Devil hes evil and the bible says theres No good in him,he will try to hurt you, he doesnt want your love nor the Love of our God,he hates everybody ,including himself.He will go to Hell forever because he hates himself.Remember, theres No good in him ,and loving your neighbor as you love yourself is good and part of the greatest commandment (Mark 12:29)

Rish S. said...

I believe that the word "hate" does not exist within the reach of God. Let's just say that God is the Jury/Law, and the Devil is the Criminal. Ofcourse the criminal deserves to stay behind bars because he did something wrong, and he needs to repent and reflect on himself. So my opinion on this is that God is only punishing the Devil for what he has done. Now if you ask: "Why does other people go to hell? Why didn't God forgive him?" The answer is just simply, it's just like the "law" and the "criminal". Some people did not hear God's warning that if they do not cease their sinning, they will go behind bars/hell.
Thank you :)

bewildered said...

Bewildered...

I have suffered in this world both mentally and physically. Someone please tell me if God created this world then he also created evil as we know it. If He is God of heaven as well, and if He created Jesus, the angels, and satan, then why did he have to create the thing we call evil.

I am suppose to love God with all my heart and soul, but I after suffering so much in my lifetime and I see how others suffer as well, find it bizarre that a God who is so loving can create this thing called "EVIL" to begin with. Is he so loving or is He really the culprit who first made the concept of evil to begin with and then allowed anyone, the sucker (please excuse my choice of wording) became satan who fell into this so called horrible concept of evil. Then once the match was lit it grew like wildfire and has not stopped since Adam and Eve. In our world today evil is omnipresent and we all know evil leads to suffering. So is it Satan's fault or is it really God's fault??!!! Why in the world did He have to create it to begin with??

I'm sorry, I have no disrespect for God I am just trying to figure out this world of His.

Anonymous said...

I believe that God loves the Devil, but hates the Devil's sinful ways and knows he will never change from that. Therefore God realize he must be separated from his presence to eternal hell.

Anonymous said...

Bewildered, God did not create evil, evil is a lack of God, its like darkness, its a lack of light, you cannot accuse light of making darkness. God is a gentleman, and we have the gift of choice, God will never force us into anything.

So as we know God can tell the future, so God obviously saw satan coming, but to think God loved him so much that He still hoped that it wouldn't turn out that way makes me realize that God truly does love satan, but despises what he does.

It a question we all ask, no one can truly give 100% correct answer, I'm just glad God gives me every breath I breathe.

Anthony said...

Here's a two-center from a Baptist pastor (that would be me).

I was considering this very thought today. What really got me thinking about it was the pain and suffering my dear wife is going through. She has been through so much that it even caused me to lash out at her, like it was her fault! It wasn't! Who's fault was it? Well, let me think...could it be....SATAN?!

Well, of course you realize it is more complicated than that, but Satan was the one who got all this started. The fallen world we live in, full of the effects of sin, is rooted in the original actions, and aggravated by the continual attacks of the father of lies, Satan. Yes, sin entered into the world by Adam, but who was the tempter?

Too many Christians forget that we have a mortal enemy. They forget that he is a scheming destroyer. They tend to forget that his minions and he are ever plotting and always dangerous, and in the meantime flirt with him and his tools. If Christians would stop and consider that he really exists and form a hatred of him, then maybe participating in his enticing sins would become more repugnant.

Maybe we have been so absorbed with the love of God that we forgot the reason why Christ died and who wanted him dead. Maybe we need to watch a movie like the one they showed in WW2, "Why We Fight." Souls are at stake.

I hate the Devil. Given the opportunity, I'd like to be there to give him a swift kick when he's tossed into eternal judgment. If for no other reason, I'd do it for my wife.

Human said...

Bewildered your main question seems to be why did God create Satan knowing that he would create nothing but evil. It reminds me of another question I am often asked, If Adam and Eve were not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil then why would God cause it to bare fruit or for that matter even exist. I think both of these questions have the same answer. If the tree of knowledge of good and evil did not bare fruit then Adam and Eve would have had no choice but to obey God and if Satan had not created so much evil we would have no choice but to live righteous lives. So you see without both the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the evil which Satan has since created we would have no free will. God wants us to choose to obey him out of our love for him not just because we have no other choice but to do so

Gabriel said...

God is love. This is true, so declares I John. This means that the very essence of God is love, but just because God is characterized by an invariable, loving nature, this does not mean he cannot hate. In fact, there are several things spoken of in scripture that God hates (check Proverbs 6, Psalm 11, and Romans 9 for a few examples). Obviously in Romans (quoting Malachi) we read that God hated Esau, but do not be deceived. This is not the hate we are thinking of. The Greek word in this passage does transliterate to "emisesa" (Strong's Concordance) and does mean "hate", but the same word that is used here is also used in Luke 14:26 where Christ commands that anyone who is to follow him must hate their family and hate their life. Does this mean that to be a follower of Christ we must "hate" our family members and "hate" our life? No. What we have here is a word that can mean several different things. The Oxford English Dictionary I have here says that hate can mean "to be reluctant toward". Is it possible that when this passage has been translated into English a word was used that has different connotations to us than it did when being translated? Now, about whether or not God can hate Satan. I am not familiar with any passage in scripture that makes the claim that God "loves" all of his creation. There is a difference between God loving humanity which is biblical, and God loving everything he has created which is not. Lucifer, having seen the glorious, almighty God face-to-face, chose to try and elevate himself to God's level and rebel against him (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28). He also continues to wreak havoc in this world (see the fall of mankind in Genesis, I Peter). There is nothing wrong with God hating Satan. Satan's whole goal is to hurt God by hurting us. Why can God not hate Satan?