A few questions…The… question is about God's hatred, his abhorrence of the wicked. What exactly does this term mean? In Deuteronomy 28, God says He will rejoice in destroying the people that forsakes His ways. In other places, he talks about laughing at the wicked as their plans come to naught (I suppose as He precipitates them down to Hell). The Old Testament treats often of the destruction promised evil-doers. The Psalmist sometimes asks for the destruction of his enemies. How am I supposed to reconcile all of this with a loving God? I know Jesus suffered and died for us all, good and wicked, but I am beginning to rethink how I see his teachings, His Passion, and his death.
My understanding of the matter is that God hardens hearts. In one passage, He says you have before you fire and water, whichever you choose shall be given you. In other words, if I forcefully and constantly choose to be a hedonist, God won't spend my whole life preventing me from being a hedonist; he will abandon me to those false pleasures which have become my god. St. Alphonsus, in "Preparation for Death," talks of the way God withdraws His grace from the impenitent and leaves them almost completely unable to repent, easy prey for demons at the hour of death. These to me are examples of God's hatred: if you resolutely choose to contradict Him, He will largely abandon you to your way… How would you have me understand God's hatred? Also I would like to hear your interpretation of the words toward the end of Psalm 138: Have I not hated them who hated thee, O Lord? With a perfect hatred I have hated them and they have become an enemy to me. Is this the passage Jesus was talking about when he taught you have heard it said that you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but amen, I say to you, love your enemies and do good to those who hate you? What does this passage (about perfect hatred) mean?
Why does God seem to change His teaching in this matter?... As always, thanks for the materials; they are eye-opening and educational. Thanks also for the counsel. Jason B.
Jason, thank you for your question. God’s mercy is for those who fear Him (Luke 1:50). When His mercy is mentioned in Scripture, it is given to those who fear, obey and cooperate with His grace. Those who begin by fearing Him and obeying Him then come to see His love. That is why Scripture teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 110:10). But those who spurn Him, deny Him and disobey Him get His wrath. And it is an awful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, as St. Paul says (Heb. 10:31). What I think is important to take from your e-mail is that God’s truth is a serious thing. He casts the wicked into Hell for all eternity; and He tortures them day and night for ever and ever, as the Apocalypse says. This is important for us to understand because there are many people we hear from all the time, especially among the “traditionalists,” who reject the truth because they are too liberal. They refuse to believe that this many people could be condemned by God and could be going to Hell. They need to re-read the words of Jacinta of Fatima: “Lucia found Jacinta sitting alone, still and very pensive, gazing at nothing. ‘What are you thinking of, Jacinta?’ ‘Of the war that is going to come, and of so many people who are going to die and go to Hell.’” (William Thomas Walsh, Our Lady of Fatima, p. 94) And it must be repeated that God is not unreasonable, of course. The people who go to Hell deserve it because they obstinately refuse to see the truth. God’s yoke is sweet and His burden is light (Mt. 11:30) for those who believe the truth, as people should – and for those who want to do the right thing with a pure intention. But for those who deny the truth or refuse to see things God’s way or refuse to obey Him, it is an awful thing.