Solution: There is no contradiction in these statements. The difficulty arises when we wrongly assume that God hates in the same way men hate. Hatred in human beings is generally thought of in terms of strong emotional distaste or dislike for someone or something. However, in God, hate is a judicial act on the part of the righteous Judge who separates the sinner from Himself. This is not contradictory to God’s love, for in His love for sinners, God has made it possible for sin to be forgiven so that all can be reconciled to God. Ultimately, the sinner will reap the harvest of God’s hatred in eternal separation from God, or the harvest of God’s love by being with Him for all eternity. But, God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God’s justice demands that sin be punished. God’s love carried that punishment for every man in the person of His Son (2 Cor. 5:21).
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.