Can God hate? How about love someone more than another?


I was reading Talbott’s article, “The Love of God and the Heresy of Exclusivism”, and I ran across this quote:

"If God so much as loved Esau less than he did Jacob, that would itself suffice to diminish his holy character and to contradict the Pauline claim that God shows no partiality to anyone."

It has raised a few questions. First, can God hate someone? Talbott says that a God who is love cannot hate anyone (from the article). What do you think? Also, based on the quote above, can God love someone more than another? Jesus had his favorite disciples. Does God really have to love everyone exactly equally? What do you think?


God doesn’t have “favourites” in the way we think of “favourites” - neither does God love anyone less than he loves another. His love for every person is infinite. Expressions of that love are not always the same. But every expression is benevolent.

This is my opinion anyway.


The initial reaction would be that God probably has varying degrees of love, in the same way we do, however, upon reflection I suspect that Talbott/Lefein are right, because He claims to be infinite, impartial and love itself. Can I prove it? Probably not because personally I can’t really comprehend anything infinite. e.g. how could I tell if God almost infinitely loved Esau but infinitely loved Jacob?


I don’t think God hates anything God creates. Might as well go straight to the extreme case: Satan. Does God love or hate Satan?

I agree with Talbott that ultimately there is a sense in which God loves both Jacob and Esau equally and unconditionally. Jacob can have greater value to God in terms of fulfilling some purpose (say, establishing a Messianic line in the Jewish nation). But these are proximate goals, not ultimate goals. Ultimately, both are loved equally.

I haven’t read Talbott’s article, but I don’t see how equal and unconditinal love negates exclusivism.



Does God love or hate Satan?


I once fought passionately for the position that God must hate Satan. I couldn’t conceive of the possibility that God loved Satan. Now I’m pretty sure God loves Satan as unconditionally and infinitely as he loves any sentient being he created.



A good question, indeed. I’m not sure, but I’d be inclined to think God loves everyone equally. He is just using some as vessels of honor right now, whereas some are being used as vessels of dishonor. I do believe Judas was an elect, just in a different way that Paul was. However, after the Consummation of the Eons we will be all alike.


I think the “God is love” is sometimes overplayed in that God is trapped by our definition of Him. “Sorry God, you have to love me no matter what, after all, you ARE love” I would often think of my own parenting when I thought of hell, i.e. I would never take my child and punish him forever after giving him inadequate information to work with. But, I can think of circumstances where I would no longer want anything to do with my children. If one of my kids became, say, a torturous child molester - one who kidnaps children, tortures, molests and murders them, I would want nothing to do with them. I would side with the victims and want no mercy for my child. There is a point where I could say that I would no longer love my own children. It would take a lot to get me there, but it definitely could be done. I can see where there could be a point where there would seem to be “nothing to redeem”. The “God is love” God would seek after the person until that person was “to the point of no return” where sin had completely consumed them. I wouldn’t see it as God violating His love if he annihilated someone like that. I haven’t checked the logic of what I just said - I’m just thinking on paper here and it seems that it wouldn’t contradict God’s love if he stopped at some point and said, “no more”.


I agree with what you are saying except for the last statement. I’d surely (and I suspect you too dirtboy) would love our terribly sinful child even though we may want them to spend the rest of their life in prison. Because we recognize that in that sort of extreme circumstance prison is what is the right place for them and to allow a sense of justice for the victim.

The difference with God is that he is able to make all things new, so his love has the power to actually really right the wrongs of the past.

I think this is part of the PS doctrine, that through Jesus death and God’s judgement passing onto him, there will be in the age to come a real and complete reconciliation between God, sinners and the sinned against, and everyone will recognise that justice has been done, and all wrongs have been right-ed.