The Opposite of Love is not Hate

What is the opposite of love? It is not hate, but something far worse.

Peter Kreeft wrote

The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.  For we can love and hate the same person at the same time, but we cannot love and be indifferent to the same person at the same time.  Hate does not necessarily drive out love, but indifference does. Love is food. Plants and animals, children and adults all feed and grow on love.  Hate is like poison, but indifference is like starvation. Even poisonous food can nourish (in small doses) but nothing never nourishes.  That is why children from oppressive, tyrannical, or combative families sometimes grow into strong individuals.  They have to fight for their identity, and they often win.  But children from “I don’t care” families seldom learn to care themselves.  They may have been cared for, but not cared about; so they care deeply about nothing.  They neither love nor hate; for even hate is a form of caring.  Hate is a disease, but indifference is a death….Fight is more right than flight; a scowl is closer to a smile tan a snore.  It is at least a face. -Peter Kreeft Love is Stronger Than Death pg. 19-20.

So God hates sin, evil, wickedness and yes, the sinner and the wicked.

But he is never indifferent to it or us.  

Yes, at the same time he loves sinners.

Is this a contradiction?  No, not if the opposite of love is not hate.

“God loves everyone” is not a Biblical concept — it is too simplistic.  So is “God hates all sinners.”

He loves , but He also hates.

God accepts us as we are, he hates what sin does to us and the choices we make that may make us more sinful–and loves us too much to keep us that way.   In an article written by David Clark of Toccoa Falls College, “Philosophical Reflections on Self-Worth and Self-Love,” the concept of self-worth and self-love are analyzed to bring into light the hate and love of God directed toward his people.

According to Clark, humans are not worthy of God’s love, but nevertheless they are worth it.

He explains:

“The Biblical message does declare us to be unworthy of God’s attention and affection.  In our sinful state we are separated from God.  We do not have the ability to overcome that separation.  And nothing we do places God under obligation. …We must be proud (positive self concept, self-respect, self-love). We must be humble (self-forgetting). Yet we must not be proud (self-centered, self-seeking, self-serving), nor must we be humble (self-depreciating, self-condemning). The biblical answer is multi-faceted; no human being can be worthy of God’s attention.  But even the seemingly insignificant soul in this fallen world is worthful to him.”

He quotes Jesus to support his argument that man is worth something to God.  Jesus said that God sees man as worth more than the birds of the air:  “Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are.[Matt 6:26]” Or:  …If you had one sheep, and it fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you get to work and pull it out? Of course you would.  And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep...” [Italics mine Matt 12:11-12]

God at  same time loves us enough to provide a means of sanctification even though he hates what sin does to us.   Love, justice, evil, and sickness all meet at the same time in the same historical place.

The same place that love and hate meet, but indifference never does…..

The Cross.






Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jacqueline Landeros

    I have never much thought about love and hate as being a form of caring until I read this article which is very interesting. the example as to how god loves us but hates what sin does to us is great. I believe that if it is true that he loves us all then there should be no need for people to be scared to where they will be going after death. whether a person knows what the bible says or not they all know that sin is very bad in the eyes of god. since they know this fact but continue to sin then why are they so scared where they go if it was there choice. although I feel all people sin even without trying god should forgive all if he truly loves us and there should not be a difference as to where we end up after death because there should just be one place to look forward to once that time comes to a person.

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