Does God hate me?

19 thoughts on “Does God hate me?”

  1. Well put, Josh.

    I still recall times within my Reformed thinking when I found the “gospel” utterly bitter. When I looked at Jesus I could not find joy, because the God behind His back was so unlike Him. So unpredictable and frightening. Horribly incongruent with the crucified Messiah.

    I’d try to assuage my despair by reminding myself that God was being wholly gracious in saving anyone, yet, that logic was no remedy when Determinism sat above it.

    Your voice is an important one in this conversation. Keep preaching the Crucified King – “the One for the many”

    1. The problem with this criticism of Calvinism is that we do not believe that God causes us to sin – Adam did. Adam had free will. He could have obeyed, and his descendants would be sinless, but he didn’t obey, so his descendants are corrupted with original sin, to the point that we have no capability of righteousness within us, not even to believe in the Gospel by the power of our own will.

      1. I hear what you’re saying John, and it’s a valid contention. But, in fairness, most consistent Calvinists (including Calvin himself) teach/argue that God is the all-determining reality behind everything in the universe, including our sin. That is to say, even within compatibilism, it’s God who predestines, ordains, and renders certain the sins of humans and angelic beings (even the sin of Adam). Many of those same Calvinists might not like the word “cause,” (some, like Piper, are okay with it), but whatever language they prefer, they believe it’s God who has determined all things, good and evil, from the feeding of the poor to the raping of children. You might not believe that personally, but a great many Calvinists do.

  2. Thanks Josh,

    This really spoke to me as this is something I’ve been struggling with. Funny you should mention the Jesus Storybook bible. My daughter is a month old today and I’ve been reading it to her. What am amazing book; tears were also streaming down my face as I identified the lie that has been whispered into my heart.
    May God continue to reveal his never ending love to you and may you be blessed.

  3. This is wonderful. I myself have found the whole “well if God created everything then didn’t he create sin” thing confusing. But then I realized, you can create a machine, and that doesn’t necessarily mean you created any glitches it makes. And He loved us enough to give us free will. So any flaw is our own nature. And all this you said just kinda filled in the rest of the blanks. One thing I kind of… Disagreed on, I guess you can say? Is the analogy you used about the resistance fighters. Well I wouldn’t say “disagree” but it’s just.. The fact that we all are in disagreement about our own God is a very large contributing factor that drives non-believers away. So I find it hard to just say, let us all believe what we want and one will be right in the end. I still think we need to expose the truth and point out that Satan is behind certain religions in an attempt to ruin the reputation of God. But I’m sure you know and meant that.

    Anyway, just thought I’d comment for once. You always have great, wise things to say.

    May raw rock kill you forever and ever.
    Amen.

    1. Good point, Chris. I think what Dr. Olson was getting at was that certain debates about things like providence that have gone on for centuries might not find the satisfactory conclusion we’d like this side of resurrection. Better we agree to disagree than to divide.

  4. If there is only one way to interpret Scripture and that is what I believe then one of us has to be wrong. And one of has to be right. Not for the sake of being right or better than the other, but so that Truth will reign as absolute and only. If God is unchanging which the Scriptures remain clear then why would His Word change or be different to one Holy Spirit regenerated Christian and not to the other? If we can interpret Scripture two different ways or even 70 different ways then it wouldn’t be absolute. Either God is wrong when He says through Timothy that His word is inerrant or one of us is wrong. I choose to say Man is wrong before I would dare say God is. It is usually when man comprises with another view in your case Calvinism or Doctrines of Grace that error shows it’s self. I do respect you standing firm in what you have come to believe. My hope is that others would see God the way you claim His love is for everyone in hopes that they would find the loving Father who is also very just. Showbread will remain on my iTunes for now. Ha! Please Marky Drisc has been rained on too much to deserve a hating. John Piper is a faithful lover of the Word and in His knowing of God He passionately and deeply thinks of the Father daily. I trust Piper but not as much as I trust the Father who makes known certain truths to Piper as he writes and studies. I like the way Piper deals with those of different beliefs than his; he takes them by his side and helps guide them to healthy study and understanding of the God of the Bible who put Jesus our Great High Priest on the Cross and raised Him on the 3rd day so that all that would hear and believe would be counted as sheep among Gods flock.

    In Him who is able,

    Taylor

    1. Thanks for the thoughts, Taylor. I agree, one party is wrong and one party is right. The problem is, both parties are convinced of their own rightness based on Scripture, and have been for hundred of years. Both parties contend that they agree with God, not man. It’s tough to say with objectivity where “man’s error” comes into play. For hundreds of years of church history, no one believed in “the doctrines of grace,” and even today, half the church (or more) does not. I can just as easily label Calvinism “man’s error.” This is why I think it behooves us to agree to disagree and unite on common ground.

      And I sympathize that you don’t want your dudes lambasted. I try to leave Driscoll alone on most of what I believe is his horrific false teaching, but when he starts screaming “God hates you!” at thousands of people, it may merit a response of two.

      Also, remember, folks like Piper are very happen to write and to publish lengthy, condemning responses to pastors and views with whom they disagree (condemning of the view, not the person, I hope). They know the drill better than most!

      Thanks for your kindness and sincerity!

      1. I just go by the general assumption that everyone is wrong, and any bit that anybody gets right is still probably mostly wrong. On another end though both parties could very well be right or on the right track but our human minds may just not have the capability to process, understand, or even sense the entire picture of God and how he works. So both are right in that they’re on the right track but on earth none will ever be able to completely understand God so everyone will still be wrong.

        The same way God asks us to be without sin, he doesn’t expect us to, but expects us to set that as our goal, the understanding of God is not something we should expect to gain on earth but it should always be our goal and even though we’ll never reach it, we can kinda work towards and and get a tiny bit closer in our short lifetimes.

  5. This is one of the best narratives I have ever read regarding the struggle of free will vs. predestination.

    Food for thought: Read in Matthew 16:18 where Jesus tells Peter he is the rock on which He will build His church. Jesus then refers to Peter as Satan in verse 23. How does this work? Is Jesus building His church on Satan? No. There is both God and Satan at work within Peter. If even Peter was consumed with this internal struggle, who are we to act like one person or belief system is more “Christian” than the other? There are parts of us which have been redeemed and resurrected, and other parts which are still dead. It manifests differently in different people. Not one denomination is perfectly right. The allegory you referenced from Olson is beautiful. Thank you for that.

    God bless you as you chew on this spiritual meat, brother.

  6. This is actually something I was contemplating a lot today. I don’t know how to answer these questions. I also am convinced by scripture of the “doctrines of grace” are true. So there it is – I don’t know what will come of the tension.

    1. By the way, after my “debate” (though “comment spam” might work equally as well) with you a couple years ago over Open Theism, I read Greg Boyd’s “God of the Possible.” An amazing book, though I completely disagree with it. I plan to write a review of it sometime (it’s been like two years or more, but I still want to).

  7. Sorry, two questions (it sometimes takes time for me to articulate a thought):
    God knew from all eternity that His Son would die an atoning death on the cross. This means that He knew humanity would rebel, and if Christ’s preaching on Hell are any indication, it means that He knows some people will reject Him and choose eternity in Hell. This means that God intentionally created humans knowing that some would turn from Him. Now, the Open Theist teaching believes that if God knows someone’s choice for certain, than it means that it isn’t really a choice. But if He knew from all eternity that His human creations would rebel, what choice did that give them?

    Second question, more related to Open Theism in general:
    If God is infinitely eternal and outside of time, wouldn’t He see all temporal streams (or cycles or however you envision it) at all points simultaneously? So wouldn’t He see who inherits His eternal Kingdom? So does Open Theism hold that God is limited by time? I genuinely am curious about this, and it’s been a long time since I read “God of the Possible,” so I can’t remember if Greg Boyd addresses this question.

    1. Hey duder.

      To preface: I’m not sure (and I’m sure you aren’t either) that questions this involved are best resolved in blog comments, so before I say anything further I’d just like to point out what you already know, which is that both questions are explored in great detail in both Boyd’s God of the Possible, and even more so in Sanders’ The God Who Risks.

      As I recall, some of what you’re asking about was delved into during the Open 2013 conference, and you can watch those videos here.

      Quick thought: Remember, in the Open View, God knows perfectly not just possibilities alone, but also probabilities. God has infinite and perfect intelligence, and has perfect insight into reality including all our character, thinking, etc. at any given moment, and all contingencies affecting them. God has been prepared for each and every possibility (and ramification of each possibility) from eternity past. Also, Open Theists agree that god can and does settle and determine anything he sees fit to settle or determine, we just don’t believe he settles everything, but grants humans (and angelic beings) a certain level of freedom to shape the future.

  8. I’ve been discussing this with my pastor friend and he had the question of, “when does God stop loving? Does God love those in Hell?”

  9. Some great thoughts especially the contrast of Gods love and Johns Love for his kids. If I can imagine or express love greater than God, he is not infinite in his nature. His infinite wratu demands the punishment of all sin, his infinite mercy, the opportunity to be forgiven. Jesus satisfies both. One sacrifice for all.

    Josh
    LifeCity Church Canberr

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