While there is some debate over whether God is angry or loving (or both), it is clear that God sometimes acts on His anger with wrath and vengeance, and other times He does not. Do we know the criterion by which He makes these calls? Can we even pretend to know?

Because if we can't, then we have no way of knowing whether He is a God of love or anger. For example, maybe He's letting people He's angry with live so as to teach us a lesson, or to test our faith in Him. So it would be for the greater good, and thus an act of love. But maybe He's letting those people He's angry with—and other sinners—live as punishment to us, such that we have to endure them. Simply put, if we cannot speak to why He smites some and not others, if we don't have any idea of the criterion He uses, it's impossible to know if He is completely loving or completely hating, or somewhere in between.


3 Answers 3


By definition God is love, but sometimes you have to punish if you love, and when God is angry it isn't a sense of passion that drives Him, but judgement of justice, as explained in Objection 1 of Summa Theologica, Q47 (http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2047.htm).

I think the difficulty is that you are trying to relate your anger to God's anger, and making His anger to be similar, or comparable, to ours.

This is a problem as God is angry at the sin and the sinner, but, He understands perfectly what is going on, what the motives are, and at times may need to punish in order to help try to rectify the actions.

There is nothing wrong with being angry. Jesus was angry, for example. It is an emotion, but why someone gets angry and what is done with the anger is the issue.

We can't judge why God chooses to get angry at one and not at another, as, much like a mosaic, you see only a tiny bit of the picture, so the best we can do is to have faith that God has a reason for what He chooses to do or not do.

For a longer discussion on Is God Angry Anymore?, you can read:


  • +1 Good answer! I suppose what confuses me most is that, why is God angry in the first place when he knew before he even created the universe that they would turn out that way. He obviously intended them to be that way, so why even pretend to be angry? It's almost as if he didn't expect us to discover us ever seeing through this little deception... or something.
    – stoicfury
    Sep 20, 2011 at 3:15
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    @stoicfury, God did not intend for people to be evil. He understood that He needed to teach us and forgive us in order that we would understand what love is. Sep 20, 2011 at 5:05
  • "God did not intend for people to be evil." So when God was creating the universe on day 1, creating light and planets and so forth, He didn't intend that one day evil people would appear to "teach us and forgive us in order that we would understand what love is." It just happened by accident? Of course He intended it. He obviously knew it would happen, and thus not merely allowed it to happen, but he deliberately wanted it to occur that way in order to, as you say, teach us. His anger, therefore, must be an act.
    – stoicfury
    Sep 20, 2011 at 17:57
  • @stoicfury - You can find some idea as to why Adam/Eve was tempted from Thomas Aquinas: newadvent.org/summa/3165.htm, and if you follow the link on Response to Objection 2 about free will it may help explain about our free will. Sep 20, 2011 at 23:40
  • This tells us that when God punishes Israel, it is still done in love: "If his children forsake my law ... then I will punish their transgression with the rod ... but I will not remove from him my steadfast love." Psalm 89:30, 31, 32
    – Steve
    Feb 6, 2017 at 14:38

God is Love and God is Hate

Ok first off... Don't think that God is sitting up in heaven chanting about the fact that He hates people. God Hate's one thing and one thing only: Evil. If you are an evil person, then yes, God is angry with you and yes, God even hates you for that.

Let's understand why.

Understanding the two sides

God's anger is actually VERY easy to understand. But before you can understand His anger you must understand what God sees. There ARE TWO SIDES. The Bible touches on this point many times without specifically defining that there are two sides, so I will show you the verses and you can put them together.

John 18:37 (NIV)

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Jesus tells us that there is a "side of truth".

1 John 4:6 NIV

We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

John tells us that there is a spirit of Truth and a spirit of falsehood. Dr. Del Tacket does a phenomenal job showing you how these two sides play a role in our society in the Truth Project series.

The fact is that there is a side of truth, which those people are referred to as righteous, and then there's the side of falsehood and these people are referred to as sinners.

God draws the line

Romans 5:8 NIV

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

What does this mean? Why is this called love, that while you were still a sinner that Christ died for you? It's easy, but probably not in the sense that you're familiar with. Sinners are enemies of God and of God's children. But while you were still an enemy of God, He showed great compassion and love for you, even tho you were a rebellious enemy, He died for you.

That is true love.

God Hate's Evil People With a Passion

People get angry when they hear that God is hate. Why? I love God and God loves me and God hates it when sinners are evil to me. God hates me when I'm evil to people also. People don't want to accept that this is a possibility because it's a scary thing to think that God could actually be angry with you.

I'll make this perfectly clear to you. God is an angry God that HATES sinners and here's how I know.

Psalm 7:11 (NIV)

God is a just judge,And God is angry with the wicked every day.

Psalm 5:5 (NIV)

5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong;

Psalm 11:5 (NIV)

5 The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.

Leviticus 20:23 (NIV)

23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them.

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)

16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Hosea 9:15 (NIV)

15 “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds, I will drive them out of my house. I will no longer love them; all their leaders are rebellious.

This is why Repentance is Required

This is why in 2 Timothy 2:19 God seals a contract and requires that all people turn from wickedness. It is not an option.

This book: A Scriptural Account of Faith is a book that categorizes scripture into premises. It's a very good book that shows you all of the anger and curses that God has against wicked people. It also shows you all of the love, compassion, patience and mercy that God has for the righteous people.


BE CAREFUL that you do not equate God's love to and blessings to sinful people. God has nothing but hate towards sinful people. If you do not understand what side that a person is on, do not tell them that Jesus loves them, because honestly, YOU DON'T KNOW!

When the Bible tells us nothing but curses against wicked people that trample the blood of Christ, why would you ever open your mouth and lie to a sinner, telling them that Jesus Loves them. It's better stated that Jesus has shown them great compassion by giving them the opportunity to "Repent and Believe".

But if they refuse to "Repent and Believe" then that does not qualify them for God's Love.


Just by reading the old testament you can see that when Israel got out of line, God would chasten them. Then when Israel repented of their sins, God would love them, BUT not without disciplining them for their sins.

The same is true today, with you. If you disobey God, He will set himself against you, but if you repent and come to God, He too, will draw near to you.

Leviticus 26:21-28 (NKJV)

21 ‘Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins.

22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, destroy your livestock, and make you few in number; and your highways shall be desolate.

23 ‘And if by these things you are not reformed by Me, but walk contrary to Me,

24 then I also will walk contrary to you, and I will punish you yet seven times for your sins.

25 And I will bring a sword against you that will execute the vengeance of the covenant; when you are gathered together within your cities I will send pestilence among you; and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.

26 When I have cut off your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall bring back your bread by weight, and you shall eat and not be satisfied.

27 ‘And after all this, if you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me,

28 then I also will walk contrary to you in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.

  • 2
    -1 God hates evil people with a passion. This is not true. God hates evil, but not the person.
    – Cryst
    Sep 20, 2011 at 8:05
  • 1
    @Cryst: That view is often held by people but you will find some very detailed arguments for it not being Biblically valid on this site. Besides Jonathon's explanation above try these questions: Does God hate Sinners like he hates Sin?, Is "hate the sin, love the sinner" a Christian idea?, and Are love and hate in a harmonious balance within God?
    – Caleb
    Sep 20, 2011 at 9:08
  • 1
    @cryst I was quoting psalms 11:5 Sep 20, 2011 at 15:21
  • I find it interesting that all the parts of God hating is from the OT. Just an observation. Sep 22, 2011 at 1:01
  • @JamesBlack The old testament is there to teach us about God. The country of Israel is each of us as an individual today. We obey and disobey continually as did Israel. God is never changing, the Old Testament God is the God of the New Testament. Justify yourself as you see fit, but God will judge you as He sees fit. Sep 22, 2011 at 1:33

I want to take a stab at this question, even though so many answers have already been supplied. This is different, and adds something unique, I think:

Under what circumstances does God act on His anger, you ask?

Every time He feels it.

The Bible teaches that you should never sit on your anger and do nothing about it; nor does it imply that when God gets mad He just sits there and stews and stews until either you straighten up or He boils over, whichever comes first, but nothing but either of those two.

Rather, it always advises full attention and prompt action at the onset, along the lines of "do nothing until you've resolved it," "resolve it quickly and ahead of anything else," "consider what you'll lose if you don't," and "consider what you'll gain if you do." You'll note that the things you can lose and the lay which you can gain are not small things, ranging from death to life and all in between.

God does with His anger what He does with it; but, here's a few of His insights and recommendations on it for us (extrapolate freely; God practices what He preaches):

On the consequences of anger: For man’s anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires]. [James 1:20]

Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not yourself—it tends only to evildoing. [Psalm 37:8]

A man of wrath stirs up strife, and a man given to anger commits and causes much transgression. [Proverbs 29:22]

Do not be quick in spirit to be angry or vexed, for anger and vexation lodge in the bosom of fools. [Ecclesiastes 7:9]

He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is hasty of spirit exposes and exalts his folly. [Proverbs 14:29]

On the benefits of subduing anger: He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, he who rules his [own] spirit than he who takes a city. [Proverbs 16:32]

Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense. [Proverbs 19:11]

On avoiding anger: Make no friendships with a man given to anger, and with a wrathful man do not associate. [Proverbs 22:24]

A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger. [Proverbs 15:1]

Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord. [Ephesians 6:4]

Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath. [Ephesians 4:26]

On the characteristics of a true child of God, as they relate to anger management: I desire therefore that in every place men should pray, without anger or quarreling or resentment or doubt [in their minds], lifting up holy hands. [1 Timothy 2:8]

A [self-confident] fool utters all his anger, but a wise man holds it back and stills it. [Proverbs 29:11]

But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips! [Colossians 3:8]

Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). [Ephesians 4:31]

On the characteristics of a child of Belial, with respect to lack of self-control and anger: Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies). [Galatians 5:20]

On characteristics of God’s anger, which one should mimic in all respects: For His anger is but for a moment, but His favor is for a lifetime or in His favor is life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. [Psalm 30:5]

But He, full of [merciful] compassion, forgave their iniquity and destroyed them not; yes, many a time He turned His anger away and did not stir up all His wrath and indignation. [Psalm 78:38]

The Lord is long-suffering and slow to anger, and abundant in mercy and loving-kindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and fourth generation. [Numbers 14:18]

On your right to be angry: What right can a sinner have to yield to impatience or anger, when mercifully corrected for his sins? [Psalm 38:12-22]

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