I need some help interpreting a scripture correctly. I'll state my question first, but read my quotation after to understand the direction of it. Does Psalm 5:5 indicate that God hates sinners? Romans 3:23 says that, "all have sinned" which, if the premise is true, would mean God has hated us all. Do we all count as "all workers of iniquity"?

Psalm 5:4-6 NKJV

4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. 5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. 6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

Let me quote from Defending Inerrancy:

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).

Even if I agree with this quotation, it would still mean that God "hates" everyone who is a sinner (though He also loves them!). Is this interpretation correct?


3 Answers 3


The OP stopped reading too early; the next verse clarifies the matter. But first to the verses in the OP's question.

In Ps 5, V4-6 form a single stanza; a single bracket of thought for which V4 is a summary, "no evil can dwell with You". The best example of this are the descriptions of people's reaction to the appearance (Heb 9:28) at His second coming:

The Righteous:

Isa 25:9 - In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

The Wicked:

Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the commanders, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and free man hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us [Hos 10:8] from the face of the One seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of Their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?”

That is, it is the wicked people themselves who self-exclude from the presence of God. Ps 5:7 makes this clearer:

But by the abundance of Your lovingkindness/mercy I will come into Your house and worship toward your holy temple in fear of you (my translation)

Jeremiah expressed it this way:

Lam 3:22 - Because of the loving devotion of the LORD we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail.

We are all sinners and deserve death (Rom 3:10-18, 23, 24); but great is the mercy and compassion of God. It is only those who realize their sinfulness and great need of grace, that depend upon God's forgiveness can come into His presence as documented above. See 1 John 4:8, 16. Thus boasting is excluded (Ps 5:5) and unrepentant liars are excluded from God's presence.

Thus, Ps 5:4-7 presents two different classes of sinners:

  • the boastful sinners (V45, 6)
  • the repentant sinners who recognize their sinfulness and God's mercy

Lam 3:22-24 - Because of the lovingkindness/mercy of the LORD we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail.

They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”

One last statement which helps to see the effect of the sinner's attitude to sin:

Ps 8:13 - To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech.

  • +1. I appreciate the answer. I got a lot out of it. Though I still don't quite understand the scripture. (Might be my lack of understanding!) Who are "all workers of iniquity"? Is that all of us or just those who don't repent?
    – Jason_
    Commented Feb 5 at 7:54
  • 1
    @Jason_ - the latter
    – Dottard
    Commented Feb 5 at 9:07

"in God, hate is a judicial act on the part of the righteous Judge who separates the sinner from Himself" - WHAT?!

Who can write such a callous idiocy? God is love and He cannot but love all; yes, not only does God love all, sinners and demons included, but He cannot not love them lest He strays from His own nature. Just imagine you two, Norman L.Geisler and William C. Roach, the sorry authors of the "Defending Inerrancy", will any normal mother hate her criminal son sentenced to death penalty and be of the same mind with those whom her son murdered and who are feeling a spiteful just glee when he is put on an electric chair? Yes, you two poisoners of human minds, will any normal mother be so or will not she rather feel a great pain and pity for her hapless son? And if the second is correct, and it is correct without any "if", then how can God be any less compassionate than this mother, God, who will never abandon His love-full presence from any sinner, even if father and mother would abandon him? (cf. Psalm 27:10).

Oh, those vile legalistic theologians imposing legalism on all-merciful God and reducing Him to human legality, creating a stern idol out of Him! Would not it have been better if L.Geisler and William C. Roach never took a pen in their hands and never written anything about not only theology but about anything at all, but rather have taken a broom instead and swept streets? Would not it have been better for the mankind and, surely, for their immediate neighborhood?

  • Hi. You use the phrase "all-merciful God". Where does this phrase come from please? [I googled it and found Islamic references]. By "all-merciful" do you mean always merciful" ie: never shows fury? Please clarify import of "a-m God".
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Feb 5 at 11:05
  • @C.Stroud Hi, "all-merciful Lord" (ο πανοικτιρμων Κυριος) is a standard theological expression in Byzantine theology, which is the only correct Christian theology, in the sense that when there are dogmatic discrepancies between Christian theologies, there, in this discrepancy, Orthodox/Byzantine theology is correct and others wrong. Commented Feb 5 at 12:25
  • @C.Stroud As to your second question: when humans judge and issue a just verdict upon say, Al Capone, it is accompanied by a just wrath for his vile actions and we are jubilant when he is shown his way to Alcatraz; but, humanly, we end in this just glee. However, Capone's mother patties her son and if she is a good Christian she pities him even more for the damage he inflicted upon his soul through his sins. How much more God is so! God is just, He does punish, but never without love, like we do, but always with love towards the punished, for even His punishment is for benefitting the sinner. Commented Feb 5 at 12:41
  • "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked" Eze 33:11 The death of a sinner may make God desperately sad, but despite this sadness Jesus warns in Luke 13:24 "many ...will seek to enter and will not be able". To me, the many here have not received mercy. Mercy, if given, would be sufficient to overlook all deficiencies. By "all-merciful" are you saying that God shows His mercy even when he says, "Depart from me"? Luke 13:27.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Feb 5 at 17:27
  • @C.Stroud Yes, absolutely! He never says "Depart from me!" with a legalistic just spite or a victorious deserved contempt as we humans do and cherish in so many novels and movies! He is God-inhumanated, not a plain human and that is why! He always says "Depart from Me" with a compassion and regret and this phrase should be read like that: "What have you, a poor thing infinitely loved by Me, done to yourself that due to your bad choices, My presence is more unbearable to you than my absence? If so, then depart from Me, I do not want to torment you by my presence, oh you, a poor thing!" Commented Feb 5 at 17:48

The Psalms say in another passage:

The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made. (Psalms 145:9)

My view is that hate is taken in the same sense that Esau was hated--i.e., God prefers the righteous to the wicked, and the same hate that we are commanded by Christ to have for our families in contrast to Him.

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26)

Ergo, it is not so much that God hates the wicked, but He does not treat them with the favor He treats the righteous.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him (Psalm 103:13)

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