Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Haiti: Part 1 by Richard Smith

My friend Richard Smith has given permission to reproduce his newsletter article on the catastrophe in Haiti. He offers a perspective that I think is more biblically thorough. Due to its length, I have broken it up into three posts.

By Richard Smith

It has been reported that a religious “leader” said that God hates Haiti. Yet Al Mohler ( has written that God loves Haiti. Those two positions are polar opposites. What we do know, and that without any real question, is that the earthquake was in the sovereign hands of God. This is the God who is “The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these” (Isaiah 45:7). God is not ashamed of His works and the destruction that He brings. In fact, He calls for people to see what He has done: “Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has wrought desolations in the earth” (Psalm 46:8). Amos 3:6 also tells us that “If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?” We can also say with confidence that there is no calamity in any nation or any planet where the LORD has not done it. So Scripture gives us no wiggle room to say that God had nothing to do with this. It takes us to the next question which has to do with His intent and motives were in doing so.

The question of God hating is one that people have a hard time accepting. We have all heard that God is love and so just assume that He loves all people in all ways at all times. It is true that I John 4:8 and 16 specifically teach that God is love. But what is not set out with the words is what that means. So people just assume that to say God is love means that He is love to all people in all ways at all times. But what we must also remember is that the Bible clearly teaches that God hates. Psalm 5:5 gives a clear teaching on this: “The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity.” Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us several things that the Lord hates:
“There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.”
It is hard to imagine that He hates the eyes, tongues, hands, hearts, feet, false witnesses, and those who spread strife without hating the ones who do them. How can we hate all the parts of the person and not the person?

Hosea 9:15 speaks to the Israelites, even the physical nation of His chosen people:
“All their evil is at Gilgal; Indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; All their princes are rebels.”
When God says in Matthew 25:41, “'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels,” it is hard to imagine that He loves those at that point rather than hate them. Romans 1:18 points to the judgment of God that comes on ungodliness every day: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” It is, once again, hard to understand this verse if we think of His wrath being poured out on those He loves. The doctrine of hell surely teaches us that those who have the wrath and abhorrence of God poured out on them for eternity are not loved by God.

I think it can be safely concluded that God is a God of love and yet He is a God who hates. In some way, then, we have to wrestle with how to understand the Bible which clearly teaches both issues. But another important point is that the Bible also teaches that God is holy, holy, holy and not love, love, love. The holiness of God is vital to God and He will not compromise His holiness for anything or anyone. He will not save or love in a way which compromises His holiness. Though there is not space to get into this in a very deep way at all, what we must understand is that it is not just any God we are talking about, but He is triune. We are not just talking about any love, but the love of a triune God. When the Bible speaks of God being love, it refers to the love He has for Himself primarily. God exists in love between the Father and the Son and the Spirit of love. God was love for all eternity living in love for Himself. He could have been perfect love and have never saved one human soul. He was and is perfect love despite the fact that when the angels fell He cast them out and never saved one of them.


Paul said...

Is the newsletter online somewhere?

Howard Fisher said...