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The Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh
The Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh

For the sake of our brethren who are not Anglicans  and may not be too familiar with “Collects”,  a “collect” is defined as as a short prayer, especially one assigned to a particular day or season. Collects are beautifully composed words addressed to God as prayers.

I have grown to have reservations about these collects, but that is for another day. My grouse today is the curious sentence in the collect we have been taking since the Lenten Season started. It states: “Almighty God, you hate nothing that you have made…” That does not seem correct to me!

I cannot imagine for a moment that God does not hate the Devil. Maybe I do not have a specific verse where God says in so many words “I hate the Devil”, but that God hates the Devil and his works is extremely obvious in the Bible. The reason for the Incarnation, and indeed the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ is summarised in the 1st Epistle of John thus:

For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. – 1 John 3:8

You want to tell me that’s a love affair between God and the Devil?

In talking about Esau, it was very explicitly stated:

“I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob;but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.” Mal 1:2-3

Consider these other scriptures:

Psalm 5:5, “The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity,”
Psalm 11:5, “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.”
Lev. 20:23, “Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I shall drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.”
Prov. 6:16-19, “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.”
Hosea 9:15, “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.”

I do not know why the writers of the collect so confidently affirmed that God does not hate anything He creates. Perhaps it is because we know that God is Love, and to hate will be contradictory to being “Love”. Perhaps it is because we are so obsessed with the loving aspect of God that we have forgotten about His Holiness, Righteousness and Justice. Perhaps it is because we want to create a God who is socially and politically correct. However, I can see that God is not embarrassed to declare his hatred of evil.

Psalm 5:4-5 summarizes it:  “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity.” God is love, but cannot love wickedness. It will violate other aspects of His being. But then, I’m no theologian. Please feel free to share your thoughts below.