I stumbled across this article by Galyn Wiemers that I believe is worthy of consideration and discussion. I do not know Galyn, so while I cannot endorse him outright I will say that I agree with his arguments in this article. Enjoy!
HATERS OF GOD?
By Galyn Wiemers
It is hard to find scriptural support explicitly saying men are born hating God. Some theologies can get there by implication and then from there make such statements.
I would say men become haters of God during their life through a process of suppressing Truth, rejecting Light (God), and pursuing the desires of their own fallen nature. Again, I think becoming a hater of God is a process, yet it is scriptural that all are born in darkness in a state of depravity and spiritual death. All are in need of a salvation source beyond themselves.
I would say men are born indifferent to God, but not “haters of God.” Men are born consumed with self (or, the flesh, sarx in the Greek translated as “sin nature” in NIV and “flesh” in KJ) and the world system (kosmos) which is under Satan’s control.
- Ephesians 2:1-3 – “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
Here is the process, I would tend to support (there are many other supporting scriptures if they are ever needed): Men are born in the image of Adam since all our human natures come from a man who rebelled against God and altered the physical and spiritual condition of man.
- 1 Corinthians 15:22 – “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
Man’s nature is fallen and aligned with the darkness of the world, thus they are comfortable in the darkness. Being comfortable in the darkness means men are uncomfortable in the light since it exposes their weakness, mortality, and sinfulness.
- John 3:19 – “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”
Men are born basically indifferent to God and are consumed with concern for the things of their own interest in the world and of their flesh. Not the things of God. This is not hate, but indifference.
- John 1:4, 5, 10, 11 – “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome (understood) it…He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
Some men respond to God’s offer of salvation with positive volition and are removed from this kingdom of darkness and are “born again” to receive a new life source and a new nature empowered by God himself and indwelt by the Holy Spirit:
- Ephesians 5:8-14, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.”
- 1 Peter 1:23 – “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”
Men’s indifference can turn to hate as they progressively reject God’s revelation of himself. Man can become a hater of God. Notice the progression Paul details in Romans 1:
- Romans 1:18-32, – “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse. For
- although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but
- their thinking became futile and
- their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise,
- they became fools…Therefore
- God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity…because of this,
- God gave them over to shameful lusts….since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God
- he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
- (RESULT) They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful…
- Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
- James 4:4, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against (Hatred toward) God? Therefore anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
Hatred of God – sample text that mention men hating God…never a birth issue, but a hatred developed/refined in life:
- Exodus 20:5 – “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
- Deuteronomy 5:9 – “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
- Deuteronomy 7:10 – “those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him.”
- Deuteronomy 32:41 – “when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me.”
- 2 Chronicles 19:2 – “Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, ‘Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, the wrath of the Lord is on you.’ ”
- John 15:23-25 – “Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
- Psalm 35:19 – “Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye.”
- Psalm 69:4 – “Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.”
To say all men are born hating God is an oversimplification and an overstatement.
This position is often rushed into by Calvinist with Reformed Theology developed in the 1500’s and 1600’s specifically by John Calvin who basically updated the writings of Augustine from 400 AD. Martin Luther was in agreement and wrote such monumental works as “The Bondage of the Will.” (…)
Men are born in darkness, are comfortable in darkness and conceal their own failures and sinfulness in darkness. The light calls them to salvation (freely) which requires them to accept the convicting truth that they are wrong, God is right, Jesus has died to give them a new nature and they must confess they are wrong and accept Jesus as Lord. There are only two ways to respond: Yes, which leads to fulfillment and love of the truth and light; or, No, which drives men further into the darkness to conceal their wickedness and to justify their own sinful self and evil practices. This hardening of the heart will eventually lead to a hatred of light, truth, God and anything/anyone associated with the light, truth and God.
- John 15:18-19 – Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
- Luke 21:17 – Jesus said, “Everyone will hate you because of me.”
- Mark 13:13- Jesus said, “Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
- Matthew 24:9 – Jesus said, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” -1 John 2:15-17
*Note: Some of the original formatting was adjusted for this blog site and one parenthetical comment was omitted from the source article.
ADDED NOTE: Some have asked about passages such as Ps. 58:3, which states, “The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth.”
I would tend to agree with Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible, who writes:
The wicked are estranged from the womb – The allusion here undoubtedly is to the persons principally referred to in the psalm – the enemies of David. But their conduct toward him suggests a more general reflection in regard to “all” the wicked as having the same characteristics. The psalmist, therefore, instead of confining his remarks to them, makes his observations general, on the principle that all wicked men have essentially the same character, and especially in respect to the thing here affirmed, that they go astray early; that they are apostate and alienated from God from their very birth. The words, “the wicked,” here do not necessarily refer to the whole human family (though what is thus affirmed is true of all the human race), but to people who in their lives develop a wicked character; and the affirmation in regard to them is that they go astray early in life – from their very infancy.
Strictly speaking, therefore, it cannot be shown that the psalmist in this declaration had reference to the whole human race, or that he meant to make a universal declaration in regard to man as being early estranged or alienated from God; and the passage, therefore, cannot directly, and with exact propriety, be adduced to prove the doctrine that “original sin” pertains to all the race – whatever may be true on that point. If, however, it is demonstrated from “other” passages, and from facts, that all men “are” “wicked” or depraved, then the assertion here becomes a proof that this is from the womb – from their very birth – that they begin life with a propensity to evil – and that all their subsequent acts are but developments of the depravity or corruption with which they are born. It is only, therefore, after it is proved that people “are” depraved or “wicked,” that this passage can be cited in favor of the doctrine of original sin.
The word rendered are “estranged” – זרוּ zorû – means properly, “to go off, to turn aside,” or “away, to depart;” and then it comes to mean “to be strange,” or “a stranger.” The proper idea in the word is that one is a stranger, or a foreigner, and the word would be properly applied to one of another tribe or nation, like the Latin “hostis,” and the Greek ξείνος xeinos Exodus 30:33; Isaiah 1:7; Isaiah 25:2; Isaiah 29:5; Psalm 44:20. The meaning of the term as thus explained is, that, from earliest childhood, they are “as if” they belonged to another people than the people of God; they manifest another spirit; they are governed by other principles than those which pertain to the righteous. Compare Ephesians 2:19. Their first indications of character are not those of the children of God, but are “alien, strange, hostile” to him. The phrase “from the womb,” refers, undoubtedly, to their birth; and the idea is, that as soon as they begin to act they act wrong; they show that they are strangers to God. Strictly speaking, this passage does not affirm anything directly of what exists in the heart “before” people begin to act, for it is by their “speaking lies” that they show their estrangement; yet it is proper to “infer” that where this is universal, there “is” something lying back of this which makes it certain that they “will” act thus – just as when a tree always bears the same kind of fruit, we infer that there is something “in” the tree, back of the actual “bearing” of the fruit, which makes it certain that it “will” bear such fruit and no other. This “something” in the heart of a child is what is commonly meant by “original sin.”
They go astray – The Hebrew word used here means to go astray, to wander, to err. It is used in reference to drunken persons who reel, Isaiah 28:7; and to the soul, as erring or wandering from the paths of truth and piety, Ezekiel 48:11; Psalm 95:10; Psalm 119:110; Proverbs 21:16. The “manner” in which the persons here referred to did this, is indicated here by their “speaking lies.”
As soon as they be born – Margin, as in Hebrew, “from the belly.” The meaning is, not that they speak lies “as soon as” they are born, which could not be literally true, but that this is the “first act.” The first thing “done” is not an act of holiness, but an act of sin – showing what is in the heart.
Speaking lies – They are false in their statements; false in their promises; false in their general character. This is one of the forms of sin, indicating original depravity; and it is undoubtedly selected here because this was particularly manifested by the enemies of David. They were false, perfidious, and could not be trusted. If it be proved, therefore, that all people are wicked, then “this” passage becomes a proper and an important text to demonstrate that this wickedness is not the result of temptation or example, but that it is the expression of the depravity of the heart by nature; that the tendency of man by nature is not to goodness, but to sin; that the first developments of character are sinful; that there is something lying of sinful acts in people which makes it certain that they will act as they do; and that this always manifests itself in the first acts which they perform.