I put this onto my Facebook page (late October/early November 2009):
SO DOES GOD LOVE DEMONS?
First, complete the sentence ‘God is…’
Second, Jesus told us to love our enemies: is anyone saying God can’t do what he commands us to do?
Third: Pharisees put creatures along a ‘line of deserving love’. They vary – according to their theological/ relational conservatism – about where to draw the line beyond which a creature cannot be loved. God is not a Pharisee.
Here are some of the 50+ responses:
“Rowland, this question is like the ancient one of counting the numbers of angels on a pin head.”
“Makes sense to me…”
“Gods love is redeeming, demons are irredeemable, so where is the love in that?”
“Who said demons are irredeemable?”
“In Psalms it says that God hates the wicked…”
“It might depend on what you mean by God. The elders of Israel were called gods, (Ps. 82:6). Is Jesus God in the sense of being the one true God, or is he god in the sense of being Gods agent or ambassador where one stands in the place of the other. In John 17:3 Jesus calls his Father the one true God. I wonder if this text carries any weight in the discussion?”
“Redemption is for humans, the Hell promised speaks for the devil, demons and his human followers if they die having rejected Christ as Lord and Saviour…..”
“Again I’d ask: where do you get that from?”
“John Three Sixteen.”
“God’s love is essential to his character. He is incapable of not loving. It is not conditional on the objects of his love, because that would make his love contingent, not absolute. His power would be weakened if demons could control whether or not he loved them.
Who created demons?”
“Last I looked, Jn 3:16 doesn’t mention demons, the devil, or hell.”
“God says to me, love conquers all. Love no matter what. Even so-called “demons” are made of God “stuff” and each will return to its source eventually..even if that eventually is millenia. What I believe is God speaking to me should I say.”
“So, what obligates a Creator to exercise unconditional love? And how many Creators are there?”
“I was thinking that it seems that God’s hatred is not necessarily incompatible with his love. After all, he still loves “the world.”
I might have to go away and think about that…
I liked Luther’s comment on John 3: 16, along the lines that, if it had said, “God so loved Martin Luther…” he’d have wondered if there was some other Martin Luther being referred to there, but, when it says, “the world” it clearly includes him.”
“Now that really got some discussion going!!!”
“Are we assuming that Love and Hate are mutually exclusive?”
“Redemption is not based on our origins, but on God’s actions. Once again, it is based in God, not us nor in any created being. That applies even to rebellious spirits.
God, the one Creator, loves unconditionally. His love is an obligation only because that is his nature: it is a logical necessity, not an external compulsion.
But God is also absolutely just. He must punish evil. And, to be absolutely just, he must punish all evil: questions of degree do not enter into it.
The impasse between the two is broken only by the cross, where love and justice meet. And it is the cross which forms an impenetrable barrier to demons and the unrepentant, not because it is inconceivable that they should pass, but because it is like two magnets brought together at the same pole: the repulsion is intrinsic.
Yet all who repent and trust immediately enter in. And those who never repent and trust can never pass.”
“Thinking that God loves demons/his adversaries and will still deliver them to hell as per promise in the Bible is like reasonning that a parent can love a child and still murder them inspite of that love. The command not to hate our enemies has to do with us human beings, the ultimate fate of fallen angels has nothing to do with us but we have been given power and authority to bind, cast out and trample on demons…that does not translate as love to me. To think that demons can be saved or that God loves them, or that we should love them is deception from Satan himself, the father of all lies….a lie that will make any such person his property in hell forever…..”Be sober, be vigiiant ; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus , after you have suffered a while perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.” 1Pt5:8-10. Now, does that sound like something that should be the object of anyones love….and when God talks of the world here he is not referring to all inclusive of the devil as well….just a planet. The devil is a formidable enemy without Christ as Saviour. Get saved by Christ or go to hell, the choice is yours, we get to chose, the devil didn’t. I am mighty glad to be REDEEMED!”
“In anycase why should we concern ourself with whether demons are loved or not…that is Gods concern, it is hard enough to love even the humans we are commanded to love all the time without bringing the devil in the equation. Let the devil be Gods concern, ours is to make a choice to trust in Christ Jesus, love men who are made in the image of God….and leave God to deal with the devil ultimately. I wouldn’t want to live consummed by hatred of anything ( that attracts diseases) of even the devil but I know I have the power to read the riot act to him any day, any place, any time in the NAME OF JESUS! And no, I am no theologian but as unto Paul He appered to me so I know and love Him even though I don’t have the articulation and the learning of Paul!”
“Rowland, I remember you asking a similar question at a seminar I attended 16 years ago. Thanks for starting this; it is very interesting! I admit the whole issue of hell and who goes there has been somewhat of a stumbling block for me-even coming to terms with the fact there is a Hell. However, God is love and is also just. I guess I try to focus more on His love for all and His hatred of sin. I am comforted by the fact that God does not send us to hell but if we outright reject Him then we are the ones who decide where we live for eternity. Do demons have a choice to repent? I guess they made their choice. You are right R…. – we are so blessed to be saved. I know I take it for granted most of the time. Without Christ we would have no hope.”
“Thanks G… , and why the choice they made is not revocable is none of our business or concern, we have been called to the ‘great commission’… ” as my Father has sent me so send I you” that is our chief business while Christ tarries, to be Christlike on earth…who came to seek and to save the lost. We are okay just worshiping God without minding the devil but soonner or later he makes his presence known as we deliver the captives from his hands in the name of Jesus…at that point it becomes essential for God to give us some insight of what an evil entity the devil is and to strengthen our spiritual muscle/ armour so we are able to withstand his wiles and devices…thank God for Christ and other weapons of our warfare, the devil would otherwise consume us. Thats why Dear Glenn we shed tears of joy in worship, to know that we are saved…and need never spend an eternity with a foul smelly, wriggly wormed, tormented, burning, screaming creature for eternity looking and behaving like him…. Ooooooo Thank You Jesus for Calvary!.”
Then I wrote (before going away for a week) –
Two quick reactions, or three:
1. A basic principle of biblical hermeneutics has to do with *not* formulating theological constructs from Ancient Near Eastern hyperbole. The Psalms are full of it of course – all our human emotions are there, But don’t create theological systems – about original sin or original blessing or anything else from an ANE peron’s rage etc.,
2. By definition, if God’s love is unconditional, it is not contingent upon a creature’s redeemability. …
3. Re hell – see these articles http://jmm.org.au/catalog/keyword/h-5.htm
and on universalism – http://jmm.org.au/catalog/keyword/u-3.htm
“Spot on R….. – nothing like first hand experience with spiritual warfare to make you realise that – so thanks for that – what you said about Christ’s protection is so true! Thanks heaps for the links Rowland – I should look at your webpage more often :-)”
“Thanks G…., will look at the links too if time allows tomorrow, lets walk in faith…..having seen the wounds on Jesus’ hands, lets cry like Thomas “My Lord And My God…” The unconditional love of God pertains only to Salvation as far as I know….there~after our obedience does determine how Christlike we become. Thanks!”
“I clearly remember a discussion at College in which we concluded that there is no theology exam to enter heaven.
In fact, it was the day before the theology exam…
R….. , What you say is very important: in the end, for each of us, it has to do with a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
For me — and I don’t know why Rowland asked the question — the issue is, “Where do I draw the line with God’s love, and where do I draw the line with his justice?”
If God’s love extends to places I recoil against going to, I will not make the mistake of deciding that he loves only the saints, or — and this is more common among Christians than you might think — he loves only the socially and economically successful saints. Once you let yourself think like that, you divide people into the deserving and the undeserving and begin seeing your tribe as real people and the rest as “things” which don’t even deserve your interest.
We probably all know that the Germans’ name for themselves, “Deutsch,” means “People”. In fact, quite a few national names have the same meaning. “Our tribe are the real people. You can kill the rest!”
In the same way, unless we understand that God’s justice is also absolute, we risk treating the cross as no more than an example to follow. We rob it of its power as God’s only appointed means of rescue from the demands of justice against ourselves. It is not that a loving God sends his beloved children to hell: it is that a loving God has done all he can to ensure that his beloved children need not face hell (whether or not it is eternal — that’s a different question.) God has done all he can, short of forcing us to take that one path to safety.
I like Romans 5:8, where the KJV is closer to the Greek than modern translations: “God commends his love to us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This is no mere take-it-or-leave-it demonstration. God unrolls his mat like some street hawker, and inside is that one absolutely precious gift: his love, shown through the death of Christ. And God pleads with us, “Won’t you look? Won’t you see how absolutely perfect and wonderful it is?”
God makes himself vulnerable to us. We can walk ahead, across the mat, across the love, across the cross, and never see what we have done — and that is the right God gives us, even if a yawning chasm lies beyond the mat.”
“haha thats brilliant!! Question also is…. how does a God who writes : …” love does not seek it’s own, does not avange a wrong” .. then go and burn billions and billions of people in a place called hell when they are burning alive for all eternity, just because they said NO to his love… go figure????”
“Ha! All those years I watched Buffy I just knew Spike was the good guy!
Seriously, it’s all interesting stuff, but at the end of the day I’m with R…. : DO we really need to know and/or CAN we really know (yet or ever)?”
“J….. : someone has misrepresented the case quite badly to you!
Judgment — whatever it may turn out to be (there’s a subcurrent of divergent views here) is not the result of saying no to God’s love. Failure to escape from judgment is the result of rejecting his love. They are two different things.
If you fell over a cliff and were stuck on a crumbling ledge, you would be there because you fell.
If you continued falling because you refused to grab a rope lowered to you, would you die because you fell over a cliff, or because you rejected the rope?
Judgment is a consequence of sin — the damaged way we relate to God, to others, to ourselves, to the creation. There are at least two basic facts to keep in mind: first, that each of us is personally responsible for our own deeds (yes, others may do the same or worse…) and, second, that God can’t be absolutely just and yet turn a blind eye to what we have done wrong.
Just to round off the picture, keeping rules does no more than make social life go reasonably right, but breaking the rules (if they are sensible rules) is destructive to ourselves and others, so lawbreaking brings about judgment. But law keeping can never save you, because it is no more than sensible to keep God’s laws. Furthermore, keeping laws in the hope of gaining God’s favour treats God as a whore, handing out favours to the best payer, and refuses to recognise our own failures.
I hope that helps clarify things a bit!”
“P…. : sorry you misunderstood.
I fully understand that the consequence of sin is death ..
i have no problem with that at all!!! 🙂 .
I have a problem with a god that desides NOt to let these people die but empowers them to live eternally so he can torture them! – just doesn’t work for me… y’se GOD MUST give the ‘sinner’ the gift of eternal life so he can toRture them eternally coz just about every book in the bible says we are mortal .. then the christian teastament says we can BECOME immortal if we get the gift from God (corinthians goes on and on about it – pretty consistant) so my problem isn’t judgement of death .. its giving people eternal life so he can torture them … and then has the hide to tell us to forgive our enemies and turn the other cheek.. haha WHAT THE…? :)”
“I think you misunderstand what love is. Love is relative to God, not the other way. Sure God can love enemies and try to make peace with them, but if they do not love you, LOVE cannot exist, shalom is impossible.
You refer to the imperfect love, when there still are enemies. As we know that perfect love casts out all fear. Its hard to imagine having enemies without fear. A demon you would argue by definition is one that resists God, has chosen to follow another master, albeit a false one.
Another issue is whether God can have enemies at all, if He is love. Yet even the scripture says: “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.” We must i think, consider an enemy, a person committed to a state of enmity with God. Committed to sin, which separates from God.
We all have to watch ourselves on this. For all of us fit into that sinking boat, as much as these devils. We hang on for good life to our saviour, the ark the anchor, because we are truly stuffed, eternally stuffed without Him.
Also having love for someone, does not preclude their eternal damnation. Love rejoices in the truth and our God is a God of justice (the balanced scales). This means that we get what we deserve. Unless we believe and accept the model of His Son, the model of “injustice” (the imbalanced scales) or grace, where he takes God’s wrath that we deserve. The Savior in our Jesus.
While us illegitimate children are adopted by Jesus, in that cosmic injustice, do angels have such a hope, such that demons can be saved ? s it a grace that demons are still alive ? And have not been tossed into inexistence ?
Is hell, eternal, or the continuing consequence, moment by moment of living against God ? The bible suggests there is an end to this phase and there will be a new heavens and a new earth. God also has no desire to strive with things forever. The days of having enemies of any form are numbered, an equation of God’s patience, minus his wrath.”
“LOL J…. you’r sooo funny…the problem is if there is such a God and THERE IS, He has convinced tougher people than you that HE IS…are you to worry about others or your poor soul. From experience…and don’t ask me in this forum…once dead your ears are shut to the problems and pain of others, even those closet to you. Your focus is only GOD. I am not able to tell you whether Gods own ears are shut or not too but the issue is, the pain of those others has no capacity to affect Him the way it would us…if we were to live eternally listening to their woes. Okay, so you are in heaven and it is all joy eternally, believe me, you’ ll have no cause for complaint coz all the earthly physical attachments are severed forever. Those who end up in hell do so because they refused to take advantage of Gods generosity of salvation through Christ Jesus. If the worst comes to the worst then I would say to an unsaved person; if you can’t beat Him join Him instead of risking going to hell. How many people have died today having heard this message and rejected it again and again…..in our midst, in the muslim countries…many. Personally I think that is partly why God passed an irrevocable sentence on the devil because he became something that harms and takes away Gods eternal desire…mankind…it might not be so…..”
I’m not really too interested in the dynamics of hell?? Im interested in the original statement made by Rowland. How can God tell us to forgive if he has no intention of doing so himself (not his wording – my paraphrase). I am adding how can god write in corinthians – love does not seek its own – does not avenge a wrong….” Yet give people the gift of eternal life so he can torture them???? REMEMBER both the Christian terstament and the Hebrew testament says we are mortal (exept for genesis ‘you shall not surely die’ (if you sin) BUT THIS WAS SAID BY SATAN!!! – satan is the only supporter of the immortality of man – and the church believes HIM over al lother scriptures!!))
So,to be scriptually sound, the ‘sinner’ MUST get born again _or receive God’s holy spirit (which is alone immortal – to live and be tortured. yet god is love????
YOU DON’T FIND THIS STRANGE????????????????????????”
“Where in the Bible does it say that God loves unconditionally? :)”
“I don’t think there is any scriptural support for the new age idea of unconditional love. Even those who supposedly talk about it don’t practise it. It’s just a theory.
IMHO, I think there are some people and demons who utterly refuse to be redeemed even in the face of God’s overwhelming mercy. It is more loving to consign them to the second death. annihilation.”
“Obviously I’m no theologian or academic, but I figure God loves all the creation, but loving and redeeming are not the same. Surely as parents we love our children, but we cannot always condone what they do or save them from their responses. And now I’ll go and not read this any more ….. Too frightened to be ignored or wiped away!! :-)”
“D…..: in the counsel of many there is wisdom – you are one of many – BE VALUED. …. AND they ignored Jesus and tried to wipe hiom away … his teachings ended up changing billions of lives :).”
“Man you guys have managed to have such a long conversation in a very short period of time. Is there anything else to add? Maybe: 1. whether or not God sends people to eternal torment in general, Rev.14:10-11 and 20:10 seem to suggest some entities go there! 2. God clearly “hates” and so do the righteous (e.g. Psalm 5:5). Clearly God has made us with a capacity to hate because there are some things and some beings (like the devil and demons) that it is appropriate to hate. In fact, not to hate evil means we have lost our moral compass. Was it CS Lewis who said the opposite of love is not hatred but indifference (perhaps the main sin of our time)? 3. Origen taught the doctrine of ultimate reconciliation, i.e. even the devil will ultimately be reconciled to God. It’s tempting but not clearly taught in Scripture even though there are “universalist” passages in the Bible. 4. To go back to Rowland’s initial point, I am always suspicious of deriving doctrines by inference from the Bible. In my opinion, if the conclusion is not in Scripture, the inference is probably dodgy!.”
“It’s tempting but not clearly taught in Scripture” – is ANYTHING clearly taught in scripture.?????? – every scripture(im beginning to realise can have its opposing scripture…havn’t u noticed 🙂 . I guess thats why jesus said (in all 4 gospels) he would send his SPIRIT to lead us!!! PS; HERE IS A SPANNER IN THE WORK 4 U… DO you guys know that Judaism does not teach that the Devil is an actual person/being but is symbolic of deceptive thinking. the book im reading (judaism for dummies…dont laugh) says the idea of the devil being an actual person’being has nerver taken off in judaistic teaching… so i went to a few ‘ask the rabbi’ websites and they agreed!!! – thje say the devil as a being is a christian concept .. not jewish. You may say big woop but i was blown away by that!!”
“Hi J….. Some things are pretty clear in Scripture even though people always try to muddy the waters, e.g. Jesus is coming again, there is a last judgement, etc. These things are taught in multiple places in clear language. Other things are not so clear so we hold them more lightly, e.g. opinions about the millenium. I have a saying “The plain things are the main things and the main things are the plain things” (not original). Some of the things we are discussing here fall into the second category Second, Judaism is built on the assumption that Jesus is NOT the Messiah so their views on the personality of the devil are interesting but not necessarily convincing”
“consider this… i can find consistant teachings that are in MULTIPLE places in a CLEAR LANGUAGE in both hebrew and christian testaments. IE: man is NOT immortal…. consequence of sin is DEATH. Yet the majority of christianity teaches otherwise on both points!!- so that theory breaks down. – I dont want to sound blasphemous but i must be honest and say i think the bible is origami paper in the hands of most..(all??). make want you want/need out of it. The problem is always going to be Psychological Scotoma!!!! (we see what we want to see or are conditioned to see)”
“I will say it is obvious – God loves his Creation. All of it. Demons included; He made them good, just like anything else. People often forget that the demons were originally angels.
God would love to redeem them. In fact, I would suggest that it’s simplistic to say demons are irredeemable. Anything with a free will has the choice to repent.
Why do they not? We’re not told because it’s not necessary for us to know.”
“James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder. Do they shudder because of God’s immutable love for them, I wonder? *Shrugs*”
“R….. said: I don’t think there is any scriptural support for the new age idea of unconditional love. Even those who supposedly talk about it don’t practise it. its just a theory.
Since I follow God and see the Bible as written by fallible human beings I don’t understand why this is important. For to trust in the Bible and others interps of it and not the God within…I would find that personally idolatry. The Bible will always be far down the line from God within to myself.”
“Unconditional love is IMHO not a Christian teaching. Unconditional love was a concept that came out in the 60″s among therapists. It meant that the therapist could sit and listen to the person pour out all their troubles and hang ups, and the therapist would not comment on them, just accept the person as they are. If the person was going to change anything it was up to themselves. But the therapist does not have to live with such a person, and that’s why real love is not just accepting a person’s behavior as they are especially when that behavior impacts on others around them.”
“if God’s love WAS/IS unconditional then wouldn’t we have to concede that universalism is the only conclusion (in afterlife theology)..??? Y’know.. the whole ‘where we are without faith He remains faithful cause He cannot deny Himself (love)’ concept!!”
Shalom/Salaam/Pax! Rowland Croucher
Justice for Dawn Rowan – http://dawnrowansaga.blogspot.com/