Angry Love

Document Type

Popular Press

Publication Date

Spring 1988


Love of God, Anger of God, Wrath of God, Biblical Studies, Ethics of God's Love


The question of God’s wrath is an old thorny problem for Christian theology. Simply expressed, one wonders how can a loving God be angry when anger is associated with a loss of temper, and a loss of self-control, and love is expressed in forbearance, patience, and graciousness. Can love be angry?

Yet, the scriptures speak often about an angry God (Nehemiah 1:6; Mark 3:5; and John 2:13-17).

Some treated this problem as only a human metaphor. Others as a pedagogical tool. Cultural anthropologists saw in it a vestige of primitive fear of taboos.

Lactantius claims that God is slow to anger but angry with a loving purpose. He is angry at hatred. His anger means that He hates sin, not the sinner. God’s wrath keeps the distinction between sin and righteousness, the right and righteousness, the right and wrong. It keeps the moral structure of the universe intact. His wrath consumes the sin in me and thus prepares the way to forgiveness. In that sense God’s wrath is creative. The new creation is possible only after the total annihilation of sin in me.

God’s anger is not against but for man. This is how He makes me safe to be loved.

Journal Title

Collegiate Quarterly





First Page


Last Page


First Department

Theology and Christian Philosophy


Retrieved 8-24-21 from https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Periodicals/CQ/CQ19880401-V11-02.pdf