Verse in question:
In Psalm 5:5 we read that: “The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity.”
Does God hate sinners? I thought he loved everyone?
A first look seems to suggest that the author, David, is implying that God hates sinners, but is that necessarily God’s view? For instance, we see Psalm 137:9 the author’s hatred of the Babylonians for their capturing of the Jews: “How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock.”
Would that be God’s view? Does God condone dashing “little ones against the rock(s)”? No, the author is simply speaking his mind, and if that is the case there is no reason to suppose that David in Psalm 5:5 is not speaking his.
Second, there is a writing device called metonymy. This is a figure of speech that replaces the name of a thing with the name of something else with which it is closely associated. For example, when I say that “I really hate Shakespeare”, I do not mean that I hate his personality, I mean I hate his work, his poems.
A Biblical case in point would be when we read that God hates “a false witness who speaks lies” (Proverbs 6:19), if metonymy is deployed, then God hates the lies and the one who is doing the lying (the cause) is put in place of the lies (the effect). In Proverbs 6:17 God hates “a lying tongue.” Would that mean that God hates physical tongues? No, obviously not, it means God hates the sin that a tongue can perform.
It is crucial to bear in mind that the Bible writers often used figures of speech when they write. So, in this case (Psalm 5:5) God hates sin, but loves sinners, the figure of speech known as metonymy clears up the confusion. Just as God does not hate physical feet or tongues, he does not hate sinners. These nouns are put in the place of the things they cause – sin. It would also defy explanation to suggest that God hates sinners which is the very reason he had Jesus die on a cross.