In some Christian circles, I have heard an attempt to explain the supposed love/hate, mercy/judgment dichotomy inherent in Orthodoxy by saying: God loves the sinner but hates their sin. It’s an interesting proposal but not without additional issues. If the problem is sin and not sinners, why destroy the latter to eliminate the former?
The Bible gives numerous accounts of God dealing with sin by destroying sinners, the story of the Flood being perhaps the most prominent. In no instance did that work. In the case of the Flood, “perfect” Noah got drunk and then cursed one of his sons before the earth could even dry out completely afterward.
This destruction mentality explains much about our fixation with violence and destruction as a means transform the world. Many of us see the road to peace and progress as involving the elimination of certain people who obstruct that road. We readily claim the right to engage in our own private war against sin by mimicking God’s perceived method, namely destroying sinners.
Undoubtedly, some will rebut that God’s final dealing with sinners is not destruction but segregation. That distinction is of no consequence, however. Segregation, especially one involving supposed endless torment, cannot be construed as an act of love toward sinners. No, the only possible answer to sin is to reverse whatever caused sin in the first place. If the root cause was free willed beings, then free moral agents must go, all of them. However, if sin is the product of wrong assumptions and a misconception of reality, then sin can be eliminated by the Truth and not by eliminating those who live in ignorance.