God is Good

What is the ultimate source of goodness in the universe?

“In the beginning God…” According to Scripture, God predates the universe. In fact, He predates all space, matter, and even time itself. So, before we examine goodness in our world, let’s explore the goodness of God. What does God’s own letter to us say about His goodness?

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his faithful love endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1, 107:1)

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.
How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

God has revealed to us that He is perfectly good and He alone is the standard of goodness. His perfect goodness existed before the first atom of the universe was formed, before the first second of time transpired, and before the first breath of life. His attribute of goodness is unchanging, never increasing or decreasing, always infinitely and perfectly complete. This understanding of God’s goodness helps us make sense of Webster’s reference to a ‘moral order of the universe’ as the ultimate standard by which goodness is to be measured.

Through all the epochs of the world’s history. All the courageous acts of love and heroism such as soldiers and first responders sacrificing their lives for others they do not know. All the humanitarian acts of compassion such as feeding starving children, taking in orphans, and caring for widows. Even, maybe especially, through all the wars, pandemics, terrorism, and atrocities. Through all this, God’s goodness has remained the steadfast rock upon which we evaluate and measure goodness.

When seen in this light, I believe God’s goodness is too grand for us, with our finite minds, to fully apprehend. A.W. Tozer put it this way, “The goodness of God is infinitely more wonderful than we will ever be able to comprehend.”  However wonderous we believe God’s goodness is, there is a vast canyon between that and his actual infinite goodness.

What this means for us Christians is that our faith is inextricably bound in our belief in God’s goodness. Martin Luther expressed this sentiment, “This is true faith, a living confidence in the goodness of God.”

In a world that has lost its way concerning goodness, remembering God’s goodness is the first step to recognizing goodness in the world. Said another way, before we can rightly see goodness in the world, we must rightly gaze upon the goodness of God. Let us give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!

In my next essay, we will explore the goodness of God’s creation.