June 28, 2022

Is God Really All Good?

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge.  2 Peter 1:5

When you look at a piece of furniture and see the beautiful graining in the wood, you are aware that the variation of the graining is simply the polished surface of the whole.  It is only the exterior that you see.  When it comes to God, His essential attributes or characteristics are somewhat like the grain of a beautiful piece of wood with its intertwined veins, which blend together and glow with a deep radiance and beauty.  When it comes to seeing God, we only see a very small part, yet because we are human and strive to understand God in terms of human relationships or behavior, we talk about his qualities which we call attributes.

For example, we say God is faithful, or God is just or all-powerful and so forth, but no attribute–with the possible exception of the faithfulness of God– speaks more to my heart personally than does the goodness of God, undeserving as I am.   It isn’t that I question the fact that God is good.  It is simply that I am confounded as to why I should be the recipient of this goodness.  I am the problem—not the gracious and kind Father.

Goodness is one of the attributes or characteristics of God.  And what tells us of this?  Nature?  No, nature tells us of God’s power but not His goodness.  Does science tell us that God is good?  Again, the answer is negative.  What about history?  Here we find the testimonies of men and women who tasted the goodness of God.  In times of difficulty, they turned to God, and God met them.  But it is primarily the Bible that answers the question, “What is God like?”  And in simple but strong terms, the men who penned this grand old book contend that God is good—period and without qualification.   Over 100 times God’s goodness is cited in this book.  As Nahum, the prophet, cried out, “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7).

Goodness, as opposed to badness or evil, stems from the very essence of God.  This is not a syrupy, weak sentimentality, but a strong reflection of purity and kindness which should never be taken as weakness.   A study of comparative religions quickly points out that goodness is only associated with this great God who created our world and sent His Son to show us the way back to heaven. Pagan deities are thought of as angry gods who must be appeased, not as a loving God whose goodness touches the lives of His children.

Paul contrasted the goodness and the severity of God (Romans 11:22, KJV): goodness towards those who would trust Him; severity towards the wicked.   It is at this point that a lot of people get hung up.  They want a God who is a kind of Santa Claus, a source of good gifts and blessings, and certainly the great Paramedic of the Universe who saves us from our own blunders, but when they see both goodness and severity, they can’t handle it.

When we stop and think of what God has done, we are quickly reminded that this great and good God has touched our lives for the better.  And how do we respond?  In some cases by grasping for more, not satisfied with what we have.  But the response of the grateful person is only thanksgiving and gratitude.

Long ago the Psalmist cried out, “O that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men” (Psalm 107:8, KJV).  Yes, friend. Let’s learn to thank Him for His goodness.

 

Resource reading: Psalm 107:1-9.