In the preceding blog we discussed that when the Bible is examined as a whole, three main aspects for the word “good” come out.
The first characteristic of “good” is that for something to be good, it must fulfill a purpose.
However, there is more to “good” than this.
“Good” also has a moral aspect to it.
Morality relates to the principles of right and wrong in behavior. For example, the Genesis account of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
We understand that “evil” is rebellion against God, and “good” equates to obedience to God. Essentially, the choice is always “good” (God’s way) or “evil” (against God’s way).
The Parable of Talents is another illustration. In that story told by Christ, a man was leaving town and gave money, or talents, to each of three servants to work with while he was away.
The first servant was given five bags. Through hard work he doubled it to ten. The second servant was offered two bags and he came back with four. The last servant was given one bag, and, having a bad attitude toward his owner, he buried it in the ground – earning nothing.
The first two servants were praised by the owner. Matthew 25:21 says, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” The last was tossed out on his ear (so to speak).
The question is – why were the first two servants considered good?
We can see that they were good because they worked with what they’d been given and, thus, achieved beyond their master’s basic expectations.
These servants made an extra effort, and even took a risk, to bring their master gain and benefit.
“Goodness” in this story means going beyond mere requirements. It means to give up something of yourself for God, because He is gracious and kind toward His people.
There are many examples that can help to understand the morality of “good,” yet we will finish with Luke 18:18-19.
In this odd exchange between a ruler and Christ, the Bible states, “A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to Him, “Why do you call Me Good? No one is good except God alone.”
There is the underlying comparison of Jesus to God Himself in this dialogue so that the ruler will understand who Jesus is. But notice that Jesus calls God “good.”
What makes God good?
First, He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He is the Creator, sacrificial, holy and kind.
We could continue these powerful adjectives for pages, but what comes out is that God is everything we aren’t. God is right and good. He will always make the best decision and will never do evil. After all, evil itself is defined in its opposition to God.
Therefore, the very essence of God is good.
In Part 3, we will see that for something to be good, it must have a tangible result.