What does it mean that God is good?Question: "What does it mean that God is good?"
Answer: Jesus declared, “No one is good—except God alone” (Luke 18:19). First John 1:5 tells us that “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” To say that God is good means that God always acts in accordance to what is right, true, and good. Goodness is part of God’s nature, and He cannot contradict His nature. Holiness and righteousness are part of God’s nature; He cannot do anything that is unholy or unrighteous. God is the standard of all that is good.
The fact that God is good means that He has no evil in Him, His intentions and motivations are always good, He always does what is right, and the outcome of His plan is always good (see Genesis 50:20). There is nothing unpleasant, evil, or dark in Him. The Bible teaches that God’s goodness extends from His nature to everything that He does (Psalm 119:68). “The LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5).
Everything that God made was originally good: “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31; cf. 1 Timothy 4:4). God’s goodness is showcased in the Law He gave to Israel; the Law is holy, righteous, and good (Romans 7:12). “Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). God can create only what is good, because He is fully good.
God did not create evil (Habakkuk 1:13; 1 John 1:5). Rather, evil is the absence of goodness; it is whatever God is not. Because of His goodness, God abhors sin and will judge it some day (Romans 2:5). It is never the will of our good God for us to sin: “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone” (James 1:13).
God’s goodness should lead to thankfulness on our part: “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1; cf. 1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 118:1; 136). However, people do not naturally want to follow or thank God. Instead, “people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). In the Old Testament, the Israelites repeatedly rejected God’s good Law, forgot His goodness toward them, and were unfaithful to Him: “They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them” (Psalm 78:11).
Ultimately, God’s goodness is seen in His plan to redeem us from sin. The gospel is “good news.” In His goodness, God sent His Son to become the perfect and blameless sacrifice so we could be forgiven of our sins. God does not want “anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), and it is “the goodness of God [that] leadeth thee to repentance” (Romans 2:4, KJV).
There is only One who is fully and truly good—God. This good God invites us to seek Him and to “taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8).
Recommended Resource: God Is Great, God Is Good: Why Believing in God Is Reasonable and Responsible by Craig & Meister
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