The goodness of God


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The goodness of God
The goodness of God, as described in the Bible, is very different from the sterile ideal of Plato, and
to some extent Aristotle. God is not an unmoved mover. He responds to people's behaviour. God is
described as providing an interactive sort of goodness. It is a goodness which makes demands on
humanity. God defines what goodness is, even if it might sometimes appear unreasonable or
The biblical God sets a standard or goodness for people to follow and then watches over the way
that they respond to the guidance and laws they are given. For example, in Exodus 20, the Israelites,
who had been led out of slavery by Moses, are given laws directly from God which they are to follow
as part of their covenant relationship with him:
The Ten Commandments
1. Worship no God but me
2. Do not make or worship idols
3. Do not misuse my name
4. Keep the Sabbath day holy
5. Respect your father and mother
6. Do not murder
7. Do not commit adultery
8. Do not steal
9. Do not falsely accuse anyone
10. Do not desire anything that belongs to another person
The main characteristics of God's relationship with the people are that they are to respond to his
goodness with obedience to his commands. Some of the characters in the Bible who are singled out
for special commendation are those who, through faith, continue to obey Gods commands. For
example, Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac because of his faith in the goodness of
God; and Job continued to praise God and be obedient to him even when he felt he was being
unjustly punished.
The goodness of God therefore, demands that people respond with faith.
God's goodness is often described as righteousness and involves a desire that people should treat
one another fairly. God is made angry when people refuse to recognise and respond to his
goodness. He can also be moved to pity and displays his goodness in compassionate responses to
prayer. God can be seen as caring for people as a parent cares for their children.
In many parts of the Bible the goodness of God is seen to be synonymous with his love; and it is the
love of God which demands that people become the best that they have the potential to be, by
obeying his commands as they are revealed.
In the New Testament, the goodness of God and his interaction with the world is shown in the person
of Jesus, and this is the primary, most important concept in Christianity. Christians believe God came
into the world as a man in order to demonstrate his love for humanity.
Christian belief is that the goodness of God can be seen in the words and actions of Jesus. His moral
teachings, healings, miracles and self-sacrifice all reveal God's goodness as active and interactive.


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