The Goodness of God

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  • Created by: Agata
  • Created on: 05-03-14 13:25

The goodness of God as described in the bible is very different from the ideal of Platonic thought. God’s goodness is interactive and makes demands of humanity.

God is seen more than just an ideal to follow, which remains unaffected and does not care who aspires to it. God is seen as a personality, reacting to people and caring about the way they behave.

Goodness as a quality or Plato’s Form of the Good is inactive and very unlike the God of the bible. Goodness as a scale against which things are measured is not interested in the results of what it is measuring, because qualities do not have the capacity to take an interest.

God sets a standard for the people to follow, and watches too see the way they respond. In Exodus 20 the Hebrew people who have been lead out of slavery by Moses into the wilderness are given laws directly from God which they are to follow as part of their covenant relationship with him. Some laws relate to their relationship with God and others to their treatment of one another; for example the10 commandments (the Decalogue):

‘You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God… You shall not steal’

Goodness is revealed to faith, not reason (as in Platonic thought). Some of the characters in the bible who are singled out for special commendation are those who through faith continue to obey God’s commands even if they don’t understand them.

In Genesis Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac because of his faith

Job continued to praise and be obedient to God even though he felt he was being unjustly punished

God becomes angered at injustice because he cares about his creation, and calls upon his prophets to let his people know they are failing him. He is hurt when people refuse…


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