The Centrality of “Good” in God’s Universe

Inundated as we are with all the evil in this world, it is often hard to imagine that good might be the underlying premise of God's universe. But I think Dallas Willard is right about this. The truth is that all of reality was created good and God said it was so (Gen.1). Only on Earth has the good been undermined and subverted so much that it is often obscured by the evil that seeks to destroy all that is good. We are the rebellious planet in an otherwise perfect creation that is all part of the Kingdom of God. But the very fact that evil is non-creative and has no substance beyond the person of Satan and his minions — the fact that the only thing evil can do is pervert what is good, like diseased tissue — this should tell us something about the nature of realty.

As such, I think it might even be possible to formulate a view of the Kingdom that sees everything else in its relationship to good (as a noun, not an adjective). We might even think of good as a unifying field theory of all that is holy and right. Redefining many of our most important words in terms of good we come up with:

  • Faith: Knowledge and awareness of the unseen good. Trust that good is greater than evil.
  • Hope: Anticipation of good.
  • Love: The will for the good of another. Extending one's self for another's good.
  • Joy: A natural response to an encounter with what is good.
  • Glory: Good in all its brilliance.

Jesus went about doing good (Acts.10:38). We have been redeemed by grace to bring good into our world (Eph.2:8-10). We are meant to become good trees that bear good fruit (Mt.7:17). A good person brings out of their good treasure what is good (Mt.12:35). The gospel is good news (Lk.2:10). Our good was the intent of the Sabbath (Lk.6:9). Jesus is the good shepherd (Jn.10:11). God's will is for good (Rom.12:2). Evil can be overcome with good (Rom.12:21). Goodness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22).

And finally, "God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God" (Rom.8:28). That is His overriding intention.

For me, this is a great encouragement, that good is what we are destined for, and good is what we are about, as we learn to live in the Kingdom. God is good to us; we receive the good things He has for us; we give away the good as it overflows in our life. How good is that!

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