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Is Calling God Good...Good Enough?

a deeper look into the what "good" really means

Good is constant. Good cannot be qualified. Good is not on a spectrum. There is no “a little good”, “kinda good”, “sort of good”, or “really good”, though we say those sorts of phrases all the time. Good is simply good. Like light.

There can be a little bit of good just as there can be a little bit of light shining in a dark area. But the light that is shining, no matter how much of it there is, is wholly light; good is wholly good. There is nothing “bad” mixed into it just as there is no darkness in light. It is unbroken, untouched. Pure. Whole.

So when scripture calls God good, and when God says that what He made is good, He is not underselling Himself.

As with the word love, we call things good with flippancy of heart till it means...nothing. When we ask someone for their critique on a project at work, we walk away dejected to hear that it was, “Good”, because in our minds we translate that as, “Just good, not great, not earth-shattering fantastic.” A friend tries a new pizza place and we ask how it was, and they shrug and say, “Good” so we press, “But how good?”

We have watered down the word, and that’s, in part, due to the natural evolution of language, and in part due to our ignorance of our own language. We expect to find some hidden gem in the etymology of the word, convinced that English just isn’t rich enough to encapsulate its full meaning, but, actually, good really is just good, a derivative of the Old English (and even before that, Germanic) gōd meaning excellent, fine, valuable, etc. It doesn't seem to hold any secret meanings either in the Hebrew (טוֹב or tov) or the Greek translation (Καλός or kalós). A cursory look through some of the definitions of good provided by Oxford Languages shows us we don’t need a hidden meaning or justification why scripture uses such a simple, overused word as good to describe God. See for yourself how good is more than enough.

Good Defined

(n.) morally right; righteous; to be desired or approved of

  • He is everything we desire to be but find ourselves incapable of being and everything we desire to have.

  • He is righteous; He is the moral standard

(adj.) having qualities required for a particular role.

  • He is a good God, fully sufficient for the role He inhabits.

(n.) benefit or advantage to someone or something

  • He is our greatest, our only advantage over our own humanity and sin. He is nothing but beneficial to us and for us.

(adj.) (of a ticket) valid

  • He is the only way, truth and life and no one will to the Father except through Him; there is no other name by which we are saved

(adj.) giving pleasure; enjoyable or satisfying

  • He is our ultimate satisfaction, the only who can complete us and the source of all pleasure

(adj.) thorough

  • He is a God who fulfills His promises, leaves no stone unturned, and He who started in us a good work will see it on to completion


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