As I was thinking about how to tackle to subject of whether or not God is really good, I realized that it would probably be a good idea to explore who God is. How do we know if he is really good if we don’t know anything about him? I can’t claim to know all the inner thoughts of God. Heck, I am still growing and learning about God myself. However, we do have one source to go for answers about what God actually thinks. That source is the Bible. So, here is the story of God according to the Bible. (This is a paraphrased summary so I encourage you to go read for yourself and test my words.) There is a lot in the Bible, but here is a hint: in the end it’s really all about Jesus.
Genesis 1 starts us off with the beautiful and spectacular story of creation. God delicately creates and forms the universe, the land, the sea, the creatures, and the first humans. This is the start of everything. And everything was good and beautiful and perfect. But, God wanted more than perfect creations, he wanted (and still wants) relationship. In Genesis 2:15 God gives Adam a rule. One rule. One little rule that was to be obeyed. That one rule was: Do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I believe they had a rule so that they had the opportunity to choose whether or not to love and trust God based on their own heart’s desires because… true love is a choice. That was it; one rule and total freedom in paradise otherwise. They were also given one responsibility: Take care of the animals and the garden.
The trouble began when Adam and Eve could not follow that one rule (Genesis 3). Great! They had one rule and they broke it. Unfortunately, the punishment was spiritual death; sin entered the human soul and we were separated from eternal and personal interaction with God Almighty.
Our bodies also became mortal. God had tried to warn Adam and Eve, telling them that eating the fruit of that one tree would result in death, but they wanted to follow their own desires and what they desired was to be their own god. What Eve wanted was the wisdom of God, what she and Adam failed to hear and understand was that the knowledge of both good and evil came with a very steep price. Up until then, they had only experienced good. Rather than trust God they listened to Satan, who made death seems like something desirable.
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Genesis 3:6
Sin then produced a punishment and it stunk, but God still loved them just as he still loves us. Except, after that the relationship had changed. Instead of walking beside and talking to God daily, God’s friends could no longer be in his presence. Sin created a separation that could not simply and easily be undone. While we frequently may consider the feelings of Adam and Eve in this and perhaps see God as a temperamental and unfaithful friend who removed himself, the truth is that God was deeply saddened by the choices the first human’s made. The people he created to share life with chose to pursue their own desires rather than his friendship. What they coveted was something out of reach while they remained obedient to the one rule God had given them. And, although the rule was to give them choice, it was also there for their protection.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37
You see? God will not force himself into your life. He will not demand your obedience, or love, or friendship. He simply puts himself out there. What happens next is up to you.
As a parent I have rules to protect my kids, they still have a choice whether or not to trust me and obey or to do what they want. Frequently, when they choose to pursue their own desires there are consequences. Sometimes those consequences hurt and create broken relationships and loss of trust. This is exactly what happened for Adam and Eve and their friendship with God.
Despite that, God still wanted Adam and Eve to know him. Throughout history, God has pursued redemption, healing, and reconciliation with humanity because regardless of the brokenness, God still wants relationship with us…even in our sin and sorrow; every part of us.
Because God is good.
This is the God that I know. A God who wants each of us and pursues us even to our death beds. A God who was willing to sacrifice everything in order to create lasting and permanent redemption. A God who forgives the worst of sins and betrayal. God…almighty and supreme…still wants you and me.
Is there anything more spectacular than that?
“This is how God showed his love for us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”
1 John 4:9
Author: Jacqi Kambish
This is the second post in a series titled: “Is God REALLY Good?” The first post may be of interest to you: Is God Really Good? Also stay tuned for “Who is God-Part 2” due to post on Monday, April 10, 2017.