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Behold, It Was Very Good

What God says and does, 3

by Everett Wilson
March 7, 2012

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Behold, It Was Very Good

 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:31

 

The creation came into being by God's will and word. When it was complete, God judged it as apart from himself, as having merit in its own right. He saw that it was good. It wasn't  good because he made it, but because he made it good.   He had the authority and power to make it as he chose.  He could have made it bad; instead he  chose to make it good, and then was satisfied with what he produced.

To say otherwise--that God was compelled by his nature to make it good—implies that God is not as free as you and I are: we may or may not want to make bad stuff, but we are free, within our limitations as created beings, to do all that is in our power to do. God has no limitations. In utter freedom to do otherwise, he created all that exists as good in itself.      

"Good in itself" has no meaning to those who measure goodness only as it relates to their personal well-being.  But to sharks, for one example, our personal well-being is irrelevant. We are food. They see that we are good for something—even delicious, maybe--but they do not see us as possessing rights.They owe us nothing, not even a fair chance to get away.They are interested in their dinner, not in competition.   

When God saw that everything he made was good, the concept as yet had no moral component, not even in the animal kingdom. God had created a somewhat sex-obsessed food chain, not a civil order.  Its creatures ate prodigiously and reproduced prodigiously in a violent environment where even temporary survival was difficult. Individual creatures did not survive, but life prevailed from generation to generation because creatures were good  at doing what they were designed and created to do.  Life feeds on life, enabling life to generate life.

Nothing in the cosmos was  created as evil. Evil was neither  inherent in  creation nor did it pre-exist, abiding its time until God gave it something to work with.  Nothing was created as moral either—until God breathed life into a creature that he had made in his own image.Then the moral order became a possibility, at the very end of the creative process but as part of the process created; in the moral order also, life feeds on life and life reproduces life, and humans begin  to understand themselves and  to grasp just how good the creation was and is.   We must understand  the goodness at the beginning before we may  define evil in the present.    

 There's not a plant or flower below,
but makes thy glories known,
and clouds arise, and tempests blow,
by order from thy throne;
while all that borrows life from thee
is ever in thy care;
and everywhere that we can be,
thou, God,  art present there.

      --Isaac Watts, 1715

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