God's perfections...and why we praise him

When we say God is good…I am having trouble understanding what precisely we mean by “good”

Also, I am confused with our understanding of God as necessarily morally perfect…This seems to be a contradiction…it seems like to be morally perfect one must have the oppurtunity to be immoral…otherwise, one is not acting out of freedom but simply out of nature…

Any ideas?
Thanks

He is “good” and “morally perfect” because He is the source of morals and goodness itself.

He has revealed what morally and goodness is.

These are some great questions.:thumbsup:

My understanding is that God is good because he desires the happiness of others and acts on this desire to perfection.

Also, I am confused with our understanding of God as necessarily morally perfect…This seems to be a contradiction…it seems like to be morally perfect one must have the oppurtunity to be immoral…otherwise, one is not acting out of freedom but simply out of nature…

Any ideas?
Thanks

God is literally love itself personified. by its nature, love is free, so love personified must freely love by its nature. So, strictly speaking, it is possible to have a nature in which one always loves, but God can not give us this same nature because it is logically impossible for creatures to personify an abstract quality. At least, that’s how I understand it.:smiley:

We say God is perfect because there is no other like him. He is the source of all that is “good”. All that is not “good” in our understanding he has somehow for some reason allowed to be in order to make it “good”. God does not tempt nor deceive and cannot be tempted or deceived. What God wants more than anything else is for us to be just like him. There is a seldom know quote"All that has been called evil has only been called evil to conceal its holiness".

Well, as far as being morally perfect, I’m not sure that’s what we must believe. Is it correct to speak of God as being morally good or bad? Does this imply that there is a law above God to which He must adhere and, so, be well-behaved?

Goodness can refer to Virtue. Did you ever consider that God is perfect Virtue?

“Virtus” in Latin means “power”. If there is a God…then God is utterly stable and powerful. Let’s look at Power as Virtue. We know of 2 kinds of Virtue…extroverted and recessive. Of the extroverted…there is outward Justice and other expressions of strength…on the introverted side there is Mercy, Patience, Humility and other expressions of restraint. Hence, you get a picture of God as extroverted and recessive (a kind of male/female) in His Virtue. Creating humanity it is written…“He made them both male and female. In His own image He made them.”

On the Cross it is said that Justice and Mercy have embraced (kissed). God has found a Way to save us through the virtuous Act of Jesus.

Now, there are various kinds of virtues but only one interconnected Virtue. But, where does the Holy Spirit fit into all this? Yes, God is perfectly Virtuous prior to creation…but when He chose to act…He actualized other Virtues that were already part of His character…Faith, Hope, Love, Obedience…etc. These are the Virtues that come from the Holy Spirit.
If you are to be saved…then take on Faith (the Wedding garment of the Holy Spirit)…Hope in God…Trust

There is middle ground too. Like the pillar of mercy, the pillar of severity and the piller of mildness.

Yes - one has only to read the Old Testament to see what a lovely and charming fellow God is.

Tell me - why do we no longer follow God’s morality? Indeed, why are many of God’s moral teachings now illegal in most of the world today?

Something here doesn’t add up…

Including the teaching of Christ which is the foundation of the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity?

Something here doesn’t add up…

:thumbsup:
There’s no doubt about that!

That’s right! Ignore the slavery endorsement, the rape endorsement, the general mysogyny, the genocide, the infanticide, the foeticide, and so on. That’s only a very small part of what God preaches, so it’s alright really.

Unbelievable.

Including the teaching of Christ which is the foundation of the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity?

Wrong again! When will you theists learn that just because something is written in a book, that doesn’t make it the ONLY source of that information! The idea that free society only exists today because of the bible is preposterous! And clearly wrong when you consider that christian theocracries were documentedly NOT free societies! Inquisitions and witch-burnings, anyone?

:thumbsup:
There’s no doubt about that!

Its quite funny - when I was searching your posts recently for an appropriate example to demonstrate your dishonest debating method for our private conversation, the number of them that were accompanied by smug vacuous emoticons - ie when you think you’ve made an untrumpable and profound statement - was overwhelming. Here you go again.

Tony - in all seriousness - you are impossible to have a debate with. You are dishonest, slippery, you NEVER substantiate your outlandish claims, and your posts are rife with personal venom, presumably to try and divert attention away from the fact that you have no real arguments.

Please leave me alone, and I’ll do the same for you.

You are proving my point, selecting all the worst aspects of the Old Testament and ignoring the best! It is obvious to everyone except a nitwit that your examples are not what God preaches but the fallible interpretation of events by primitive human beings.

[quote]Including the teaching of Christ which is the foundation of the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity?

Wrong again! When will you theists learn that just because something is written in a book, that doesn’t make it the ONLY source of that information!
[/quote]

Please cite a reference with **a rational foundation for the belief that men, women and children are all equal **- other than we are members of the same family with one Father in heaven.

The idea that free society only exists today because of the bible is preposterous! And clearly wrong when you consider that christian theocracries were documentedly NOT free societies! Inquisitions and witch-burnings, anyone?

You fail to distinguish the example and teaching of Jesus from the crimes of His so-called followers.

Its quite funny - when I was searching your posts recently for an appropriate example to demonstrate your dishonest debating method for our private conversation, the number of them that were accompanied by smug vacuous emoticons - ie when you think you’ve made an untrumpable and profound statement - was overwhelming.

It is pitiful that you can produce no stronger argument than that and resort to such irrelevant, personal comments without refuting my statements…

Tony - in all seriousness - you are impossible to have a debate with. You are dishonest, slippery, you NEVER substantiate your outlandish claims, and your posts are rife with personal venom, presumably to try and divert attention away from the fact that you have no real arguments.

Further unsubstantiated allegations which have nothing to do with the subject and infringe the forum conduct rules.

Please leave me alone, and I’ll do the same for you.

If you make statements on this forum** attacking Christianity **I shall continue to respond - as I shall to anyone else of the same ilk - regardless of your wish to continue unopposed…

If this thread can’t remain charitable it will be closed.

This “middle ground” between the extroverted and recessive character of Virtue…which would be as you say “mildness” …or stillness…peace, could also be pointing to the Holy Spirit. I think Catholic theology has the Holy Spirit in the middle ground…as the Love between the Father and Son/Son and Father.

Thought provoking replies so far!!!
The thing that is confusing is how can we praise God for his perfections (e.g. love) if he acts in love because he is love…iow that is his nature to act that way?

And this response is just meaningless and has nothing to do with my actual question.

It wasn’t in response to your question, it was in response to Michael Howling.

On the subject of God being “good,” - the definition of “good” is open to interpretation. You’re right, it is problematic, because according to the OT, this “good” God either perpetrated or condoned actions that today we would all, apart from WLC, describe as “bad.”

So does God get a “get out of jail free” card simply because he is God? And if so, why? And how are we to know what’s actually good and what’s not? Is rape and pillage good or bad? Or is it bad unless God does it, when it magically becomes good?

It’s no wonder that the concept of a good and moral God is problematic - even more so when further characteristics such as omniscience and omnipotence are attributed to him. From any objective perspective, the idea of a good and just God that allows innocent people to suffer is pretty much the biggest problem facing theology. There is just no explanation that does not resort to special pleading… special pleading based on a “knowledge” of God’s motives that those doing the pleading cannot possibly actually know.

Your questions are excellent - unfortunately there is no plausible answer that preserves your god’s common attributes. I’m not surprised that you’re confused - the entire concept makes no more sense than a circular triangle. And circular triangles don’t exist…

This last comment of yours is just obviously not true. No one believes in circular triangles yet plenty of educated people believe in Catholic theology and philosophy. This last comment just shows really you haven’t thought about the issue…I think its best rather than attack others beliefs to actually look into them with some intellectual honesty.

I think that your reasoning is problematic for a number of reasons and you are not quite getting my question anyway.
I am NOT asking about what makes an action morally good. I am quite certain that without the standard of God there can be no objective morality. Further, this has nothing to do with the Old Testament.

The question is hard to word exactly but its more just a questioning of what exactly is meant by God’s love or something like that…is it morally good? can God be morally good even if there is none above Him? (iow does that apply to God?)
Or what about perfect contrition…How do I learn to love God for His own sake? I guess what exactly is the object of my love in that case?

These are pretty deep philosophical questions, I do not know if there is 1 answer and I thank everyone who has participated in the conversation and added helpful insights so far

The equation is too great for any of us to fully grasp, though not completely out of reach. Consider this tiny yet significant fraction: (Isaiah 55.8-9) “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

I don’t disagree, but that doesn’t make the claims that “God is good” any more coherent. The evidence just does not match the claim.

This last comment just shows really you haven’t thought about the issue…I think its best rather than attack others beliefs to actually look into them with some intellectual honesty.

I have thought about the issue - it’s really not a difficult thing to consider. Replace “God” with a human being. That human being perpetrates the same acts - slavery, genocide, infanticide, rape etc. That human allows acts that kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people a year, although it is in his power to prevent these tragedies.

Is that human being good? If not, why is God good?

Really, this is not a difficult concept. Explain how a good, omnipotent, omniscient god allows this to happen. Without recourse to special pleading.

I think that your reasoning is problematic for a number of reasons and you are not quite getting my question anyway.
I am NOT asking about what makes an action morally good. I am quite certain that without the standard of God there can be no objective morality.

But of course, there is no objective morality. That’s another problem. Morality, in the sense of “acceptable behaviour” (unless you mean something else?), has demonstrably changed throughout history. Moreover, the acts displayed by God in the OT are not considered moral today. So are we actually *less *moral now, because we don’t keep slaves, beat and rape women, and murder infants - all the things that your reputedly moral God used to do? Because if God begat objective morality, then how do you answer the following questions?

  1. Why has morality changed; and why does it continue to change?
  2. What is the objective morality?
  3. How can you demonstrate the source of this objective morality (if indeed you can answer question 2)?
  4. If God is the source of objective (good) morality, why did he commit such unspeakable acts?
  5. If you’re able to answer question 4 - what’s your rationale?

If you can answer all these questions without recourse to speculation, “revelation,” or special pleading, then you may have a case.

Further, this has nothing to do with the Old Testament.

I think it does if you’re making a claim that objective morality came from God, when the OT is quite clear about the acts that God committed. Unless you’re conceding that the OT is not an accurate record of fact.

The question is hard to word exactly but its more just a questioning of what exactly is meant by God’s love or something like that…is it morally good? can God be morally good even if there is none above Him? (iow does that apply to God?)

Okay - then are you talking about Euthyphro? Or are you asking how someone can be morally good if they set their own arbitrary morality? Apologies if I’m misunderstanding.

Or what about perfect contrition…How do I learn to love God for His own sake? I guess what exactly is the object of my love in that case?

That is also a problem, since no clear definition of God exists.

These are pretty deep philosophical questions, I do not know if there is 1 answer and I thank everyone who has participated in the conversation and added helpful insights so far

Precisely because they are philosophical questions, there is no right answer.

I’m glad you found my insights helpful :wink:

Fine, but surely you see that this is a circular justification. The same book that describes these terrible acts attempts to justify them by saying, “I have my reasons, and they’re good reasons, but I’m not sharing them with you, so trust me and butt out.” Have you heard the parable of the twelve officers? (note: depending on where you read it, attempts are made beforehand to try and explain it away. This is achieved through a combination of two logical fallacies - Poisoning the Well and Special Pleading)

This is not a circle, it’s more like a dead end where God is saying, “Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand.” (Jeremiah 18.6)
He doesn’t quite say, “trust me and butt out.” But He has said in one place through Moses, Deuteronomy 29.29, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

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