Is God Good?

From the Bible and the teaching of the Church, especially in this year of mercy, is it appropriate to ask if God is good?

His track record seems poor. He created angels, and a huge number (possibly 30%) fell away. He created humans, and they rejected him. He sent his only son, and he was also rejected. Nowadays many former Christians are leaving God. So is God good?

How do I reply to these negative thoughts. One can say God’s ways are not our ways, and we cannot know the mind of God. But the problem remains. Hell awaits many of us apparently, yet we are told God is good. This is a problem.

Please help me resolve these negative thoughts

But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, “Why have you made me like this?” (Rom 9:20 NRS)

  • For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says 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.
    (Isa 55:8-9 NRS)*

Just because people reject God doesn’t mean He isn’t good. His goodness can be seen in that He came down to earth and took upon Himself our human flesh in order to suffer and die so that His people that had rejected Him may be pardoned. People may continue to reject Him and be destined to perdition, but that is by their own choice. God gives them countless graces throughout their lives to convert so if they don’t, God cannot be blamed and considered bad instead of good since He wills the salvation of all.

I have been thinking about such questions too recently. Of course, I have no real answers.
In case it might be of any use to anyone, here are a few things that seem true to me:

What it means for a human to be good is clearer to us humans than what it means for God to be good.

God wants us humans to be good.

Whatever it means for God to be good, we might be able to perceive it at least a bit, kind of like how a dog or cat can tell when people are good to them or not.

But again, there are limits to our ability to see and understand. No matter how I might try, I could never convince my cats and dogs that I was being good to them when I took them to the vet. When my children were young, I could not convince them that it was good for them to get inoculation shots. Similarly, some things God does for our good don’t look good to us, and it would be silly for me - given my own ignorance - to attempt to defend God’s actions to my peers. I imagine it was frustrating for Jesus as he conveyed his Father’s goodness and love to people whose knowledge of God’s ways were as limited as the knowledge that pets and infants possess of the ways of their owners (of the pets) or parents (of the children).

So, of course, Jesus Christ showed through his life and death what it meant for a human to be good in the most full sense. If through that we can trust Him, then we can trust that the Son’s faith in the Father’s goodness must also be well-founded, despite the dimness of our perceptions.

Finally, even Jesus Christ the Son relied upon the Spirit to complete the work of gifting us with faith.

Cfauster,
many thanks for your reply.
It is heartening.
I hesitated before posting my concerns, as I would like to be positive and help build-up the faith of contributors here. As one who tries to be a loyal Catholic I do not want to upset anyone.

The chicken does not think the fox is good, but the fox has a different view, Hence from our view-point God may not seem good, perhaps saying to us “depart from me you cursed into everlasting fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Confiteor Deo,

thanks for your reply also.
I find your views difficult to accept. As well as good is God powerful? Is he able to save us? Did he fail in his task to save us?

There are difficult questions.

Yes, God is omnipotent and is able to save us, but He created us with free will and cannot force salvation upon someone without infringing upon that gift. God doesn’t fail in anything, people fail.

Amen!

Isaiah 45:7 teaches that God created evil. He allows it to exist and it’s a part of His plan, at least unto those who disobey Him (verse 9 presents a clear enunciation of reward and punishment). Evil and calamity are often ways God tests us or builds our character. God is ultimately benevolent, and what appears as evil in our eyes is often a part of His broader Masterplan.

I have no doubt God is good, but that 1/3 of the angels being successfully lured away by the enemy, I think says something, although Im not sure what.

Angels are nothing like us, they are much more intelligent, for that high a number to believe an opposing force had the chance to ‘win’, again, that speaks volumes.

Ive just come to believe this one of those things we are not meant to fully understand yet, and there is likely much more to the fall story, and it was probably written as it was for good reason, for a human being to grasp the larger picture, thats whats important, not how it happened after all, sort of like stories we tell children, we create stories to teach them the bigger picture but using concepts and words they can understand.

Plus, we do know for a fact there is much more than what is in the bible, God clearly says we are only given SOME of this information.

I don’t really see your thoughts as all that negative. God has always been good and the only reason He has chastised human kind through the centuries is because He loves us. Since we now have Jesus as our mediator we can approach the throne of God with confidence that He will have mercy of each one of us who has a contrite heart.

Congrats!!

It looks like your ready for a higher, greater, understanding of your faith which results in a stong, unbreakable closeness with Christ and Our Lady. At this point you already have ‘the Faith’ which is the more than enough.

But your soul requires you to seek for the lost pearls of understanding, even though you own the jewlery store with many great pearls. This will turn ‘the faith’ into ‘your faith’, BUT it will still be in compliance with ‘the Faith’. So do not entertain thoughts of leaving the Church if you find a pearl in a dark corner [of the internet] because ALL pearls come from, and are property of The Catholic Church! Gods Spirit will testify to what is true according to Jesus and his Word (CCC:687)

Right now all thats happening is God’s Spirit in you is testifying to you a Truth. You know Jesus because he’s ‘in’ you. So you know that Jesus would never bash babies heads on rocks or think of making people eat feces etc. So you wonder about God being Good and are not satisfied with the answers. Well maybe there IS answers for you, but like a great pearl they are hard to find.

-Muslims shout ‘God is Good!’. They may not know why they’re saying this? Someone must have, and many of them could have the same pearl as many Saints like St. Therese below:

-“We can never have too much confidence in the good God… As we hope in Him so shall we receive.” -St. Therese of Lisieux

Either way, what if we’re reading too much into things. We dont want to split God into 2 forces… that doesnt sound right.

Could it be that God was justified in his actions? Well, if ‘God’ appeared to you right now and asked you to kill your child, would you do it? Would Jesus do it as it would violate his own Word? If God is unchanging, then how could God ask Abraham to sacrifice his son on an alter, when we know Jesus wouldnt do this and the Bible throughout prohibits speaks this kind of sacrifice because it goes to Satan essentially. Then who asked Abraham to do this, and why would he be rewarded for breaking God’s ‘eternal law’?

I dont have answers to any of this, but I feel close. :slight_smile: Whatever the answer, Jesus will testify to the truth - not the scripture itself. and I ensure it agrees with the Catechism which all the pearls do. Maybe its as easy as the spelling of ‘God/Lord’ etc… yeah i wish. I believe the Pearl is to be found in ‘God of the Old Testement’ type conspiracies. Usually theres a 1:20 hour ratio before a ‘eureka’ moment happens and i come accross the Truth that someone happens to blurt out, or casually comment. Then that will set me on my way.

I believe God had a good reason to do what he did throught the old testement. John 8:44 sums it up well.

However, I do believe there is a further ‘Good God’, ‘Bad God’ narrative with many are in the ‘know’ about but its a very hard pearl to find.

For instance, why was Adam and Eve’s eyes OPENED after eating the tree of knowledge that God said NOT to? Or were their eyes opened really a symbol of them closing due to a fleshly body. Its these sorts of mysteries I’m confident the Church has all the teachings on, but are kept in certain circles and not on the internet or in English.

‘‘God is Good’’ - :)It is the most important belief in your life.
I mean to stick to this formula is very important.
Its important especially in the moments which experienced the Biblical characters such as Job, Daniel, Abraham, Ruth… also the martyrs for Christ, and those suffering by injustice.
And most importantly, to believe in this formula contrary to all, contraty to circumstances, even when all the evidences are shouting contrary.

Athanasiy,
thanks for your great reply.
I agree with you.
In spite of evidence to the contrary we should hang onto ‘God id good’.
I think of Newman:
‘He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.’

SnoopSword
perhaps God has a good plan for individual ending up in hell and suffering for all eternity.
I cannot see it.
I cannot see how suffering for all eternity terrible pains is good.

God is goodness itself. Evil is simply the opposition to that goodness, to Him. Free will, a good gift He gave to His creation-to us-makes possible this opposition. Our freedom necessarily entails His non-involvement or intervention in our lives in any direct manner. So even the cross doesn’t overwhelm and force us to comply with Him; it’s designed to give us the most overt and comprehensive and intense insight into His desire for our welfare, into His love, into His goodness, so we’ll turn away, at our option, from its opposite.

If God isn’t good our lives are futile, meaningless. We might as well join the opposition, do as we please, because there’s really nothing to oppose anyway. But as it is, goodness is foundational to this very universe. He just asks and draws and helps us, without coercion, to follow along, to act justly, to embrace goodness, to align ourselves with His perfect will. Eventually He’ll enforce that very appropriate and beneficial rule; evil will not always be allowed to co-exist with good.

Fhansen,
I am grateful to you for your reply.
Your God seems callous. He could help us if he wanted to but he lets us to go to hell. He could allow us not to be led into temptation, to but he chooses not to.

Adonia,
Thanks.
Do you believe that God allows people to suffer in hell for all eternity? If so, it is hard to see that he is good.

Mikekle,
are you inferring that the Church’s teaching on hell is a story to scare us into obeying the rules?

I am grateful for all the replies, but have ended up confused. It seems God does not interfere with our choices to go to hell. We choose evil because it seems good. Some may end up in hell. Perhaps that is just how it is. God’s ways are not our ways.

But let us hope that all will be saved and that Jesus’ life on earth was not useless for anyone.

This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all-- this was attested at the right time. (1Ti 2:3-6 NRS)

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