The Goodness of God
Hey, church family! While we are being cautioned not to meet in person at this point, I’m thankful we are still able to gather virtually and that we have the technology to put out blog posts and content that can encourage you in this time.
I’d like to take a few moments to talk about Genesis 2 and 3. I was originally planning to share this message with our student ministry group. Since we cancelled our gathering, I thought I should still share with you all because the content is so timely in regard to what is going on in the world right now. In troubling times one of the biggest questions that people all around the world have is, “How could a good God allow evil to happen?” The assumption that most people make is that because evil exists, God is not good. Well, let’s take a look at God’s Word to see what it says in regard to this question.
In Genesis chapter 1, we get a beautiful narrative of God creating all the cosmos. His unlimited power is displayed in the way that He simply speaks, and matter is created. We discover in chapter 1 that God created man on Day 6 of creation -- He saved the best for last by creating man in His image. While this means many things for our lives, to simplify it, it means God created us for His glory. God made you and me for Himself. Our purpose and design are to love God. Colossians 1:16 describes it like this:
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him. - Colossians 1:16
Don’t miss the end. Read it again. All things were created for Him! That certainly includes you and me.
As we step into Genesis chapter 2, we zoom into Day 6 of creation. The most time is spent explaining this day so we can know it is important.
For chapter 2 my Bible uses the subtitle of “The Creation of Man and Woman”, but I have another subtitle that I think is a good summary. Disclaimer: subtitles are not a part of God’s Word; they were added more recently. I would title this section: “The Goodness of God.”
Why should it be summarized this way? Because this section of scripture so clearly shows God’s goodness to mankind. Look what God gives and blesses man with: God gives man the very breath of life (2:7), a beautiful and abundant dwelling place (2:8), a good commandment (2:16-17), dominion over the earth and its creatures (1:28, 2:19), community (2:23), marriage (2:24), and finally the gift of Himself. God could have spoken man into existence and just left him alone. Rather, He gave incredible detail to the creation of man and continues to bless him in so many good and wonderful ways.
If that’s the picture the Bible paints of God’s creation, then why doesn’t creation seem so wonderful? Why isn’t everything good around us? Why is there suffering, sickness, and disease?
Well, because of Genesis chapter 3…
In Genesis 3 man and woman decide to disobey the good commandment of God and turn against Him. This action could best be described as cosmic treason. That which God created for Himself and blessed decided to rebel against His good authority. The temptation presented was the opportunity to “be like God.” This was a tragic lie. Man was created for God, but man decided to attempt to be like God.
What is the fallout of this? Every man became inherently sinful through Adam’s sin. Sin could be described as rejecting God’s design to love God. The actions we perform that are against the will of God are sin. But sin is deeper than that! It is a condition of the heart -- the heart of rebellion towards God. We are all born with it because of this first sin. Adam was a representative of the human race. Paul describes this in the book of Romans.
Romans 5:12 – “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”
Further, in Psalm 51 we see the truth that all men are born into sin because of Adam.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. - Psalm 51:5
The consequence of sin is condemnation, meaning eternal separation from God. This gave man exactly what he chose: to be separated from God forever. Romans 5:18 says: “one trespass led to condemnation for all men…”
When man sinned against God, there were spiritual consequences: all men would be sinful by nature and all men would deserve condemnation for this sin. In addition, the first sin also brought physical consequences. In Genesis 3:17-18, we see a curse upon the ground (or the earth). In Genesis 3:19, we see that man’s physical body will die. The entrance of sin into the world brought natural disasters, death, sickness, disease, and suffering.
Why would God allow this to happen? Because God gave man a choice. God gave man the freedom to love Him or not to love Him because in freedom, there is genuine love. Man chose not to obey, worship, and love the One he was created for and we see the consequences of that choice today.
This is difficult truth, but there is great hope!
So far, we have looked at God’s goodness in chapter 2 and God’s justice in chapter 3. And make no mistake that God’s justice is good. We also see evidence of God’s goodness in His grace toward man in chapter 3. In Genesis 3:15, we see the first hope of the gospel. In Genesis 3:21, we see that God clothed man and woman with garments. In Genesis 3:22-23, we see God’s loving protection of man from even more dire consequences than those that have befallen him so far.
God is just in his judgement against man, yet, even in the midst of this, He shows man grace and mercy. What a good God we have! And the story does not end there.
In God’s love He poured out the judgement that we deserved upon His own son in His son’s death upon a cross. For all that we owed, God nailed the payment upon that cross! But the Son of God did not remain dead -- He rose three days later from that grave! Through this action He evidenced His power over death itself and over all the consequences of sin.
God’s promise to you is that if you submit and trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, you will be spiritually united with Him in that death and resurrection. Your debt will be paid in full by Jesus Christ and you will be spiritually resurrected to new life!
One day Jesus will come again to earth. He will come to judge the world. He will judge those who have not put their faith in Him and who still sit under the consequences of sin. But for those who have faith in him, He will restore all that used to be. The place we live and our bodies will be restored back to their good design. There will be a new heaven and a new earth where those who put their faith in God will be able to dwell in His goodness forever.
Where does that leave us in this present time? Well, we have seen why the earth is broken and filled with disease and disaster. And we know there is hope for the future of the earth, but the greatest hope is the hope we have in Jesus Christ for the salvation of our souls! We long for this world to be fixed. We long for no more suffering, but our greatest longing should be the salvation of our souls and those of others.
We have a hope beyond this world -- a hope that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. That is the hope we cling to and that is the hope we must share with others.
The greatest display of the goodness of God is in the cross. My encouragement is to remind you of that today. Remind yourself that God is good.