“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…and it was good.” Biblical goodness is often tied to purpose and fitness, and so it is directional, aimed toward God (reflecting his glory) or from him in expressing his intent. Sometimes it’s both.
In creation, God made everything, and as each category and creature fulfilled his beautiful purposes, he declared them to be good. Putting together the narratives of Gen 1 & 2, the real break comes in the creation of humanity: “Let us make man in our image…it’s not good for man to be alone.” The ramifications in this passage for our corporate identity in our humanity and in the church could (and should) fill another post for another time.
As we focus on goodness, the point is purpose + fulfillment may not equal goodness on their own, but they are deeply woven into it. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explains Christian identity in terms of goodness, purpose, and fulfillment through the analogy of salt: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything …”
God is good in himself; perfectly fulfilling the glory of his own existence, he is the standard of goodness itself: “And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone…” Mark 10
Our good is derived in relationship to God and his intended purposes for us as his people. We find our purpose and its fulfillment – our restoration in true goodness – as we grow into our redeemed and restored identity in Christ through the bond and unity the Holy Spirit builds among us. By his gracious work in us, we will one day hear our Creator call us good.“Well done, good and faithful servant … Enter into the joy of your master.”