The idea of good versus bad is as old as mankind. We hear people everyday in conversations say: He or she is a good person. What was the determining factor that made that person good or bad? Which leads me to the point I want to briefly discuss, Is God good, bad or both? Is there a way for a man or woman to determine that question? Can God be both good and bad? The purpose of most of my blogs are not to answer a question but to promote thought on a subject. Let’s look at three quick points I want to consider.
The God that blesses us (Good God).
We all enjoy life when things are going well. Our contentment increases (usually) when our finances are stable, our health is prime, and our relationships are without calamity. When things are in line we might even say “I am blessed”. People use the phrase “God is good” which triggers a follow up response “All the time”. That makes God appear to be a hopeless romantic or a genie operating at our behest. I don’t believe either is completely true. He meets our needs, and if we are honest many times our wants. The good God will save us when we get ourselves in a predicament; sometimes not of our own doing but many times completely of our own fault. It reminds me of an old Burt Reynolds movie “The End”. In one of the scenes Burt is out in the ocean swimming and is too far from the shore. Burt starts pleading with God “If you save me I will go around the world preaching to everyone” (paraphrased, not an exact quote). The closer he gets to shore the more shallow his promises are to God. By the time Burt reaches the shore he tells God “I will check in with you sometime”. This scene is so human in description. We seek out the “Good God” when we have a need, a want or if we find ourselves in a jam. I guess with that logic, a good God would be one that gives me what I want, when I want it. An interesting thought.
The God that allows tragedy (Bad God)
This category has too many examples to share them all. Tragedy has many faces, a loved one dying, a diagnosis that you have six months left to live, losing a job, … It doesn’t take much explanation or discussion for people to understand tragedy. I must confess, I do not understand some of the tragedies seen in our world today. Yet, if people are labeled as good, does it mean they never do anything questionable? The Stoics and Greek philosophers often questioned the good versus evil subject. Is there an ultimate authority that defines good? If we understand good then we understand bad, it is the absence of good and vice versa. Is good an opinion or is there a standard for good we can use as a reference? If God is given credit for the good must he take credit for the bad? Does being just or showing justice play in to these questions? The expedient thing is to retreat to our beliefs and faith and just ignore questions of this sort, expedient but maybe not prudent. Before you answer these questions, remember, not everyone believes the way you do. Maybe the answer is much simpler than we could imagine.
Are we capable of judging Good and Bad?
Being human and having faults creates baggage in the areas of judgement and opinion? We seek out like minded people that agree with us on subjects of morality, spirituality, politics and the list goes on. If we are not pumping ourselves up and patting each other on the back for our amazing insight into a host of topics we are trying to convince others of our correct thinking. Consider this for one second, “Maybe we are not capable of judging good and bad. I believe there are universal principles for good and bad. I personally believe God’s word gives us these principles. They are not specific, they fall under concepts. My concept of good changes with age. I used to ask my Sunday school class: “Do you think differently today than you did ten years ago? Which thinking process was correct? Will the same be true ten years later? Perhaps this is the flaw of being human, not being able to see things clearly and without bias. In conclusion I think God can appear to look good and bad for the same action, just viewed through flawed human eyes. How are we to judge good and bad without a reliable standard? Please leave your thoughts and comments below. Disparaging remarks will not be approved for this post.