Christian Cyclopedia

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1. The goodness of God is exhibited in Scripture in 4 aspects: love, benevolence, grace, and mercy. “God is Love, inasmuch as He longs for and delights in union and communion with the objects of His holy desire” (A. L. Graebner, Outlines of Doctrinal Theology [St. Louis, 1910 ed.], p. 38). The world that is the object of His love was a lost world; yet God would not have His creatures perish, and He longs for reunion with them, Jn 3:16. He yearns in bitter anguish for the children that have gone astray, Is 1:2–5; 49:15–16. Yet it is a holy desire; God cannot have communion with those who are separated from Him by sin. To make them His own and unite them with Himself, He wrought a redemption, Is 43:1.—The benevolence of God is that kindness by which He provides for the wants of His creatures, Ps 104:27–28. Esp. does He desire to promote the happiness of men; hence He formed the plan of salvation.—“God is gracious, inasmuch as He offers and confers His blessings regardless of the merits or demerits of the objects of His benevolence” (A. L. Graebner, op. cit., p. 40), Ro 6:23; Eph 2:8–9.—That aspect of goodness by which He has compassion with the afflicted and bestows His benefits on the miserable is called mercy. His mercy is abundant and extends over all who suffer trouble and affliction, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, Ps 68:5; Is 49:13.

2. In a relative sense the creatures of God are also good (Gn 1:31) even after the Fall (1 Ti 4:4). But the goodness of the creature is not perfection (essential goodness); it is a dependent goodness, i. e., the creatures are good only as God's handiwork.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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Content Reproduced with Permission

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