What makes good good? After all, if we are to separate evil from it, we need to know what good is, right?
Sure, many of us think we know what is good. We say theft is wrong—until it’s a spy swiping enemy plans. We hate it when people get hurt—until it’s the villain getting what he deserves. We denounce evil loudly and frequently . . . until it benefits us.
In truth, most of us would be hard-pressed to define good if we were asked. Add to this the double moral standard derived from our tendency to justify wrong, and the already amorphous standard of good becomes even more vague and muddled. Which brings us back to my original question: What makes good good?
The best—and really, the only—way to know is to return to the Source of all good: God Himself. He is good and is the One who set the original definition in the beginning when He proclaimed His creation “good.” And what constituted good? Genesis 2:9 gives us a hint when it describes the trees of
part of the creation proclaimed “good”:
“The LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food.” (NASB)
Those things which please the eye—or any other sensory organ—are good. A delicious meal. An enticing perfume. Velvety fabric. Harmonious music. Awe-inspiring architecture. All of these are good. So outward appearances, presentation, execution of a skill, and craftsmanship are important when considering the good.
But God doesn’t stop there; He adds, “Good for food.” Things which permit us to be healthy, providing the nutrients to grow and the strength to live, are also good. So we must also consider what we are ingesting—physically and metamorphically—when defining good. Indigestion was never part of God’s original plan.
So what does make good good? That which exhibits good craftsmanship—how something is presented, making it pleasing—and good content, the healthy things we ingest.