“Goodness isn’t good until it is given away.” Ilia Delio
A little theology…
In the creation narrative of Genesis, God creates the Divine vision of earth in six days. And five times the author says essentially “God observed what he had created and God saw that it was good. God didn’t “say” it was good. No he “saw” that what had been created was good. And then on the sixth day, “God observed all that he had created and he saw that all was very good.” In this post we will explore the thought that God saw, in creation, a perfect reflection of the nature of the Godhead.
The Simple Goodness of “Good”
I think it is important to note that what God “saw” was simply good. God did not see “Greatness,” or “Awesomeness,” or something “Spectacular.” ” Superlatives were unnecessary when there is a very modest, yet precise, word to convey, “divine mystery transformed into matter.” And God saw that “It was good.” The wonder of this unpretentious word “good” seems to have been lost in translation.
God is Good
Perhaps that is because we have failed to recognize that goodness may very well be the primary attribute used to describe the nature of God. For God to see it was good was a reflection of a mirror image of Deity itself.
In the 13th Century, Franciscan theologian St Bonaventure claimed, in essence, that before God is anything else, God is good. Yes, for Bonaventure goodness precedes even love, for in his mind love is the verb that proceeds from the noun “good.” Love is the essential expression of goodness.
If you think about it a bit, it will come to you rather quickly that to describe a person as “great” typically reveals that person’s deeds or actions, generally not their character. Truthfully, a “good person” or a “person of good character” is hard to find. That is because a good person is worthy of internal and external value.
But goodness does not exist until it becomes visible. Goodness is not understood by faith or by talk. It only becomes evidenced by good actions. A good person performs good deeds. A good person is consistent with her character and demonstrates it by her actions of love and compassion and kindness.
When I think of good people I think not of famous people. I think more of people in my everyday life: those rare people who dare not judge others but seem more concerned with giving than with winning.
Perhaps Flannery O’Conner was right after all, A Good Man is Hard to Find.
For Goodness Sake
Photo courtesy of fizkes at istockphoto