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THEOLOGY > God > Work of Creation > A Very Good Creation 


That which was not was brought into existence by God. From the molecule to the galaxy, all things came to be because of the omnipotence of Him who declares that He is without beginning (see: The God of Creation). How can this original Creation be described? What statement can be made that will do it justice? What can be said that will be sufficient to express and critique the newly created cosmos? What word is adequate to express what Deity has made? Is there such a word?

It is somewhat surprising the word that is used by the writer of Genesis to express the accomplished work of God. It is the word “good,” a seemingly simple and succinct word, yet invested with profound meaning by its use in the Creation account. During the week of Creation, various accomplishments are said to be “good”; at the conclusion of the week, the entire Creation is said to be “very good.”

Note that this is not the evaluation of the writer of the Pentateuch, but it is the evaluation of the One who did all of these things. “Good” is the judgment of the One whose judgments are holy and true; it is His assessment of His own deeds. When God looked at what He had wrought, in His eyes it was “good.”

Tob, appearing over five hundred times in the Old Testament, is the Hebrew word translated “good” in the Creation account. The word indicates “goodness” in the sense of “perfection” or “completeness,” and at times it is used of physical beauty. Not only is the word used of Creation, but it is also used of the essence of God; “For YHWH is good” (Ps. 100:5; 135:3); “Oh, give thanks to YHWH, for He is good!” (Ps. 106:1; 107:1; 118:1; 136:1). Surely, in some sense, the goodness of Creation is related to the goodness of God; His goodness is manifested in His Creation.

Five times the word “good” is used. As progression is made during the first five days, at significant points the work is described as “good.” The text reports: “And God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25).

It was “good” when the earth and seas appeared (v. 10);

It was “good” when various types of vegetation sprang forth (v. 12);

It was “good” when the sun, moon, and stars filled the universe (v. 18);

It was “good” when the fish and birds appeared in the waters and in the sky (v. 21);

It was “good” when all manner of animals covered the earth (v. 25).

In addition to the above, when light was called into existence on the first day, the Bible records: “And God saw the light, that it was good” (Gen. 1:4). Upon completion of all of His Creation work, the Scripture records: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (1:31). “Good” and “very good” report for man God's evaluation of His Creation; these words suggest several thoughts.

One, God had accomplished what He willed. He had created the universe, and on earth He had created life, culminating with man. That which He had purposed to do He had done. He had brought everything into existence, and then He shaped and developed it according to His design. God’s plan was complete. Six days were at an end; matter, time, and space had begun. It was “good” because God’s will had been manifest; it was “very good” because God’s will had been accomplished.

Two, God’s Creation was a work of perfection and was neither deficient nor inferior in any way. In fact, Creation could not have been better, for it was exactly what God intended. His will is manifested in His accomplishments, and His accomplishments conform to His will; therefore, there could not have been a better Creation. In His will and in His accomplishments, there is no room for improvement. Essential goodness, intrinsic goodness, characterized what God had made. That is to say that matter was not intrinsically bad or evil but was good because God made it and judged it to be so. God does not create that which is bad but that which is “good.” He can do no other.

An implication of this perfection is that Creation is seen to be free of sin at its beginning and in its essence; sin is not a given for Creation, nor is it a necessity for Creation. Explanation for the existence of sin is not to be found in Creation, for sin is not an essential aspect of Creation; it is contrary to Creation; it is a violation of Creation. Badness is an invasion of the created order; it is an attack upon nature. Sin is against nature and is not the result of nature. So the world is not by Creation an evil something; the finite is not in and of itself evil. The created order suffers under the burden of sin and “groans and labors” to be rid of the burden that has been placed upon it (Rom. 8:20-22), but Creation was not made for wickedness, but for goodness.

Three, “good” indicates that Creation had value at its beginning and, therefore, since then has not been without significance. There is current value, even though Creation is stained and operates under the curse and destructive impact of sin. Creation has importance and value because it is the Creation of God, and the worth of the Creation reflects the worth of the Creator.

Four, Creation is “good” because it served and serves a purpose, God’s purpose, with each part of Creation serving the function God intended. When God finished creating, all of Creation was operating and functioning as it should. Order, rather than disorder, characterized the cosmos. Each aspect of Creation, whether large or small, was fulfilling the purpose for which it was created. And in that sense it had a function, had value, or can be said to be “very good.” No part of Creation was doing anything but what it was brought into being to do. There was no foreign or alien element affecting it. Sin had not yet brought its curse.

Five, Creation is “good” in the sense of beauty or form. The order, symmetry, and appealing structure of Creation is part of it being good. When a person, whether believer or unbeliever, observes Creation he is struck with its beauty, with its aesthetic wonder. To behold the heavens and earth is to marvel; it is to stand in amazement. In Creation there is strength and might—that which is awesome and awe-inspiring; in creation there is delicacy and petiteness—that which is graceful and elegant. From the grandeur of the height to the mystery of the deep, from the color of the diminutive tropical fish to the indescribable changing of color and hues in the sunset, the observer and thinker is overwhelmed by the beauty of it all. Creation is good.

Six, Creation is “good” because it testifies of God and His goodness. All of Creation affirms the Creator. Creation is good because it manifests God in the way He has chosen that His Creation should manifest His being. The believer is not under a burden to prove that Creation demands a Creator; Creation itself, boldly, day and night, is declaring that it has been made and that its Maker is God. The message is cogent and constant. To view Creation and not see the Creator is to fail to see Creation. It is to see and not see. It is to see and not understand. It is to see and reject. The predicament is not physical vision, but spiritual perception that perceives and does not bow. It is to see Creation and to refuse to surrender to its message—a message that God is and that God is good.

Then God saw everything that He had made,
and indeed it was very good.
Gen. 1:31

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