No One Is Good Except God Alone

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Audio Version
Ken Ham

Illustration by Viktor Miller-Gausa

Ken Ham
Answers in Genesis

Does God call cancer “very good”? Would God call the world we live in “very good”? Obviously not. Yet many Christians are unwittingly (or even wittingly sometimes) accusing God of saying cancer, brain tumors, and other diseases are “very good.”

“Surely not!” you may exclaim. However, I would assert that the majority of churchgoers (most unwittingly) are doing just that.

God’s Love and Goodness

First of all, some background. What do Christians mean when they say God is love? When they answer this question regarding our Creator God, they use verses like these:

  • God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).
  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

But what other attributes of God enable us to understand what it means that God is love? For one thing, everything God does is good. Many verses describe God’s absolute goodness. For example:

  • You are good, and do good” (Psalm 119:68).
  • Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good” (Psalm 135:3).

In fact, God himself, in the person of the God-man Jesus, speaks about God being good: “A man ran up and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone’” (Mark 10:17–18).

How God Displays Goodness

So the definition of good is related to the attributes of God himself. And as Jesus is God, let’s consider how he displayed God’s goodness during his life on earth. When he came to the tomb of Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, we read:

Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man, also have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb (John 11:35–38).

But why did Jesus weep? Yes, he was grieved at the unbelief of many of the Jews. He was also grieved to see dedicated people like Mary and Martha distraught over the death of a loved one.

Yet Jesus knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He knew that Lazarus, like all people, did not cease to exist when his body died. So why, before he raised Lazarus to life, did he still “weep” and feel “deeply moved”?

I suggest that Jesus, because he is good, was deeply angry at death itself. We know death is called the “last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26). The Scriptures tell us that one day death will be cast into the “lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14). We learn that death was the penalty for sin (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12).

In his desire to do good, Jesus chose to suffer the penalty for sin and death, and conquered death by rising from the dead (Romans 6:9–10). Opposing death is at the heart of God’s goodness.

God’s Word also teaches that a bad thing has happened to our bodies. Right now they are “perishable” (disease-ridden and under the penalty of death), so in the future there will be a restoration when God’s people will receive bodies that are “imperishable” and our mortal bodies will become “immortal” (1 Corinthians 15:53–56). Romans 8 teaches us that the whole of creation groans because of sin and its effects.

So it’s obvious God would not call death, diseases (like cancer or brain tumors or arthritis), suffering, or bloodshed “very good.”

A Disconnect with Death Over Millions of Years

You cannot add millions of years into God’s Word, or else you make a mockery of God’s character.

However, most Christians have been led to believe that it doesn’t matter if a Christian believes that the earth was around for millions of years before God created man. But this idea came out of deistic and atheistic naturalism, as people attempted to explain the fossil record without God. Many Christians took this belief in millions of years and added it into the Scriptures. But the fossil record is replete with death and evidence of diseases like cancer, brain tumors, and arthritis in the bones of creatures, and animals having eaten other animals.

Here’s the problem. After God created man he said “everything” he had made was “very good.” So if Christians believe in the millions of years, then they are in reality accusing God of calling cancer, brain tumors, death, and so on “very good.”

My point is, you cannot add millions of years into God’s Word, or else you make a mockery of God’s basic character, including his goodness! Most of the fossil record is the graveyard of the Flood, not a graveyard of millions of years.

Ken Ham is the founder and president of Answers in Genesis—US. He has edited and authored many books about the authority of God’s Word and the impact of evolutionary thinking on our culture, including Already Compromised and The Lie.

Answers Magazine

January–February 2018

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