The Infinite, Incomprehensible Goodness of God

God is so good.
God is so good.
God is so good,
He’s so good to me.

Before they can sing the ABC’s, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” “Old MacDonald,” “Jesus Loves Me,” or “Baby Shark,” the youngest among us can sing these few simple words. Perhaps because of their simplicity, you have, like me, dismissed these basic, though profound lyrics. However, the goodness of God is so much more than a trite chorus. It is, quite literally, the air we breathe. For if God were not good, we would not have the good gift of a boundless supply of oxygen to refill our lungs hundreds, if not thousands of times a day. 

We will never find the bottom of the jewel-filled mine of God’s infinite, incomprehensible goodness.1

God’s Original Goodness

I live with a cute, vivacious, and incessantly curious little girl. She wants to know everything about what I’m doing, what’s going on around her, what’s going to happen tomorrow, what happened yesterday—you name it, she wants to know it. While I don’t always enjoy answering her endless stream of questions, I do appreciate her inquisitive mind. In fact, it makes me curious about where it will take her. 

Of course, curiosity is hardly unique to toddlers. Humanity was created with the capacity both to learn and to wonder. Where did we come from? How did we get here? What is our purpose? Not surprisingly, the answer to all of these questions takes us back to God. For He is the source of all things. Without Him—nothing. 

That means that God is the very source of all goodness that we know. James says that all the good gifts that we enjoy come from God (1:17). Every good deed performed by a Boy Scout; every valiant act by a soldier on the battlefield; every savory bite of a gourmet feast; every act of sportsmanship on every court, field, pitch, or rink; every random act of kindness; every gift of sacrifice; every noble gesture; every act of forgiveness; every smile, giggle, warm handshake, and loving embrace—every single thing that we recognize as good is derived from God. As Puritan writer Stephen Charnock puts it, “All created goodness is a rivulet from this fountain.”2

Apart from God, there simply is no good.

God’s Infinite Goodness

Let’s not lie. Infinity makes our brains hurt a little bit (ahem, a lot). While we can repeat a definition, we simply cannot fathom what infinitude literally means. As created beings, our lives are defined from day one by boundaries: our date of birth, physical body, height, intellectual capacity, need to sleep, hunger, thirst, and, eventually, date of death all define us as finite. Not so with God. 

God’s goodness is a hole with no bottom, a mountain with no peak, an ocean with no shore—His goodness knows no bounds.

Admittedly, this can be difficult to swallow sometimes. Take thirty seconds to peruse the latest headlines, and the news of wars, violence, corruption, and brokenness will assault you. You may be tempted to wonder how God could possibly be good in the midst of all that bad. Or, maybe the devastation is a little closer to home, and your own circumstances leave you wondering how God could possibly be good. 

Such questions deserve thoughtful answers—more thorough ones than I can give in such a small place. However, the existence of sin and the corruption it has wrought in the world has not diminished the goodness of God. No matter the valley or storm we may be called upon to navigate, we will never cross the threshold of God’s goodness. While its presence and purpose may be shrouded from our gaze, it is never depleted, depreciated, or incapacitated. 

God’s goodness knows no boundaries. 

God’s Perfect Goodness

Ivory soap famously advertises that their product is “99.4% pure.” We’re drawn to such a number and are able to overlook that other .6%. After all, it doesn’t get much better than 99.4%! Of course, cynics like me wonder what exactly makes up the other .6% that isn’t so pure. Thankfully, we never have to wonder such a thing with God. He is 100% pure goodness. Not one fraction of one percent is anything other than absolutely, perfectly good. 

We have nothing comparable on earth. The nicest, most generous, philanthropic, hospitable person you can possibly imagine is not purely good. In fact, just the opposite is true. As sinful humans, our depravity reaches into every single nook and cranny of our hearts, leaving no part untainted by sin. So, even the “nice” things that we do are corrupted. 

But God’s infinite, boundless, original goodness is absolutely pure, with no corruption of any kind. For such a germ to creep into His nature would be for Him to cease to be God at all. He never acts outside of His good nature. As the only truly “good” Father, He trains and chastens His children in love, even while allowing trials to enter their lives. Because He is good, He will never ask more of them than He’s prepared to help them handle. As the hymn writer has said,

Every joy or trial 
  Falleth from above,

Traced upon our dial
  By the Sun of Love.3

God’s goodness is 100% pure. 

God’s Immutable Goodness

“The only constant in the world is that nothing is constant.” This maxim reminds us that though we may fight against the inevitability of change, we still must admit that it’s all around us. Whether it’s how kids do math nowadays or the type of music in our churches, change is everywhere. So, we may be tempted to think that God too is subject to change. 

If this were true, we would never know which God we were going to get on any given day. Will He be merciful and gracious today or in the mood to throw lightning bolts my way? Surely, a moody, temperamental God would not be worthy of our worship and affection. However, we can take heart in the glorious truth of His immutability—that He is not susceptible to change. As He has been from eternity past so He will continue to be for all eternity. This means that His original, boundless, and perfect goodness also remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never has been, nor will He ever be anything other than absolutely, infinitely good. To quote Charnock once again, “God always glitters in goodness, as the sun . . . doth with light.”4

While theology can often seem murky and hard to understand, sometimes it’s shocking in its simplicity. This is nowhere more obvious than in the life-anchoring saying, “God is good all the time. All the time God is good.” The writer of Psalm 119 would agree. He too states this glorious fact in bare, unembellished terms: “You are good, and you do what is good” (v. 68). It’s so simple a child can understand, and yet so foundational none of us could stand without it. 

God is infinitely, perfectly, eternally good. 

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1 The basic outline and content of this post was inspired by Stephen Charnock’s writings in The Existence and Attributes of God.

2 Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God. Volumes 1 & 2 (Crossreach Publications, 2022), 843. Kindle.

3 Lyrics from “Like a River Glorious” by Frances Ridley Havergal.

4 Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God, 844.

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