God the Fountain of Goodness

Stephen Charnock wrote an excellent tome on “The Existence and Attributes of God.” In that work he spends 100 pages discussing the goodness of God. This work is full of rich truth of great benefit to the Christian. For your edification I am going to periodically post heavily edited excerpts from Charnock’s writings on the goodness of God.

Goodness is the true and genuine character of God. Pure and perfect goodness is the royal prerogative of God alone and the chief perfection of the Divine nature. God is goodness itself. He is good in Himself, good in His essence, good in the highest degree. God possesses all that is comely, excellent and desirable. God is the highest good, because He is the first good.

All the names of God are comprehended in this one word, “Good.” All gifts, all forms of goodness, are contained in Him. He is the cause of all created goodness. God is Himself the Supreme Good. What good is in the heavens, is the product of some Being above the earth. All the varieties of goodness in the earth find their source in Him who is infinitely good. Whatsoever natural or moral goodness there is in the world, in angels, in men, or in inferior creatures, finds its source in God the fountain of goodness.

If God were not good, He could produce no good: He could not give to others what He did not have. If the creature be “good,” as the apostle says “every creature is” (1 Tim. 4:4), God must be better than all creatures because they have nothing but what is given to them from Him. Nothing in the world has its goodness from itself, any more than it has its being from itself. (Acts 17:11) The cause must be richer than the effect. Since we find distinct goodnesses in the creature, we must conclude that the source of all goodness excels in the glory of goodness. All the little glimmerings of goodness which are scattered in the creatures speaks of a more excellent goodness in the Creator. All goodness in this world is a reminder of God’s greater goodness (Psalm 145:7).

God’s excellency and goodness affects all things. God clothes spirits with reason, endues matter with form, furnishes everything with useful qualities. As one beam of the sun illuminates the earth and seas so one beam of God enlightens minds, souls, and universal nature. “Truly God is good” (Psalm 73:1). God’s goodness is an undoubted truth written in His works of nature and His acts of grace (Exod. 34:6). “He is abundant in goodness.”