God’s Goodness is Seen in Creation

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.

God richly furnished the world for man. He did not only erect a stately palace for his habitation, but provided all kind of furniture as a mark of his goodness. For the entertainment of his creature, man he arched over his habitation with a bespangled heaven, and floored it with a solid earth, and spread a curious wrought tapestry upon the ground where he was to tread.

When at the first creation of the matter the waters covered the earth, and rendered it uninhabitable for man, God drained them into the proper channels he had founded for them, and set a bound that they might not pass over, that they turn not again to “cover the earth” (Gen. 1:9.) They fled and hasted away to their proper stations (Psalm 104:7–9), as if they were ambitious to deny their own nature, and content themselves with an imprisonment for the convenient habitation of Him who was to be appointed Lord of the world.

He hath set up standing lights in the heaven, to direct our motion, and to regulate the seasons: the sun was created, that man might see to “go forth to his labor” (Psalm 104:22, 23): both sun and moon, though set in the heaven, were formed to “give light” on the earth (Gen. 1:1, 17). The air is his aviary, the sea and rivers his fish-ponds, the valleys his granary, the mountains his magazine; the first afford man creatures for nourishment, the other metals for perfection: the animals were created for the support of the life of man; the herbs of the ground were provided for the maintenance of their lives; and gentle dews, and moistening showers, and, in some places, slimy floods appointed to render the earth fruitful, and capable to offer man and beast what was fit for their nourishment. He hath peopled every element with a variety of creatures both for necessity and delight; all furnished with useful qualities for the service of man.

Much of nature contributes something for our welfare: either as food to nourish us when we are healthful; or as medicine to cure us when we are distempered; or as a garment to clothe us when we are naked, and arm us against the cold of the season; or as a refreshment when we are weary; or as a delight when we are sad. (Psalm 104:24): “The whole earth is full of his riches.” Nothing but by the rich goodness of God is exquisitely accommodated, in the variety of things for the use of man. All work together to render the world a delightful residence for man.

God did not only give variety of senses to man, but provided variety of delightful objects in the world for every sense; the beauties of light and colors for our eye, the harmony of sounds for our ear, the fragrancy of odors for our nostrils, and a delicious sweetness for our palates: some have qualities to pleasure; all, everything, a quality to pleasure, one or other: he doth not only present those things to our view, as rich men do in ostentation their goods, he makes us the enjoyers as well as the spectators, and gives us the use as well as the sight; and, therefore, he hath not only given us the sight, but the knowledge of them. Ge hath set up a sun in the heavens, to expose their outward beauty and conveniences to our sight; and the candle of the Lord is in us, to expose their inward qualities and conveniences to our knowledge, that we might serve ourselves of, and rejoice in, all this furniture wherewith he hath garnished the world, and have wherewithal to employ the inquisitiveness of our reason, as well as gratify the pleasures of our sense.