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I have a friend who loves to say, “God is good.” Sometimes he tweets it. He often ends emails with it. And it’s a fitting reminder. God is good.
But what do we mean when we say “God is good”? Are we referring to the Lord’s actions in the world and toward us? Are we referring to some aspect of His character? Do we have some sense that his goodness is like the warmth we feel when we visit our grandmother’s home?
John Frame in The Doctrine of God, reflecting on the limits of Thomist philosophy in the doctrine of God, writes:
What is God’s “goodness”? Is it something in him? It would be more accurate, I think, to say that “divine goodness,” though it sounds like an abstract property, is really just a way of referring to everything God is. For everything God does is good, and everything he is is good. All his attributes are good. All his decrees are good. All his actions are good. There is nothing in God that is not good.
To praise God’s goodness is not to praise something other than God himself. It is not to praise something less than him, or a part of him, so to speak. It is to praise him. God’s goodness is not something that is intelligible in itself, apart from everything else that God is.
God’s goodness is the standard for our goodness. We are to image his goodness. Does that mean that we are to image some abstract property that is somehow attached to God or present in him somewhere? No, it means that we are to image God himself. Our moral standard is not an impersonal, abstract property. It is a person, the living God. The center of biblical morality is that we should be like him. … God’s personal goodness defines any legitimate abstract concept of goodness.
John Frame, The Doctrine of God, pp. 229-230.