God is good
by Paulos Mar Gregorios from his Last Will and Testement
God is good. He alone is truly and fully good. He is good without mixture of evil; in Him all evils disappears. Evil has no place in Him, just as darkness has no place in the Light. He can do no evil. Evil does not come from Him. He did not make it. He gave freedom to His Creation; freedom to reject the God with which it is endowed, and thereby to choose evil. Evil is denial of created being itself, which cannot really be without being also good. In freedom is the root of evil. But evil by itself cannot be; it cannot exist, except when mixed with the good. Only the good can be. Being and the good are inseparable. When any being uses its freedom to deny and reject the good, it denies also being itself, for true created being is always good, like its creator.
If you ask me, “Who is this God, and where do we find Him?”, I can only say with all who have known God, that there is no way we can grasp Him with our concepts or express His being with our words. We can say many things about Him in a negative or metaphorical language. He is without form or body, without beginning or end, without limit or extension, neither in space nor in time, not needing to become or grow into something he is now not, and therefore without change or movement, not dependent on or derived from anything else, everything else being derived from and dependent on Him. Who and where are not questions appropriate for the One who is Eternal and Infinite. Where He is not, there is only nothing.
I am unhappy about using the masculine personal pronoun to refer to Him; God is not male, but using the feminine personal pronoun solves no problems, for he is neither male nor female, nor is He a neuter It. The Creator has no gender, which is an attribute only of the created order. He is Who He is, Who will always be, the Great I am. My human language offers me no appropriate pronoun by which to refer to Him. I will continue to say ‘He’ without thereby meaning that He is male.
From Him comes all good. All that is good not only comes from Him, but is also His presence. Where the good is, there God is present. I bow before the good, Wherever it shows up-in people of different faiths and religions, in people Who claim to believe in no God, in birds and animals, in trees and flowers, in mountains and rivers, in air and sky, in sun and moon, in sculpture and painting, in music and art, in the smile of the infant and in the wisdom of the sage, in the blush of dawn and in the gorgeous sunset. Where the good is, there is the kingdom of God. There God is present and reigns even when that presence is not acknowledged or recognised, though the Kingdom bolongs in a special sense to those Who have known Him and worship Him, dedicating their lives to total obedience.
If you ask me how is the good to be defined, I can only say that good, like God, is undefinable. But it can be discerned, recognised, praised and cherished, just as God can be. Good is what God is. He has been good to me. Out of nothing He has brought me forth. He keeps me From going back to the nothing that I have come from. He forgives me my sin and evil. The evil in me draws forth a sentence of death, but he annuls that sentence by His grace. The life that I live I regard as a double gift-the gift of existence and the gift of the new life that makes me a child of God. For He has come to us in His Son, and has become one of us, a human being in the created order, partaking of the earth, of flesh and blood, of matter in all its temporality and finitude. On that I have no doubt, even though many of the people whom I love and admire reject that faith of mine. I belong to Jesus Christ the incarnate Son of God, and therefore to His new humanity, without any reservation. I cannot compromise that faith even for the sake of good relations with people of other faiths.
In Him I put my trust. Christ is my all. Without him I am nothing at all. The life I live is Christ’s. I share that life with all those in Christ’s Body. I have no life of my own. I live in Him and He lives in me. Christ never forsakes me, even when I am rebellious, indifferent or thoughtless in my disobedience. His love stays steadfast even when my loyalty grows feeble and my ardor becomes tepid. He gives and He forgives, without stint or limit. Such love deserves nothing less than my all. Him I adore, Him I worship as God and Man, Him I hold as without peer, the only Begotten of God, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One True God.
And Christ’s love is for all huankind, not just for Christians. It is for the whole of humanity that he has died, not just for Christians alone. He lives for the human race, and he is the lover and Saviour, as well as Lord, of the whole race of humankind. How can I then draw any limits to my love and compassion, or deny it to any group of human beings? Even those who regard themselves as my enemies I am not to hate or exclude from Christ’s love and compassion. That has been the basis for my approach to all sorts of groups, people of other religions, Communists, Moonies, and especially the white races against whom I can justly hold a thousand grudges.
Christ is for me much more than a great teacher of humanity, along with Gautama Buddha,Vardhamana Mahavira, Lao Tse, Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammed Rasool-Allah, Adi Sankara, Plato, Socrates, Moses, and Zoroaster. Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God who became son of Man, took on our sin and suffering upon himself, sacrificed himsel’f on the Cross, died and rose again from the dead to live for ever and to reconcile the whole creation to God in himself. He is the victor over sin and death, over evil and disintegration. In him everything holds together, and in him shall the whole creation, purged of all evil, be finally harmonised. This I believe, and I have no reason to hide my faith, though I do not talk about it all the time. I live by this faith. This is the source-spring of my actions. This is the hope that keeps me from despair and despondency, even when everything looks so bleak and gloomy in God’s world.