Lately I have been pondering about the meaning of "good" when God said that what He had made was "good" in Genesis chapter 1. In the past we have discussed in Bible studies that the definition of good and evil in Hebrew is often thought of in a concept of function and dysfunction (http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/27_good.html).
Lamentations 3:38 talks about how God issues good and evil or in other words "function" and "dysfunction". This view of good and evil gives a new picture. It is not that God is morally "evil" in His actions but in order to bring about full functionality in creation sometimes dysfunction is necessary. At this point in time I think about God flooding the earth in Noah's day - it was an act of dysfunction. It was not ultimately God's intended end or ultimate outcome to cause death, but it was necessary to do in order to reach His intended and ultimate outcome for His creation (justice and salvation).
Coming back to the title of this post, I have been wrestling with God's definition of "good". How can something that is "good" become evil? If it is good or functional, then where is there room for it becoming bad or dysfunctional? If something is good would it not be completely resilient to evil? These questions came from an understanding that when God made everything good, it meant that it was perfect in a present complete sense.
But these questions have brought me to a new understanding of what is "good" in His sight. I believe that "good" to God is like a painting that He has begun and delights in the intended outcome or conclusion. When God created the world I don't think that He was surprised that mankind fell. I don't think that Christ was plan B. He was before the foundation of the world and was intended for sacrifice and salvation from the foundation of the world (John 1, Revelation 13:8, 1 Peter 1:18-20). The gift of Christ and therefore the fall of man is plan A.
So if Christ was God's intended outcome, in order to reconcile man to Himself, then Adam and Eve in their "perfect" state were not perfect at all in God's eyes in a complete finished sense. It is interesting to note that Paul said that Adam was of the dust and Christ is of heaven; first comes the natural and then the spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:45-49). Adam was not complete without Christ, even before Adam "fell".
So why did God intend or allow dysfunction (the fall) in His overall "good" functional picture? I wonder whether in order for mankind to experience the fullness of love, grace and sacrifice, then a negative or dysfunction is necessary. In order to know the difference between functional (God's best intended complete outcome) and dysfunctional then we as mankind need to experience both. Thus the tree of the knowledge of "good" and "evil" is necessary in order to appreciate what is truly functional. Adam was of the dust, and before the fall he was not yet aware of dysfunction, nor was he aware of the aspects of complete function. This complete function was the act and demonstration of love and sacrifice modelled by Christ. It is important to note that currently, mankind as a whole are able to experience aspects of function, such as love etc, alongside dysfunction. But mankind have not yet experienced God's full intended functional end-outcome, where dysfunction does not exist.
What is this end-outcome? To become like Christ Himself, valuing what He values. To die in order to have life more abundantly, and to experience dysfunction in order to become and appreciate complete functionality.
I will leave you with this verse from Romans 8:18 "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory, which shall be revealed in us" - KJV (Some versions say "to" instead of "in", but I believe it means "in" or both).
Isn't it cool that the glory will be revealed "in" US?! God is moulding and developing us into His masterpiece and suffering is a part of it! (Romans 5:3-4)