Whose Goodness?

Nov 9, 2023    Don Willeman


Hello, this is Pastor Don of Christ Redeemer Church. Welcome to The Kingdom Perspective.

There is a huge societal debate right now on the very concept of goodness and morality. What is the basis of goodness? What makes something right or wrong? Is there even such a thing as an objective, moral “right” or “wrong”?

A number of years ago, I heard of the president of an elite New England university commenting in a public meeting regarding the need to “get back to teaching morality and ethics in our colleges and universities.” The audible, knee-jerk retort of one student was telling: “Whose morality?” he shouted.

As soon as you mention moral goodness you have to ask the question of perspective. “Good” according to whom? Morality from whose perspective? Is it this group or that group? This power block or that power block? Whose viewpoint gets to decide.

I am not knocking this response because it highlights one of the critical problems with human beings invoking absolute or objective morality: We are all short-sighted and driven by self-interests, and so it can be dangerous when we begin demanding morality without reflecting on our own limitations and personal interests.

The Bible would agree. Without the God who speaks and engages with His creation, it is ridiculous to speak of “objective moral goodness”. All we are left with is warring political interests.

But if there is a God who is:
•the source of all reality,
•whose character is the standard of all goodness,
•who sees the ends of all actions, whether they be good or evil,
•and speaks His good truth into His creation, so that we may know it and live by it…
…then that changes everything.

Something to think about from The Kingdom Perspective.

About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
~ John 7:14-24 (ESV)