Adam and Eve had one command to follow: Don’t eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of God and Evil. How hard was that? It must have been clearly identifiable. It wasn’t an accident. It was stated that the tree looked “good for food”, but they didn’t lack food. They clearly understood the command and had no natural compulsion to break it. It is not like when you tell a toddler to not touch a stove.
Adam and Eve believed in God’s existence, they saw Him routinely. What did they doubt? They doubted that God was good. They thought that perhaps God was lying to them and holding out on something that would make them God-like.
So what do you think? Is God good? Clearly God was not holding out on Adam and Eve. His warnings were justified, and they didn’t become like God. But there are many things that cause people to doubt God’s goodness or His existence.
Bad stuff happens, and it can happen to good people. Does a God who is truly good allow this? The underlying assumption, and a common one at that, is that everything that happens is something that God causes. This is a fallacy. If God controlled all things, then Adam and Eve would not have eaten from the forbidden tree. There is a degree of freedom for evil because they did. No one is exempt from its reach. Somehow we want to be God ourselves still, but when bad things happen we expect God to control all things as He did before. Sadly, now neither God nor we control things.
God clearly states that He damns people in His judgment–eternally even. Does a being who is good do such things? If God were a being who created people to damn them, then that would be a statement of His character. He would be sovereign but not good. God clearly states and acts as one who wants no one to be damned. Their damnation can only be blamed on them. People love evil rather than good, and they reject the presence, action and promise of God’s only Son.
Sometimes prayers don’t seem to be answered. At least, they are not the answers we seek. Does a God who is good stonewall a reasonable request? God does have some caveats on answering prayers. One must believe He exists, and many don’t really believe this. One must believe He has the power to act. The same is true here. One must not be in open rebellion. We all sin, but a lack of repentance draws an understandable rejection of miraculous intervention.
But what if we do check all the boxes and still no action from God? It happens. Maybe He is not good enough to care. Here is where trust that God is good is really tested. God knows more that we could ever know. He sees the future and knows the heart. He understands the cause and effect of every time He disrupts the “natural” (not divinely guided) flow of things. Sometimes His conclusion is that the best thing is not to intervene.
It is easy to judge God, though we are no position to do it. It is easy to be bitter and tell ourselves that I will in no way serve a God who allows this, whatever this is, to happen. But then you will never know that actually God is good. If He were not, the world would be far messier than even this.
God let His own Son suffer a horrible death. Would someone who is good do that? The gift of Jesus, however, is the ultimate proof that God is good; even in the midst of all the seeming proof against it. The Son of God didn’t have to become a human, but He did. He didn’t have to live with us to fulfill the Law for us, but He did. He didn’t have to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. He chose to. He did it to save all of us, even though many won’t believe and be saved. He is good.