Is the Lord good or bad to people?

Psalm 145:9; Lamentations 3:38 and Isaiah 45:7; Jeremiah 18:11; Ezekiel 20:25, 26

  1. Good
    1. (Psalm 145:9) - "The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works."
    2. (Lamentations 3:38) - "Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth?"
  2. Bad
    1. (Isaiah 45:6-7) - "I am the Lord, and there is no other, 7The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these."
    2. (Jeremiah 18:11) - “So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.”’
    3. (Ezekiel 20:26) - "and I pronounced them unclean because of their gifts, in that they caused all their first-born to pass through the fire so that I might make them desolate, in order that they might know that I am the Lord."

God's nature is good.  He is not evil.  He cannot sin and He can do no wrong.  All that the Lord does is right and just.  But, that does not mean that we always understand what God does or why He does it.  After all, His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.  So, does God do good or bad to people?

First of all, good and bad are relative.  He is good to all in that He gives them rain, air, food, and life (Matt. 5:43-48).  He is good to all in that He provided His Son as a sacrifice for sin so that we could escape the judgment to come (John 3:16-17).  But, when He sends a plague to wipe out a crop (Pharaoh in Egypt), is that good or bad?  From our perspective, it would seem bad to allow such a terrible thing to happen, let alone cause it to happen.  But since God is not bad, what He does, though tough to understand sometimes, is right.  For example, it was right to send the plague upon the Egyptians.  They were holding the Jewish people prisoner.   Was it loving to the Egyptians?  Not really?  Was it the right thing to do?  Absolutely.

God moves through history carrying out various judgments. Doing so does not mean He is not good or loving.  Consider a judge who is a very kind and forgiving man.  When a criminal is found guilty, he must pass the judgment upon him, even if that punishment is harmful to the criminal.  Does it mean that the judge is not loving or any less loving?  Not at all.  It means that the judge has acted righteously, according to the Law.

So too with God.  He is right and just.  He acts according to Law.  The Laws that He has given are a reflection of His holy and righteous character.  That is why it is wrong to lie, steal, etc.  To sin against God is to incur His wrath since that sin is an affront to His holy character.  The very fact that He so often withholds His judgment upon us is a very loving and good thing to do.  However, when He does allow judgment to come through, He is just as good and loving.  But, He is exercising His righteousness for a purpose.  In His sovereign will to carry history to its designed conclusion (Acts 4:28), He delivers righteous judgment to those who oppose Him in sinfulness. This is good and right to do.

Does God bring good and bad upon people?  Yes He does.  The problem is our perspective.  To us it sometimes appears as bad.  To God it is righteous.


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About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.