Is God omnibenevolent? What does it mean to be omnibenevolent?
Omnibenevolent (derived from the Latin) means all-good. When used to describe God, it means that God is all-good or perfectly good. Goodness is an attribute of God, and not an action only. He does good because He is good (Psalm 100:5). He, and only He, is good in His very being. He is the source or fountain from which all goodness flows (James 1:17). Whereas mankind may be said to do good deeds (at least externally and never perfectly), only God Himself is truly good in His essence (Mark 10:18).
Subscribe to our Compelling Mail Newsletter:
God is perfectly good in that all of His attributes are perfect and in agreement with one another (Matthew 5:48). He is not sometimes loving and sometimes just. He is infinitely, eternally, and perfectly loving and just. If even one of God's attributes were less than perfect, then we could imagine a greater being and therefore God would no longer be God. Philosophically speaking, God must be a being than which none greater can be imagined. Scripturally speaking, God is even greater than we can fully comprehend (Romans 11:33–36).
God's omnibenevolence raises difficult questions surrounding the origin of evil, or what theologians refer to as the "mystery of iniquity." If God is all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful, then how did evil enter the world? Some argue that evil is not a thing so much as a deprivation of goodness. Others argue that in order for God to create creatures with a free will, the possibility of disobedience (evil) was a necessity. No matter how or why God has allowed evil to come into existence, we know two things for certain. First, God will ultimately overcome all evil (Revelation 20:11–15). Second, the existence of evil allows for the full demonstration of God's perfect mercy and justice (Romans 9:22–23). The former in His forgiveness of sin, and the latter in His punishment of sin. God's goodness is magnified in His triumph over evil (John 16:33; 1 Corinthians 15:55–57; Romans 8:37; Revelation 3:21).
God's goodness can be seen in both His giving and forgiving. God's omnibenevolence is universal in that all living creatures benefit from His generosity and kindness (Psalm 145:9, 15, 16). God in His kindness gives the sun to shine and the rain to fall on both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). God's omnibenevolence is demonstrated in His giving His only Son to die for sinners such as we (Romans 5:8). Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and laid down His life as a sacrifice so that we who believe in Him might be forgiven our sins, be reconciled to God, and live eternally (John 3:16; 4:34; 6:47; 1 John 3:16; Romans 5:10). Further, God has promised to work all things (trials, temptations, suffering, sin, evil) together for good to those who love Him and have been called by Him (Romans 8:28). The believer's election, calling, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification are all the result of God's goodness (Romans 8:29–30). Ultimately, the greatest aspect of God's goodness is God's gift of Himself. Through faith in Jesus Christ, people who were once alienated from God can now call Him Father (Colossians 1:21–23; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6–7). He Himself is our good portion and great reward (Psalm 16:5; Luke 10:42).
The attributes of God, what are they?
How is God infinite? What does it mean that God is infinite?
Is God omnipresent? What does it mean to be omnipresent?
Is God omniscient? What does it mean to be omniscient?
Is God omnipotent? What does it mean to be omnipotent?
Truth about God