“It is really remarkable that while all the other attributes ascribed to God are adjectives, “Love” alone is a substantive, and it would scarcely occur to one to make the mistake of saying: “God is lovely.” Thus, language itself has given expression to the substantial element that is found in this attribute.”
– Søren Kierkegaard, The Journals of Kierkegaard
“This view of God, which makes benevolence the all comprehensive excellence of his character; which resolves all other moral attributes into this; which represents the infinite One as actuated never by blind constitutional impulses, but always by wise and benevolent considerations; which makes divine mercy more than a mere amiable weakness, and divine justice more than mere unamiable sternness, — this view of God is commended to us both by reason and revelation: by a sound philosophy, and an appeal to the infallible word.”
– Daniel Taggart Fiske, The Necessity of The Atonement (1861)
‘GOD IS LOVE. The essential or basic moral attribute of the Godhead is embodied in the words, “GOD IS LOVE” (I 4:8, 16). “Love” as so used is not primarily an emotional state, but is an attitude of will to bestow kindnesses upon others according to perfect intelligence of what is right and proper. Partiality (or favoritism) must spring from selfish preference of one above another.
There are only two directions that a moral being can take in a supreme rule of life. A personality can choose to be intelligent or unintelligent, to fulfill all obligations toward all moral beings or not to do so, to be partial or impartial. An admixture is impossible. The one is a state of virtuous love, the other a state of selfishness. God possesses a perfect comprehension of what is right and proper in every circumstance. Each Member of the Godhead perpetually chooses to be motivated by love or perfect benevolence in all that is done, fulfilling all obligations with absolute impartiality by treating every moral being with perfect intelligence.
- The words “good” and “goodness” are frequently used to describe the essential goodness of God:
- Good: II Chr. 30:18-19; Ps. 25:8; 34:8; 86:5; 100:5; 106:1; 119:68; 145:9; Jer. 33:11; Nahum 1:7; Mt. 5:44-48; 19:16-17; 20:12-15.
- Goodness: Ex. 33:19; 34:6-7; Ps. 27:13; 31:19; 33:5; Jer. 31:12, 14; Ro. 2:4.
- Love is ascribed to each Member of the Godhead:
- The love of God the Father is the source of all true love in the world: 3:16; Ro. 5:5; 8:38-39; II Co. 13:11, 14; Jn. 2:15; 4:7-8, 16.
- The love of Christ is referred to: Jn. 15:9; Ro. 8:35; II Co. 5:14; Ep. 3:19; II Tim. 1:13.
- The Holy Spirit is known by His operations of love: Ro. 5:5; 15:30; Ga. 5:22.
- This loving disposition of the Godhead was the mainspring of redemption:
- God the Father: Jn. 3:16-17; 5:8; Ep. 2:4; I Jn. 4:9-12.
- The Lord Jesus: Jn. 15:13; Ga. 2:20; Ep. 5:2; Re. 1:5.
- The Holy Spirit: Lk. 1:35; Mt. 1:18, 20; Acts 10:38; He. 9:14; Jn. 16:13-15.
- Man is commanded to follow God’s example in the continual choice of love, indicating that it is a voluntary state: Jn. 5:42; 15:9-10; I 13; 14:1; 16:13-14; Ep. 5:1-2; I Tim. 1:5; I Jn. 2:5; 4:8, 16; 5:3; Jude 21.’
Source: Gordon Olson, The Truth Shall Make You Free, The Truth About The Nature and Character of God, p 33-34 (Illinois, Bible Research Fellowship Inc., 1980)
Source: my youtube channel (check for primary source and more videos by Gordon C. Olson)
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‘God is good to all, and the ultimate Source of all goodness in the universe. Goodness even defines God: “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.” (Ps. 25:8)
God’s inherent goodness (and righteousness) motivates Him to guide sinners in the path that they should take. (cf. Rom. 2:5) We are called upon to “taste and see [for ourselves] that the LORD is good; happy are they who take refuge in him.” (Ps. 34:8) The very name of God, YHWH, is deemed as good (Ps. 54:6) — a person’s name being his or her identity. Hence the very identity of God is contextualized as innate goodness. Jesus magnifies the goodness of God. (Matt. 19:17) This goodness, ἀγαθοῦ, refers to that which is intrinsically good, good by nature, a character or quality that excels in any respect; including the desire to demonstrate goodness toward others (Ps. 51:18; 84:11; Sirach 39:33).’
source: Will Birch, “A Christmas Invitation to The World” (williambirch).