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).
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).
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