For some unidentifiable reason I enjoy tormenting students with an important albeit slippery theological and philosophical question. What is good? As you might imagine, the answers I get are quite diverse. One student recently responded by citing an online dictionary that offers forty-seven definitions of the word. Forty-seven! Most, if not all, of the forty-seven were not legitimate, as they typically erred by defining the word by the word itself. As you might expect, the question itself is simple, but an appropriate answer has been far more elusive for the unaided human mind.1
Perhaps you already see how this question is critically foundational. For example, as pastors if we are to engage in ministry that is good, with the hope of good results, don’t we need to understand what good is? If we fail to understand this one issue we are in grave danger of heading in an entirely wrong—dare I say bad—direction. It would seem that if there is one thing we can’t afford to miss it is a proper understanding of what is good.