What Could the God of Scripture Call Very Good?
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure." II Cor. 12:7
The Bible tells us that as creation was completed, "God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). What was that world really like? Was it different from our world? Could God call this world "very good"?
The world that we experience contains much beauty and balance—much that is good. Radiant flowers, laughing babies, lofty mountains, and shimmering crystals. But it also contains pain, suffering, disease and death. In the biological realm, everything dies. Plants wither and fade. Animals feed on one another and eventually die. Men exercise brutality over others and all pass on. In the physical realm, everything goes toward disintegration. Cars wear out, rocks crumble, the moon's orbit decays and the stars burn out. It seems the creation has been "made subject to vanity" and is under "the bondage of corruption." Ultimately, "we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain" (Romans 8:20-22).
The God of the Bible is a God of grace and mercy. Would such a God use the principle of "survival of the fittest" (which really means the extinction of the unfit) to produce His image in man? Would the God of Scripture, an all powerful and all wise God, delay His plan for billions of years waiting on evolutionary mutants to develop a being with whom He could communicate and on whom He could shower His love and grace? No. He has the wisdom to know what He wants, and the power to accomplish it in a timely manner without violating His character along the way.
The Christian will recognize the current state of things to have been affected by the Curse on all creation in Genesis 3:14-19, with the "wages of sin" pronounced on all of Adam's dominion because of his rebellion. In the beginning, there was no carnivorous activity (Genesis 1:30), no extinction, no decay, no cancer. But now, everywhere we look we see sin's effect.
Darwin saw it clearly, but he denied the Biblical doctrine of the Curse. In a letter of May 22, 1860, he stated: "There seems to me to be too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the ichneu-monidae [a parasite] with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed."
God's full intention for His creation, as expressed in the deathless, painless, "very good" creation, has been delayed by the rebellion of His creation against His authority. But it will one day be fully realized, as Edenic conditions return. In that day, the wolf and the lamb will once again live together in harmony, the lion will eat straw, and the child will play with the snake without fear (Isaiah 11:6-7).
By what means will the Creator accomplish this? He certainly won't use "survival of the fittest." He sent His only begotten Son, the "fittest" of all to die for the unfit (I Peter 3:18)—to pay their wages of sin and restore broken fellowship.
There will come the day in which "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain." (Revelation 21:4).
This is the nature of the truly "very good" creation. Very different from our present world, it will last forever.