When we say God is Omnibenevolent, we mean He is all good. I often hear the phrase, “God is good,” applied almost like a high five or an approval of God’s actions in granting us something we want. But what does “God is good” really mean?
What Does Omnibenevolent Mean?
Omni derives from the Latin meaning “all.” Bene means “good,” and volens means “willing.” (Oxford English Dictionary). Thus, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, omnibenevolent means “unlimited or infinite benevolence.” Meanwhile, benevolence means “the quality of being kind, helpful and generous.” When referring to the triune God, the term means “possessing perfect or unlimited goodness.”
To define God as omnibenevolent is to declare His nature, essence, and being literally as all good-willing. An omnibenevolent God is untainted in action, motive, thought, or feeling.
In Kevin DeYoung’s sermon “The Never-Failing, Never-Changing, All-Surpassing Goodness of God,” he describes God’s goodness “as the blessing and bounty of God.” More fully, DeYoung continues with “Divine goodness is the overflowing bounty of God by which he who receives nothing and lacks nothing communicates blessing to his creation and to his creatures.”
What Are God’s Other 'Omni' Traits?
We may be more familiar with other “omni” terms such as “omnipotent,” “omniscient,” and “omnipresent.”
- God is All-Powerful, or Omnipotent.
- God is All-Knowing, or Omniscient.
- God is Everywhere Present, or Omnipresent.
These attributes fully exist in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and are truths woven all throughout Scripture. We can understand better who God is through His attributes which reveal His character, one we can trust completely. The greater our comprehension of who He is, the more we have faith in what He does.
In the Old Testament Hebrew language, one of the names of God, El Shaddai, declares God Almighty or All-Powerful. This description of unlimited power or authority is in nearly every book of the Bible. God’s power is governed by His nature which is perfectly good.
“All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35 ESV)
We refer to the attribute of an All-Knowing God as God’s omniscience. His knowledge has no limits, past, present, or future. This quality of His divine nature fits together in perfect union with His wisdom and understanding. His All-Knowing coupled with All-Goodness assures us we can rely on Him in every situation.
“For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” (1 John 3:20 ESV)
The omnipresence of God signifies God is everywhere. His presence is perfect and powerful in every place and manifested in different ways. Neither time nor space can limit or bind His presence. Its immensity fills all space, so there is nowhere He is not present. Absolute goodness combined with Ever Presence provides refuge for the believer.
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:7-10 ESV)
God’s omnibenevolence or divine goodness is the very standard of good. He defines good. No external measure exists to which He must conform. His goodness is infinite and perfect. He created everything good. God’s very nature, His essence is good and can be no less.
“The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.” (Nahum 1:7 NKJV)
Where Does the Bible talk about God as Omnibenevolent?
The omnibenevolent nature of God is seen first in creation. The Creator pronounced His works good, originating from and testifying of His own goodness. God does good because He is good. His works and actions spring from the absolute goodness of His deity.
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”(Genesis 1:31 ESV)
“Foreverything created by God is good, andnothing is to be rejected if it isreceived with thanksgiving,”(1 Timothy 4:4 ESV)
Moses’ request to see God’s glory in Exodus 33-34 was met by God showing Moses His goodness.
“TheLordpassed before him and proclaimed, “TheLord, theLord, a God merciful andgracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfastlove and faithfulness,” (Exodus 34:6 ESV)
The Hebrew word tob istranslated in the English Bible as good or goodness. As an adjective, it is broadly defined as good, pleasant, and agreeable. As a noun, it means a good thing, benefit, or welfare. Other Hebrew words translated as “good” include a varying combination of love-kindness-faithfulness-and mercy. These attributes reflect the nature of the LORD God.
The many verses about God as Omnibenevolent build on each other, establishing an ever-greater picture of a vast, abundant, and steadfast Father. The various authors ofThe Psalms proclaim over and over the goodness of God.
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5 ESV)
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)
“Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!” (Psalm 31:19 ESV)
“The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” (Psalm 145:9 ESV)
“Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 106:1 ESV)
“Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!” (Psalm 135:3 ESV)
“You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.” (Psalm 119:68 ESV)
The New Testament often uses the Greek word agathos,meaning of good constitution or nature, that which is good, pleasant, and right.
“So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Mark 10:18 NKJV)
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights,with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17 NKJV)
“And we know that for those who love God all things work togetherfor good,forthose who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV)
How Does God Being Omnibenevolent Change Our View of Him?
God’s Omnibenevolence is the same in our victories as in our sorrows. When we say, “God is good” because we scored well on a test, He is the same good God as when the tire is flat. Our God remains steadfastly good when we rejoice because we signed the right house at the best price, and when we shed tears with a loved one in a hospital bed.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV)
Isaiah’s words reaffirm that God is beyond our comprehension. Within our human reasoning, great injustices, evil, and suffering in the world clash against our spiritual understanding. God’s Omnibenevolent nature comes into question, and when that happens, faith is tested.
While we juggle God’s goodness with life’s experiences, his attributes never wane nor war against each other. Every attribute of God’s character works in harmony. One cannot diminish or cancel another. They remain true and constant.
God demonstrated His goodness by sending Jesus Christ.
“…butGod shows his love for us in thatwhile we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 ESV
Omnibenevolence sets an underlying foundation for Him to connect and communicate with His creation. In God’s holy character, all things He does must align with His goodness. His actions toward me overflow with pure, abundant unmerited bounty.
Even while I was yet a sinner, Paul says in Romans, before I cleaned up my act, God’s goodness found a way for me to meet His holiness. This is, without a doubt, a testimony to the Omnibenevolence of God.
God assures us we can trust Him fully in every aspect of life without fail or compromise. The daily interaction of His attributes in the happenings we encounter, in the good, not so good, and the really awful, testify to the truth that “God is good.” Often blithely and naively spoken, the words remain accurate.
Not only is God all good, but He is good all the time. This is a precious truth that brings comfort and security as we read His Word and grow in faith.
There are many attributes of God’s character. They are vital to faith and sound doctrine. They are whole and complete, perfect, and infinite. God’s love, sovereignty, faithfulness, mercy, holiness, power, knowledge, justice, and goodness are all “omni.” To deny them or pit them against one another is to disregard the complete God of the Bible.
The “omnis” of God boggle our minds. We cannot wrap around the magnitude and infinite nature of God. His holiness and yet perfect completeness of His all goodness must rest as facts of faith, Biblical and true.
He is with us always. He knows us completely. There is nothing He cannot do.
He is what He claims to be throughout history, including today and tomorrow. These truths which fight in our minds are proclaimed from the beginning pages of Scripture to the very end.
“Now when all things are made subject to Him, thenthe Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:28 NKJV)
God is All in all. He is Omni Omni.
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Sylvia Schroeder loves connecting God’s Word with real life and writing about it. She is a contributing writer for a variety of magazines and online sites. Sylvia is co-author of a devotional book and her writing is included in several book compilations. Mom to four, grandma to 14, and wife to her one and only love, Sylvia enjoys writing about all of them.
Her love for pasta and all things Italian stems from years of ministry abroad. She’d love to tell you about it over a steaming cup of cappuccino. Connect with Sylvia on her blog, When the House is Quiet, her Facebook page, orTwitter.
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