Very Good

Very Good

The creation narrative concludes with the words “and the Lord saw all that He created and behold it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). This phrase is interspersed throughout the entire chapter. But what does this mean? Does God need to look at what He created in order to know what it is? Did He not know before He created the world that it would be good so that He had to make sure that He got what He originally planned? Furthermore, what does the word “good” mean to God? Does it mean that the world looked nice? That it was functional? Are these qualities true “good”?

It is clear that when the Torah says that God saw that the world was good it means that He saw that the world will eventually bring forth the righteousness that He was hoping for. In other words; God believed in the world. It is not easy to believe in a world where sin is a real possibility but that is what God does.

Nachmanides takes this concept one step further. The great teacher explains that just as God created the world with the utterances of His mouth, so does He continuously sustain the world with His “seeing that it is good.” It is God’s belief in the world that is continuously giving the world its existence.

We see this phenomenon in our daily lives. Believing in something is what makes that something flourish and grow. A parent needs to believe in a child in order to bring forth the child’s proper potential and a teacher’s belief in a student is what sustains the student’s growth. A company needs someone to believe in it in order to make money and a sports team cannot win a game, let alone a championship, without a strong belief in their ability to succeed.

As God’s witnesses in this world, it is not enough for Israel to testify to the truth that God created all, as significant as this testimony is. Israel needs to believe in the world, it needs to believe in humanity. It is not easy to believe these things but this belief is the hope of the world.

This message of hope was most eloquently expressed through Isaiah when He foretold that the world will one day beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift sword against nation and they shall learn war no more

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Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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2 Responses to Very Good

  1. Rabbi, Shalom Shalom! I find your explanation so enlightening because it has to do with the meaning of Gospel (Good News) in the Christian Scriptures!

    You said, “He saw that the world will eventually bring forth the righteousness that He was hoping for.” Which means God believed what he said will be fulfilled exactly as he said, right? The world will be perfectly restored as God has originally designed as Isaiah prophesied. So which means the prophecy of Isaiah will be fulfilled, right? I think that is the meaning of the gospel, Good News.

    Gospel according to Matthew is gospel (good news) because he believes that the birth, life, teaching, death and resurrection of Yeshua was the fulfillment of the prophecy. That’s why his book is full of the phrase, “it was to fulfill what is written in the phrophet…” Gospel according to Luke never mentions the word “gospel: euangelion,” only the verbal form “preach the good news: euagelizo.” Instead he replaces gospel with word of the Lord (Tanakh). John’s Logos theology is also good news because the Word (Tanakh) became flesh which means he lived it out the word concerning himself. “The word of God fulfilled” This is “Good.”

    There was not moon, nor star. There was light when God said, “let there be light!” So exact fulfillemnt of what Hashem said is “good.” Instead of converting Jews to Christianity (Many ignorant Church think it is ‘evangelization’- preach the gospel) but rather i pray and work for Israel’s restoration because it is good news- gospel to me because it is the prophesied word of God.

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