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Do All Good Things Come From God?
Yes, ALL good things come from God. God makes this plain and clear in James 1:17 – “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
The context is that of God explaining that all bad things, all evil, all corruption. comes from sin. ALL good things come from Him. In his New Testament commentary on James John MacArthur writes:
“What comes from God is not sin, but only every good thing given and every perfect gift. The perfect, flawless, holy goodness of God results in His doing and giving only what reflects His perfect holiness and truth. His works reflect His character. Negatively, James is saying that, from temptation to execution, God has absolutely no responsibility for sin. Positively, he is saying that God has complete responsibility for every good thing, and that every perfect gift that exists has come from above [God].” - James Commentary, page 54
Other scripture supports this:
“In him we live and move and have our being.” – Acts 17:28a
Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil — this is the gift of God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:19
God even gives good things to those who reject Him:
Matthew 5:44-45 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
On the other hand, the Bible tells us that the cause of all misery, sickness, death, and every evil thing that happens to man is a consequence of sin, and Satan is the agent through which many of those consequences come.
Matthew 13:37-39 - “He answered, 'The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.'”
John 8:44 - “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
To refute this an atheist wrote that ice cream is good, and since ice cream was made by a human, then ice cream is an example of something good that did not come from God. The conclusion being that many good things do not come from God.
The atheist has too narrow of an understanding. Where did the human get the ability to acquire knowledge and skills for making good ice cream? From God. Who designed and made the cow that provided the milk, and gave it the chemical properties that result in it tasting good? God. Who owns all of the resources that were used? God. Who created and sustains the “natural” laws that make the chemistry of ice cream possible? God. Who is restraining the effects of sin, preventing the ice cream from being stolen, contaminated, becoming rotten, and simply eaten by someone else? God.
Understanding that everything good comes from God is important. Hell, the lake of fire, and second death are all used to describe separation from God. Hell means separation from all that is good. Imagine what that is like. ANYTHING you can think of that is good, does not exist in hell. There is no ice cream, no relief from pain, no light, and not even a sip of water to quench an agonizing thirst. And what is worse there is no hope... not even the hope of death releasing you from eternal pain.
Is hell an evil torture chamber where God sends everyone He doesn't like? You could say that, except God doesn't send people to hell. Hell is exactly what those who go there asked for. The people who go to hell are those who reject God... reject Jesus Christ (God) as their Savior from hell. They are getting exactly what they chose. Total separation from God, for eternity. And that means total separation from everything that is good. Forever.
For more information:
What Does The Bible Say About Good vs Evil? (GQ Article)
What does it mean that God is good? (GQ Article)
Can people be good without God? (CMI Article).
What is the connection between belief in God and morality? (CMI Article)