God saw that it was good?

My husband scored an NIV audio bible for free the other day. When he brought it home, I decided to try, over the next few months, to listen through the Bible—utilizing times when my work around the house doesn’t require too much of my brain. I know I will be distracted and interrupted, but the idea is to improve my grasp on the big picture of Scripture, and to refresh my memory on sections I tend to neglect. Periodic lapses of attention shouldn’t have too adverse of an effect on my goal.

I’ve only just begun and already I’ve been met with an interesting little meditation. In Genesis chapter one, I noticed again the repeated phrase “God saw that it was good“.

Genesis 1:3-4 (NASB) 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
4 God saw that the light was good…

Genesis 1:10 (NASB) 10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:12 (NASB) 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:16, 18 (NASB)
16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also…18to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:21 (NASB)
21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:25 (NASB)
25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:31 (NASB)
31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good...

To be honest, this phrase always sort of bothered me. It reads as if creation is an experiment and God is discovering the measure of his success as he goes along. This doesn’t mesh with the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise God declared in the rest of scripture, so I figured it was some kind of translational awkwardness. Maybe Godsaw“, means Godaffirmed“.

From a brief word study, it seems that is a possibility. The word translated saw (raah) is very occasionally translated approved.

But it’s literal meaning is definitely to see.

With that in mind, I heard something different in that phrase as I began my listen through the audio Bible. I think what  is being communicated here is the difference between knowing something will be good and actually experiencing the goodness. I can make something from a recipe that always works, knowing it will be delicious. But it isn’t until it is finished and I put it in my mouth and taste it that I experience it’s goodness.

God knew what he was doing, and he knew full well it would turn out good. I think what we see is God experiencing the goodness of what he has made. At each step he is enjoying his handiwork, and when it is complete, he has the satisfaction of beholding and appreciating his finished product in all its beauty and perfection. Thus the change to very good.

What do you think? And does this have any bearing on how we should view God’s interaction with and experience of us?

11 thoughts on “God saw that it was good?”

  1. Crystal,

    Very good post. My only comment is not to use light colors. The yellow was really hard to see. Remmber some people have old eyes.

  2. Jan –
    I think the problem is that you are reading on your email. For some reason, the white text from my website is automatically corrected to black on email, but anything I emphasize by highlighting with another color stays light in the email.
    I can’t use a dark color to highlight or readers of the website won’t be able to see it against the dark background. I’m sure there is a way to fix this, but I don’t know how.
    If there is a post with light colors that are hard to see, you might just have to click on the link and view it from the website. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  3. Ooooh, I do like the new look! But don’t pay too much attention–I’m very old!
    Good post too! It’s good to listen afresh to old, well known passages and phrases.
    The idea that God makes me and says, “Wow, isn’t that great.” is quite incredible. And he does that anew every day. In fact, someone pointed out, he does that every breath I take as his Spirit breathes into me.

    1. Thanks Ian.

      I’m not sure this theme will stay, but I didn’t want to mess with it anymore. It’s good enough for now. Should keep all you old folks happy, anyway! 🙂

      That God delights in us is a wonder that never gets old, and never ceases to encourage.

  4. Another interesting little refrain in the first chapter is this one:

    “And it was evening and it was morning the first day”
    “And it was evening and it was morning the second day”
    Et cetera.

    Wonder want can be teased out of that? Why evening first et cetera.

    1. Derek,
      This comment is a bit late but in case you’re still wondering, I was just looking at that and another site suggested it was to kind of ‘end the day’ to show that that’s what had happened on day 1, then God was “inactive” in the creation process until day 2, and so on.

      I don’t know if that could be what is meant but just wanted to pass along what I’d read in case it could help.

      Here’s a link if you want to read more into it: http://creation.com/evenings-and-mornings#endRef1

  5. Yeah, I’ve wondered about that too.
    I haven’t looked into it myself, but someone pointed out to me that depending on what side of the earth your perspective was from, that would be the case. Somewhere it was evening and somewhere it was morning.
    So, did the Jews base their day beginning at sundown off of this description of creation, or was it given to them in those words because that was the already established way of talking about a 24 hr. day?

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