In the creation narrative in the Old Testament book of Genesis there is an oft-repeated notion that is easily missed. I don’t mean it is missed in the sense of being skipped, since the repetitions guard against that; I mean missed in the sense that its significance isn’t fully recognized.
Six times in Genesis 1, after God calls something into being it is recorded that “God saw that it was good” (v. 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). And then—also well known—God surveys “everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (1:31).
There is a lovely simplicity to God’s revelation here. His creation is good. Period. Not good, mind you, because it reveals his glory, though that happens to be true (Psalms 19:1), but simply because God’s creation is good. Not good because what he has made reveals something of his existence and power, though that happens to be true (Romans 1:20), but simply because it is good. Not good because though we may be aware of it the creation sings the Creator’s praises, though that also happens to be true (Psalms 96:12), but simply because it is good.
The creation is good not because anything, but simply because it is, and is good. God has said it. Creation, in other words, needs no justification. And so neither does our enjoyment of it, our care for it, and our proper use of it in the fulfillment of our calling.
The reason I bring this up is that at times it seems like a strain of utilitarianism creeps into the way Christians talk. It’s true that flowers, fresh bread, rabbits, wine, and cold mountain streams all point to God, but we don’t have to have that thought explicitly to enjoy them properly.
They are good. Period. Enough said.