I think [“God's goodness”] is the leap of faith. You decide that things are good and that you are going to act in the service of the good — in many ways despite the evidence.1Despite the evidence?!
Well, yes! if we go by history and mortal perspective, Peterson is, in many ways, right. Remember OT Job. Remember the persecuted and martyred: John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, Stephen, James, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Abinadi, John Huss, Thomas Becket, Wm. Tyndale, Joseph & Hyrum Smith. — to name a few on the endless, ongoing list2? And this does not count all the evidence of anguished “unanswered” prayers for healing, safety, companionship, offspring; for a child''s or spouse's repentance; for a way out of depression, abuse, anxiety, dysphoria, addiction, tyranny, and so forth. And what of the wind, flood, fire, earthquake or man-made catastrophes that devastate? Even for some, the required3 death of God's own Son is all the evidence they need to reject the idea of a good God.
Yes, of course, there are also endless witnesses of God's goodness, but what do we do if contrary “proofs” also plague our awareness. For many, life is a recycling struggle with dissonance. If God is good, why do I (or we or they) suffer so much mental distress? so much unrelenting physical pain and disease? so many hurdles and roadblocks? so much conflict, loss, confusion, trauma?
Perhaps the definition of faith warned us already of the dissonance factor.
NOW faith is theDoes this put us on notice that the evidence of God's 100% goodness may, frequently (from our mortal perspective), not be seen?
substanceassurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (JST New Testament | Hebrews 11:1).
As we witness and endure the increasing tyrannies and catastrophes of coming days (as prophesied), will we be persuaded by the evidence of things seen or the evidence of things not seen? Are we prepared to see beyond the seen? to believe without reservation that whatever happens, God is good? that all He does is based in Truth, Justice, Mercy, and Love — a Love we may not, perhaps, cannot comprehend?
The Scottish writer George MacDonald4 wrote
Our God is a consuming fire. Heb. 12:29In the words of British writer, C. S. Lewis6:
Nothing is inexorable but love. Love which will yield to prayer is imperfect and poor. It is not love that grants a boon unwillingly; still less is it love that answers a prayer to the wrong and hurt of him who prays. Love is one, and love is changeless.
For love loves unto purity. Love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds. Where loveliness is incomplete, and love cannot love its fill of loving, it spends itself to make more lovely, that it may love more; it strives for perfection, even that itself may be perfected—not in itself, but in the object. . . . Therefore all that is not beautiful in the beloved, all that comes between and is not of love’s kind, must be destroyed.
And our God is a consuming fire
It is the nature of God, so terribly pure that it destroys all that is not pure as fire, which demands like purity in our worship. He will have purity. It is not that the fire will burn us if we do not worship thus; but that the fire will burn us until we worship thus; yea, will go on burning within us after all that is foreign to it has yielded to its force, no longer with pain and consuming, but as the highest consciousness of life, the presence of God. When evil, which alone is consumable, shall have passed away in his fire from the dwellers in the immovable kingdom, the nature of man shall look the nature of God in the face, and his fear shall then be pure; for an eternal, that is a holy fear, must spring from a knowledge of [His] nature, not from a sense of power.5
I find I must borrow yet another parable from George MacDonald. Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of— throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.From a prior observation, I repeat:
The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him— for we can prevent Him, if we choose— He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said (—from Mere Christianity7).
Maybe most of all, we don’t comprehend faith (or perhaps don’t want to), being: “the substance [assurance—JST] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”[(JST New Testament | Hebrews 11:1)]. But, as I have asked elsewhere: HOW is God going to test/prove/try us? by NOT offending our sense of logic and reason? by always confirming our faith-based, telestial/terrestrial perceptions and biases? by offering up physical evidence? by preventing contradictory, confusing evidence? by making it easy to believe? by flooding us with “rational” signs? by preventing every bad choice or consequence? ... What better way to push us toward “the evidence of things not seen” than to hopelessly confound the “evidence of things seen?”8Let us prepare ourselves to observe how often we dwell in dissonance and take the leap of faith to believe without qualification that God is always and forever good, however it may sometimes appear or feel.
… Great is His wisdom, marvelous are His ways, and the extent of His doings none can find out. His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay His hand (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 76:2-3; see also Old Testament | Isaiah 55:8-9).----------------------------------------------/
1. https://www.dailywire.com/episode/exodus-episode-4 (begin about minute 49 for background and quote)
2. ▪ Foxe, John. Fox's Book of Martyrs Or A History of the Lives, Sufferings, and Triumphant Deaths of the Primitive Protestant Martyrs.
▪ Eric Metaxas. Bonhoeffer Thomas Nelson.
▪ The Voice of the Martyrs. Extreme Devotion: Daily Devotional Stories Of Ancient To Modern-Day Believers Who Sacrificed Everything For Christ
▪ New Testament | John 16:33
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
▪ New Testament | 2 Timothy 3:12
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
▪ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 101:35-36
35 And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory.
36 Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.
▪ Research news articles about latter-day martyrs worldwide.
3. New Testament | Matthew 26:39, 42
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. ...
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
Pearl of Great Price | Moses 4:2
2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
5. Hein, Rolland. Through the Year with George MacDonald: 366 Daily Readings (Kindle Locations 441-454). Winged Lion Press. Kindle Edition. January 8: “The Consuming Fire,” Unspoken Sermons: Series One.
7. Lewis, C. S.. A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 218). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.