“Tov m’od”

What will it take to heal the generational wounds of unknowing and separation? Reunion and story sharing. In The Very Good Gospel, I examine the Hebrew understanding of “very goodness” when God looks around at the end of the sixth day of the epic Hebrew poem we now call Genesis 1 and considers it to be “very good” (Gen 1:31). The Greeks place perfection inside the thing. Things themselves were thought to be perfect. That was the Greek project – to be perfect. That was not the Hebrew project. The Hebrew word for “goodness” is tov. The Hebrews understood tov to exist between things, not inside things. Tov was not about the perfection of the thing. It was about the wellness of the relationships between things. Tov is fundamentally relational. When God says “tov m’od,” God is saying that all relationships in creation are radically good! The relationship between humanity and God, humanity with self, humanity with the rest of creation, all of creation and the systems that govern us – all work to bless all! There is no cursing – only blessing on the first page of the Bible. This is what God calls “very good.” It is not that we are perfect. It is that our relationships are well. The word m’od means “forceful, abundant, overflowing.” The relationships in creation were radically good, overwhelmingly good, forcefully good! We see what God considers to be good. It is not our perfection. It is our capacity to love God, love ourselves, love others, love the rest of creation, and love through our governance. It is our radical, interdependent connectedness. We were created for radical connectedness. 

From “Fortune: How Race Broke My Family and the World–and How to Repair It All” by Lisa Sharon Harper