Dictionary.com provides some quick definitions of goodness.
From the Dictionary.com Unabridged, based on the Random House Dictionary, (c) Random House, Inc., 2010, goodness is:
- the state or quality of being good.
- moral excellence; virtue.
- kindly feeling; kindness; generosity.
- excellence of quality: goodness of workmanship.
- the best part of anything; essence; strength.
- a euphemism for god: Thank goodness!
From Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary
in man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good.
Both of these definitions interest me. I like the emphasis in Easton’s on the idea that to be good, we can’t be passive. Random House’s mention of virtue doesn’t surprise me. Even the idea that generosity and kindness are attached to goodness isn’t unexpected, but I’m delighted to see the dictionary taking up the idea that goodness can be the essence of something and it’s strength. That feels right to me on a gut level.