We have written a fairly lengthy article on the meaning of the expression “very good” in Genesis 1. Suffice it to say we believe the phrase means everything was really good. From the sea, to the trees, to the serpent and even humanity, the whole work of creation was a job well done. While the component parts may have been good, the work collectively was very much more so. There is no moral or superhuman overtones to the phrase in the context of Genesis 1 or in its many uses later in the Old Testament.
As noted in the linked article, such exposition is hardly new and we provide examples of Christadelphians who rejected evolution but reached the same conclusion.
The latest Testimony Magazine (Vol 87 No 1,030 Sept 2017) contained a letter from Richard Barker who, at the end of a long letter on the consequences for Eve, wrote:
“Then they were sent forth from the garden to “be fruitful, and multiply, and [fill] the earth, and subdue it” (1:28). Now creation could move forward in the promise of salvation, and this was ‘very good.’”
Ie until the fall, until Adam and Eve began to procreate, the expression very good didn’t apply as they were not fulfilling the full intention of God.
Lest you consider this reading of Barker’s comments too radical, this is how the editorial team understood the article:
Brother Richard’s suggestions would require Genesis 1 to be an overview, from creation to the fall, into which we then have to slot the events of chapters 2 and 3. Such an interpretation would then also make it possible that the description “very good” applied only after the fall, once human redemption (via reproduction) could proceed, to the glory of God.
Note the editors Eric Marshall and Jeremy Thomas neither endorse nor refute Barker’s reading of “very good”.
Of course such a reading is diametrically opposed to the South Australian generated Interecclesial reaffirmation statement which states:
BASF Clause 4 teaches that Adam was created ‘“very good” in kind and condition’. This phrase means that Adam was not created with a nature flawed by the physical and moral imperfections that we experience (Romans 7:23; 8:2).
This just serves to illustrate that the orthodoxy demanded by some creationists is inconsistent with the biblical understanding within the wider Christadelphian community (including other creationists).