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The Book of Job - "Don't Put God in a Box!"

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Adam Czap 3/24/03 English 401 Vika Gardner The Book of Job: "Don't Put God in a Box!" Questions about the nature of God in the book of Job are often in reference to His justice and the problem of evil. However, the narrators of the Book of Job insist that the reader beware of this urge to reinvent the nature of God. In some mythological-based polytheistic traditions, the gods are sometimes represented as having dual natures and that their gods' will to do good and evil are almost the same. But in the monotheistic Christianity tradition, God is often interpreted as being a God that is wholly good, and the figure of Satan is a polar opposite to God-the condensation of all that is evil. The book of Job appears to conflict with this belief by offering the story of a conversation between God and Satan about God's righteous servant named Job. As we shall later see, the reader is in fact warned of the troubles that come with assuming the nature of God. God's words and silence throughout the text seem to deliberately insist that God and Satan are beings whose natures are not dependent on what we often limit them to. ...read more.


God accepts the challenge and Job is inflicted with boils, but remains alive and unwilling to curse the face of God. Instead, Job curses his own birth (Job 3:1). Now Job's friends come to be with him during his suffering. Theoretically, these friends the common theological view that God only punishes those who are evil and the he protects those who are innocent. This idea of a God does reflect the expressions of the rest of the Bible, but that is not the real issue here-the real problem is that Job's friends are not considering God's omnipotence, and that He is not limited to doing only that which is just in terms of man. Their opinions of God are what many people see, and which the book of Job is arguing against, the problem of evil. Bildad insists that Job and his children must have done something to deserve their fates because God (apparently) punishes the evil: "Does God pervert justice? (Job 8:3)" According to Job's friends, the answer is definitely not. They believe that God the equivalent to Justice, and that God cannot pervert justice without perverting himself. ...read more.


Finally, Job is proven right by the treatment of Job's friends. God addressing Eliphaz and saying, "My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; because you have not spoken of me what is right, like Job has (Job 7:1)." The only way for them to be saved now is through the prayers of Job. In the concluding epilogue of the book of Job, the narrator is warning about the dangers of trying to serve a God who suits our personal needs instead of serving the God who exists and is not subject to the ideals of mortal men. In fact, this idea is comparable to the first commandment which says, "Thou shall have no other gods before Me." Throughout this amazing book, the text is showing that God must be allowed to do whatever He wants, and do it all in His own timing. After all, if God is the sole creator of everything, who are we to ask Him if He screwed up? "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9). ...read more.

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