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Hey, it's me, here to comment about the Book of Job. Just wanted to mention that I've always puzzled over Job, because God is clearly tempted by Satan, and he succumbs! In the New Testament much is made of the fact that Jesus is tempted, but overcomes the temptation. In Job, Jesus's Dad, the Big Mack Daddy Jehovah, God of everything and the universe, is tempted by Satan--and doesn't overcome! It's interesting to me because of my studies of Judaica. According to Hebrew scholars, there is nothing greater than God, nothing smarter, nothing more powerful; God is everything better than everything else. And yet...here God could have turned the other cheek and been good to Job (who, God admits, has lived his life quite faithfully), but he doesn't--twice! To me, this is a paradox. To have as a tenet of a religion the idea of an infallable God, who later is tempted by a 'lesser' being, and succumbs, makes for quite a head-scratcher.
The way it's written, though, God seems to get it wrong. In the beginning of the Chapter, God tells Satan (and I'm paraphrasing here...no Bible in front of me) basically that Job is so upright that he won't ever turn against Him. However, at the end of the chapter, after hearing Job dismiss the deaths of his family, crops, etc. with essentially 'Such is the will of God', you finally get a bitching Job when the personal attacks come--which any human could identify with. I guess you could say that technically Job doesn't 'turn away' from God, but he certainly changes his attitude from one of reverence and trust to one of anger and frustration.
One of the things about the Chapter of Job that I reflect on a lot is God's response to Job's questioning...it's just 'How dare you question me...you who don't understand the ways of the universe as I set them?' It sounds like a parent who's handling a complaining child: "I don't have to have a good reason, I'm the Dad," or "Don't question me, your Father knows best!" The fun part: is this version a Father calmly explaining to his child that the kid doesn't understand, and so should trust Him, or is this version a Father tired of a child's complaining, and just trying to shut him up with 'Because I said so!'? Sometimes, the tone of the writing of the scripture makes it seem like the latter, which would again go against the image of an all-powerful, all-understanding God.
Anyhow...my 2 cents. It's just always seemed like someone wrote this chapter to stop people from asking that age-old question: why do bad things happen to good people. And it somehow seems like a cop-out to get an answer like "Because that's the way God made the world." Again, you could say this is really the only answer when you're dealing with an omnicient God, but it's little comfort.
— , formerly DynaCharcoal, formerly DynaPINK!
Interesting call about Satan tempting God. I think the only responses that could be offered are:
1) God, being God, knows He will win the bet so the temptation is okay because it will prove His point, and
2) the temptations of Jesus were bad (Jesus explains why in each case when he rejects) but again to point 1 this 'temptation' is okay because God knows it will work out for the best.
The idea that this 'works out for the best' is another line of thought I always had trouble with: did it work out for the best for Job's original family and servants? They died. Granted, he gets a larger family and more servants in the end, but this makes it seems as if the first were disposable.
I agree with your analysis of God's talk to job being that of a strict parent chastising a child. My paraphrase/distillation was "I created the world; what have you done? I don't have to answer to you!" Like I said, I have a LOT of problems with this book, which is why I chose to write about it.
One thing that is frequently overlooked is that Job actually gets a second reward for his trouble (aside from the larger replacement family and property): he is one of the very few mortals who is granted the privilege to actually see God.
"I had heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eyes see Thee; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust
This is remarkable, because normally God doesn't reveal Himself at all, or at the very most will use some metaphorical representation like a burning bush. However, Job actually saw God when God showed up to "present His defense."
It also serves up a rebuttal to a comment made about 500 years after Job was written, where John 1:17 comments that "No one has ever seen God." Clearly Job had. However, given the hell that God had just put him through, showing up and discussing this in person was the least He could do...
Quetzyl here with a little different view on the tale of Job. Up to the time of Job, the end all and be all of the universe was: If you are righteous you will prosper, If not you are punished. The Book of Job demonstrates a severe splintering with traditional thought, and revolution towards reality. This is a book that is attempting to show the masses that they are created in Gods image, as is the world. Imperfect and bound by rules that are totally dependent on our free will. It is all as good as we make and by choosing to remain righteous Job recreated misery into a life of prosperity. A shedding of the ideological world through the suffering of reality to the prosperity of his choosing. This evolution of thought would savagely undermine the control and power of the Rabbi's. If I were running the massive Religious power centers of the modern world, I would minimize the importance of this anyway possible. The reason being that it was all accomplished without the interferance of the established church.
(Stand on a table and look at the room from a different view.)
If you haven't already, I suggest you read the play J.B. Don't wait for it to come to a community theatre near you, but check it out from your nearby university library. As you might guess it is a moden day telling of JOB, but with a decidedly humanist take on the ending. I won't spoil it for you, but will only say that I was in this play in high school and I played GOD. HEHEHEHEHEHEHE.......
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