08 Sep 2013

Thoughts on Job

Religious 47 Comments

In my nightly Bible reading, I have hit the Book of Job. At first glance, this is a very troubling story for a Jew / Christian, because it apparently casts God in an unflattering light. Here’s the setup (Job 1:6-22):

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[a] also came among them. 7 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?”

So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”

8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; 14 and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 when the Sabeans[b] raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and suddenly a great wind came from across[c] the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

But upon this reading, these events don’t seem so odd to me, because–as I often say on these Sunday posts–if you’re going to evaluate whether God is good or bad, you have to take the depiction of Him in its entirety. Obviously, if some prince did the above, he would be evil. But if God does it, things are different, and not because I’m saying a mere definition–”the acts of God are good because He’s God”–but because the context is different. Just as, if I say it’s OK for Jim to smash a car because he’s the owner of it, but it’s not OK for Mike to smash the same car, I haven’t just admitted to moral relativism. So, please at least recognize that I’m explicitly denying that there is one set of morality for God and another for humans; if you’re going to accuse me of that in the comments, spell out why my defense doesn’t work, please.

Anyway, back to my main point. Imagine Job dies and is united with the Lord in paradise for eternity. His kids (the ones who died) are all there too. God says:

Well done Job! I know I asked you a lot during your time on earth, but now from this perspective you see that your kids got to be with me sooner. I could have killed them with a heart attack, or a lion, or kidney failure at age 68, but instead I allowed them to be killed by a windstorm that knocked a building on them. No matter what, I ultimately was going to kill them and end their mortal existence, and I decided that it would best educate the future of humanity to do it this way. I knew you would rise to the challenge, and give a model of how people should respond to such calamities. You are now one of the most famous human beings in all of recorded history; My people have held you up as a role model for countless generations. As much as I asked of you, it was less than I asked of My own Son, who was tortured to death. It’s unfortunate that your and His suffering were necessary, but you know how people are: they need human role models to follow.

I submit that seeing the kind of person Job was on earth, if God said something like the above to him–and the kids who had been killed in the windstorm are there, beaming at him–he would respond, “Thank you my God, I am incredibly honored that you chose me for this purpose.”

So suppose for the sake of argument I’m right, and everybody who was “wronged” by God in His challenge to Satan thinks it was wonderful, after the fact: they think the lesson it taught the world totally justified the nanosecond of misery it caused them in their mortal existence. If we stipulate that for the sake of argument, then is it still so “obvious” that the God of the Christian Bible is fickle and immature? I don’t think so.

The more I read the Bible, the more I understand why Jesus said–referring to the “God of the Old Testament”–that no one is good but Him.

47 Responses to “Thoughts on Job”

  1. Yosef says:

    Bob, you write “So, please at least recognize that I’m explicitly denying that there is one set of morality for God and another for humans; if you’re going to accuse me of that in the comments, spell out why my defense doesn’t work, please.”

    So, you are saying that there is a single set of morality which covers both God and humans. Ok, so:

    1. Under this set are there circumstances in which the actions of a being covered by this system are wrong/evil? (For example, in your post when Mike smashes the car he doesn’t own)
    2. If so, under this set are there circumstances in which the actions of God, on of the beings covered by this system, are wrong/evil?

    If there are no circumstances under this set by which the actions of God would be wrong/evil, then by definition God’s actions are good because he is God, since there are no circumstances under which his acts are wrong/evil.

    If there are circumstances under this set by which the actions of God would be wrong/evil, this means that God could be evil but chooses not to be. Is that a statement you are ok with, and could you give an example of what such a circumstance would be?

    • Matt Tanous says:

      “If there are no circumstances under this set by which the actions of God would be wrong/evil, then by definition God’s actions are good because he is God, since there are no circumstances under which his acts are wrong/evil.”

      If the system is the same, then all the actions which humans commit that would be evil are also evil should God commit them. But God does not commit them. God is not good “because he is God”, but because he can and does perfectly follow the standard of what is good.

    • Innocent says:

      Okay

      1 ) Is what God did wrong?

      Well, I suppose that depends on your perspective. When I make my children do homework they think I am being an ogre and horrible father. If you do not fully understand the motivations of the being who is acting on your behalf then of course the perception that you have may well be skewed.

  2. Ken B says:

    Are you arguing the context is god proving the adversary (satan) wrong? Ie a celestial debating club. Or that Job is like god’s car that he alone is allowed to smash? God is allowed to probe Job as He wills?

    • Lord Keynes says:

      ” Or that Job is like god’s car that he alone is allowed to smash?

      Ken B, yes, that is exactly what Bob Murphy’s words here imply:

      “Just as, if I say it’s OK for Jim to smash a car because he’s the owner of it, but it’s not OK for Mike to smash the same car, “

      That implies all living things are god’s private property, and can be subjected to suffering or death if he wishes it, without being morally evil.

      Behold theological propertarianism!

      • martinK says:

        No, it’s an example *a* difference in context, not necessarily the same difference.

        Another example would be of a car owned by third person, where Jim has permission to use it and Mike doesn’t. It would be OK if Jim drives off with it, but not if Mike does it, because of the difference in context.

        What the difference in context is in god’s case, is explained in the part starting with Anyway, back to my main point..

      • Ken B says:

        Surely does sound like it.

  3. Razer says:

    You don’t believe in evolution but you believe in these fairy tales in your bible? If you’re going to believe in pure make believe fictional characters, why not choose Santa Claus? He’s actually far more moral than this sky fairy you bow and grovel to.

    • Bharat says:

      Why believe in God instead of Santa Claus? Well, maybe.
      1) God is an answer or best explanation to certain, specific questions e.g. how did the universe begin?
      2) God is a necessary condition for certain things we see in the world, such as change, and this is philosophically knowable.

      If you’re going to ask such a question, it’s clear you’re either 1) not knowledgeable about theism, or 2) purposefully deceptive and making purely inflammatory remarks. Even if you disagree with theism, an analogy to Santa Claus is clearly irrelevant.

      • Enopoletus Harding says:

        “God is an answer or best explanation to certain, specific questions e.g. how did the universe begin?”
        -Or maybe he’s just an extra layer of improbability; the Ultimate Boeing 747?
        “God is a necessary condition for certain things we see in the world, such as change, and this is philosophically knowable.”
        -Waiit…how could God act without change? How could a static, changeless being be responsible for the first instance of change?

        • Bharat says:

          By disputing whether I’m correct, you’re missing my point.

        • guest says:

          Or maybe he’s just an extra layer of improbability …

          It’s less probable that determinism enabled the capacity for first causes (free will) than that a previously existing thing (God[s])that has the capacity for first causes enabled that capacity for other things (people, animals, insects).

          You can’t see God, but you also can’t have free will if all that you do is the necessary result of prior deterministic causes.

          • Enopoletus Harding says:

            Didn’t I claim free will is a nonsensical concept and, therefore, doesn’t exist, in another reply to you?

            • Matt Tanous says:

              If you did, that’s hardly a refutation. Free will is not a nonsensical concept. You could argue that it is WRONG, but it isn’t nonsensical.

              • Enopoletus Harding says:

                Yeah, free will is nonsensical. There is only one possible timeline of all actual historical events. Any variation from that timeline would violate the law of identity.

    • Mike M says:

      Razer, at one time the concept of the earth being round, electricity or space travel was considered by many to be fairy tales.

      Your comment indicates you suffer from the same affliction as a religious zealot, that is, you have it all figured out and you are right and the other guy is wrong. Not the sign of an evolved mind in either case.

      • Enopoletus Harding says:

        “you have it all figured out and you are right and the other guy is wrong”
        -This is not necessarily an affliction.
        “at one time the concept of the earth being round, electricity or space travel was considered by many to be fairy tales.”
        -Ergo, Jesus, amirite? They laughed at Galileo, but also at Bozo the Clown. Galileos are far fewer than Bozos.

        • guest says:

          The Myth of the Flat Earth
          [WWW]http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/library/russell/FlatEarth.html

    • Economic Freedom says:

      >>>You don’t believe in evolution but you believe in these fairy tales in your bible?

      Evolution is also a fairy tale, but it’s both less entertaining AND less plausible than the other fairy tales.

      That you mistake evolution for “the literal truth” of the question of origins proves that you not only lack knowledge, wisdom, and discernment, but that you also have some deep psychological problems.

      Personally, I’m fascinated. I wait impatiently for you to reveal more about yourself.

      • Enopoletus Harding says:

        Didn’t I provide you with evidence of speciation in the last thread? Also, you’re not Major Freedom; he’s an atheist who believes in free will. MF also doesn’t use the >>>.

        • Economic Freedom says:

          >>>Didn’t I provide you with evidence of speciation in the last thread?

          No. You probably merely asserted it, and then interpreted your own assertions as evidence.

          But go ahead. Impress me.

  4. Matt M. (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

    Doesn’t considering all humans to be “God’s property” present some troubling implications re: free will?

    I mean, we own our house pets, but we do not consider them to have free will, because there are certain things we forcibly prevent them from doing, right?

    • Matt Tanous says:

      “Doesn’t considering all humans to be “God’s property” present some troubling implications re: free will?”

      Only if you equate the self and the physical body. Without equating the soul/will and the brain/body, you don’t have these problems. God can do as He wills to the body He created, while my soul – my self – still makes its own decisions.

      • Mike M says:

        Matt,
        Your post is interesting and begs additional questions. Is the body a subdivision of the soul? If so, then why can God render control over it? Or perhaps the soul is a subdivision of God? Or a part of a collective? Is the soul a “free will” component of some collective created by God? Is that collective energy God? etc

        The more question we ask, the more it is revealed we understand very little at this stage of human existence. That’s ok so long as we continue the journey.

        Of course that doesn’t stop people like LK (theological propertarianism) from arrogantly assuming they have it all figured out or at a minimum are convinced “you” don’t have it figure out. A common byproduct of those suffering from an omnipotent affliction.

  5. joe says:

    Job should have blamed himself for his misfortune. To quote Tea party darling Herman Cain, “blame yourself!”

  6. Neil says:

    Bob, God is in complete control of all things that come to pass, so much so that it can be properly said that he is the one causing every event that takes place. Wasn’t it God who hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he would disobey? Yet he holds Pharaoh responsible for his own actions. Wasn’t it God who sent an evil spirit to Saul when he desired to kill David? Of course men will always call God immature and fickle, among other things. But it is God himself who puts such a mocking spirit in their hearts. They do not comprehend the omnipotence or sovereignty of God. They think God is immature because they see him as a man, an equal, and a peer to be judged among other mortals that they associate with. While the Bible does portray God anthropomorphically in stories, it does so only to relate more easily to the human mind.

    • Ken B says:

      He’s kind of a ” beatings will continue until morale improves” type.

  7. Travis says:

    Again, I think evangelical Protestant epistemology leads to some troubling moral problems – the theodicy issue comes up much more frequently because of the tendency to rely exclusively on the Bible as a source of authority for Christian life. Bob, your argument that we are God’s property is true in a sense, but I wouldn’t push it too far – you have to be careful with that move because in the end, we’re just cosmic playthings. Matt M. rightly pointed out that it also potentially has some troubling implications for free will, as if the idea that we’re puppets in a divine comedy wasn’t bad enough.

    Can you work around the story of Job in order to make God out to be good from an evangelical reading of scripture? Sure. But it’s much more difficult than it has to be. A better approach to Job (and other problematic texts in the OT) would be to say that we don’t learn much about God in the OT. We learn a great deal about man, his broken relationship with God and others, and his need for redemption. We don’t learn much about God until the New Testament, where we see the Second Person of the Trinity in the flesh. And on a related note, it is also a mistake to focus so much on the role of Christ’s death in our redemption – it was the Incarnation itself and Christ’s whole life (and Resurrection) that really was the important part(s) of our redemption.

  8. JimS says:

    I wish I could remember the name of the schollar who believes that the second half of Job was added later to make the whole story more palatable. His argument is interesting in which he looks at meter, rhyme, syntax and notes how it changes when things begin to improve for Job.

    Why is this important? Because the message of Job is very different if we see Job suffering and never receiving any relief.

    I do not have a problem with the potter and clay analogy put forth in the Bible. You ask, should Job say thank you for the destruction of his family? Yes, he should. Do we not thank God for the destruction of His Son? Is the destruction any less because Jesus is God and was ressurected? I do not think so. Should we be thankful to be martyrs for God? I think so. Should we be thankful for the destruction of our family? Yes. There is always a higher purpose, usually one we cannot see. Yes, God creates to destroy, but I believe that destruction has a purpose.

  9. tom says:

    Simple question- is there ANY amount of suffering that could be endured by an individual (either mortal or in the spiritual realm) that would cause you to think this story was unpalatable?

    • JimS says:

      I am not certain what you are asking.

      The Bible is not necessarily meant ot be platable. This life is not about our pleasure, it is about being God’s servant and doing all for His glorification. It is not about things being palatable or pleasant for us. I do not buy the idea that God is all love (For Jacopb have I loved, but Esau have I hated. There are things and people God hates). There are serious consequences for not following God’s law, foremost being eternal damnation. There is NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in this life that compares to eternal damnation. In that vein, If all I do is for God’s glorification and his purpose, I guess the answer is no; there is no unpalatableness to God’s will.

      • tom says:

        One of the claims by Mr Murphy was that he was using the same sense of morality for God as he is for man, but under the assessment that nothing compares to eternal salvation/damnation morality has no meaning. Consider two alternate options for the story of Job.

        1. A total lie, God appears to RPM and says “hey, that Job thing was all a lie, but people needed someone to look up to to help them along the way to salvation. Whats a little lie compared to salvation? Isn’t it BETTER that I lied? All those people are saved AND Job never had to suffer through all that stuff. Win, win.

        2. It was much much was than just Job. It was a whole continent of Job’s- millions of them. God’s explanation- “the example had to really hit home. Many people wouldn’t identify with just Job as he was at least wealthy once before his fall. For many losing ones family and friends and struggling through life happens without ever being wealthy, without ever having that knowledge that life really could be good. To save the most people I needed everyone to have a role model they could aspire to be like. But then what is a few years of suffering of a few million people compared to the eternal salvation of billions?”

        Under a framework such as this God’s actions on earth are amoral as there is no noticeable difference between his actions.

        • JimS says:

          I do not see how you can believe God’s actions are immoral or amoral if you believe that God is all good. Certainly something may appear askew to me, some may call it amoral, but it is more likely that I do not understand the grand scheme of things. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamnt of in our philosophies.

          • tom says:

            RPM is attempting to avoid that argument

            “and not because I’m saying a mere definition–”the acts of God are good because He’s God””

            • JimS says:

              Thanks. I got that, but I really do not see anyway around that. Isn’t that in fact what faith is? Doc Bob is a big one on faith, believing that is all that is really needed to enter the kingdom of heaven (I disagree slightlly). If faith is the biggest or at least a major issue in Christianity, then think there are some things we simply chalk up to, “Because God said so.”

              Yes, this is uncomfortable, but faith is not about comfort. Certainly there are many things that do not appear good to us, but IF, and the if may be the question here, these seemingly bad things are God’s will, then they are in fact good.

              I had a discussion about this a while back when I cut off part of my thumb. Someone prayed for me and said God will set it right. I asked, perhaps GOd was setting it right when he took my thumb? To which the response was, “God does not want your thumb.” How can this be true? Do we not say “God called him home”? IF he can take our life, my thumb is certainly a trivial issue.

              I remember the parable of the shepherd who breaks the lamb’s leg to keep him from starying from the flock. As we know, “The Lord is my Shepherd” and from the suggestion of this parable, he does cause us harm in certain instances. I do not see where we read amoral or immoral in to this. We are his.

  10. Major_Freedom says:

    Murphy, if you posit that you are denying there is one morality for God, and another morality for man, when is it moral for man to murder defenseless newborns (since that is what God does)?

    • Bob Murphy says:

      MF wrote: “Murphy, if you posit that you are denying there is one morality for God, and another morality for man, when is it moral for man to murder defenseless newborns (since that is what God does)?

      My goodness MF, I bent over backwards to make sure you knew what my position was on this. Suppose God never killed any of those defenseless newborns. Then what? They would have eventually died of *some*thing, and whatever it was, God would have killed them that way.

      So is it more moral for an omnipotent Being to make a fully armed 45-year-old man die of lung cancer, than it is for Him to kill defenseless infants?

      This is what I meant when I said that when God does things that would, in isolation, be evil if a mere man did them, it doesn’t necessarily mean that God is evil, because you have to look at it in the context of who God is. And this is not saying *merely* “God can’t do evil because He’s God,” rather I’m saying when you think through the full implications of who He is, according to the Christian Bible, then sending (or allowing the devil to send) a windstorm that kills people doesn’t make Him a murderer, unless you say by His very nature He’s a murderer.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        “My goodness MF, I bent over backwards to make sure you knew what my position was on this. Suppose God never killed any of those defenseless newborns. Then what? They would have eventually died of *some*thing, and whatever it was, God would have killed them that way.”

        Yes, I remember you answering it, but to be honest I was never fully satisfied.

        OK, if we suppose God never did kill those newborns, but a 45 year old man instead, then you’d still be in the same cunundrum as before: Since you reject there being one morality for God and another morality for man, when is it moral for a man to [murder a 45 year old by giving them terminal cancer] (since that is what God does)?

        “So is it more moral for an omnipotent Being to make a fully armed 45-year-old man die of lung cancer, than it is for Him to kill defenseless infants?”

        This is what you have to explain.

        If we consider your positing there being one morality for both God and man, and God is all moral, and God murders the 45 year old with cancer, then that means it must be moral for a man to murder a 45 year old man by giving them terminal cancer.

        “This is what I meant when I said that when God does things that would, in isolation, be evil if a mere man did them, it doesn’t necessarily mean that God is evil, because you have to look at it in the context of who God is.”

        But if there is one morality for both God and man, then whatever God does (murder defenseless newborns, killing a 45 year old man with cancer, etc) it must mean it is moral for a man to do the same thing to other men.

        “And this is not saying *merely* “God can’t do evil because He’s God,” rather I’m saying when you think through the full implications of who He is, according to the Christian Bible, then sending (or allowing the devil to send) a windstorm that kills people doesn’t make Him a murderer, unless you say by His very nature He’s a murderer.”

        Names are really besides the point. We don’t have to say murderer. We can say flipperbipper. If it is moral for God to flipperbipper Mr. Smith, and there is one morality for both God and man, then it must be moral for a man to flipperbipper another man as well.

        I really don’t see how you can get around this by using grandoise terms like “full implications” and “in the context of who God is”. These seem like magic words to me, sort of like “We’re at war, and in war we can…” or “We’re in a recession, and in recessions we have to…”.

        When you say “full implications” and “in the context of who God is”, what are you talking about that would make it possible for you to deny man murdering other men the way God does, AND holding the claim that there is only one morality for both God and man? If every example you consider conveniently denies man the moral justification to do what God does, then the claim that there is only one morality for both God and man, becomes an empty platitude.

        I want you to give concrete examples of man murdering other men the way God murders men, with you concluding that it was moral for the murdering men to do those murders. That would show me that you really believe there is one morality for both God and man.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          MF wrote:

          Since you reject there being one morality for God and another morality for man, when is it moral for a man to [murder a 45 year old by giving them terminal cancer] (since that is what God does)?

          OK here’s when: When the first man created the second man and his entire universe, and no matter what happens to the second man, it’s the result of the creator. The closest thing we have to the relationship of God to us, is a human author to his characters. So even though Stephen King kills a cute little kid in the first chapter of It, that’s not immoral in the same way as if he killed a kid who wasn’t in his novel.

          I understand your comeback, but again, you’re not really attempting to answer my challenge. Are you saying we have to be immortal or else God is a murderer? That He only has permission from Major Freedom to invent the universe and have humans in it, if they never die in that universe? Even though paradise awaits them as soon as they die?

          • tom says:

            Eternal paradise could be granted with or without suffering.

            1. A child is molested
            2. A child is molested and then bought ice cream
            3. A child is bought ice cream

            your position is akin to saying that 2 and 3 are moral equivalents if the child likes ice cream enough. By maintaining this you are stating that there is no framework for gods actions on earth being determined evil or good. Therefore he cannot be considered using the same moral framework.

            The novel analogy is poor- we are not capable of creating sentient beings in this way and that is the distinction.

            • guest says:

              There’s not a separate moral standard for God, but as creator he can do what he wants with his creation.

              He doesn’t want his creation murdering each other (killing under certain circumstances may or may not be OK).

              His right to kill his creations has nothing to do with morality. He owns us.

              • Ken B says:

                Here’s the problem with that argument. What if he’s a bad god?

                Bob is after all making an argument he claims differs from the “god therefore good”. But if you want “creator therefore allowed” you need to defend that with an evil creator god too.

                Note some early christians DID belive in a evil creator god who made the physical world, trapping spirits into it. They did not argue he was permitted to cause suffering.

          • Major_Freedom says:

            “OK here’s when: When the first man created the second man and his entire universe, and no matter what happens to the second man, it’s the result of the creator. The closest thing we have to the relationship of God to us, is a human author to his characters. So even though Stephen King kills a cute little kid in the first chapter of It, that’s not immoral in the same way as if he killed a kid who wasn’t in his novel.”

            I meant a real world example Murphy. In other words, an example that can possibly exist in the real world. Fictional books like It aren’t good enough.

            “I understand your comeback, but again, you’re not really attempting to answer my challenge. Are you saying we have to be immortal or else God is a murderer? That He only has permission from Major Freedom to invent the universe and have humans in it, if they never die in that universe? Even though paradise awaits them as soon as they die?”

            Once again, this is what you have to answer. YOU said that there is only one morality for both God and Man. I challenged you to prove an example of where it would be moral for man to do what God does, such as kill defenseless babies, or 45 year olds with cancer.

            To answer your question, I do not believe in God, I am talking about your conception of God. In your conception, yes, God is a murderer, because people are killed by God, in your view, for whatever reason. Well, I am taking that argument and asking you if you believe it would be moral for a man to kill another man the way God kills men.

  11. Rick says:

    I take a slightly different approach to the concept of God and Job. I mesh some of my Christian (Catholic) beliefs with Eastern views. I’m not a strict Catholic, let alone Christian. The religion itself rarely makes sense, it’s the concept that matters.

    Along these lines, God did nothing wrong for a very simple reason. Without bad, the concept of good is meaningless. Yin/Yang, Karma, call it what you will.

    God’s choice in harming Job and his family was based on a simple fact – He knew Job intimately, his every thought and action. He knew Job could not possible turn his back on his God or his faith for a simple act of nature or benefit/loss. While God is behind every action, God’s choice is not set in stone, let alone something which is done in a deterministic fashion. God can, and does, do as He sees fit, which is usually nothing at all. When you do something good, it usually appears you did nothing at all. That is the beauty of God.

    Evil requires action, and that action must be done to achieve a specific intent, usually to one’s own benefit, though sometimes evil is performed because one is looking out for ‘the good of all’, or at least the good of all as one perceives it.

    In this case, was God’s evil because he took action? Again, no, because He was not looking out for the good of Himself, nor anyone else. He was making a point, with full knowledge of the fact that Job would come out ahead in the end (as indeed he did).

    The Book of Job is a book which is meant to show that bad things can happen to good people, that nothing in life is ever assured, and that if you can accept the bad with trust and faith, you can accept the good with humility and grace. In some sense, it’s meant to show evil is often a mystery, though I’d argue it’s only mysterious because we refuse to accept that sometimes bad things aren’t ‘evil’ at all, just the course of nature, and we seek to place blame where often we shouldn’t.

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