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Old 09-08-2011, 02:18 PM   #38
OBW
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The following comes from a thread begun by awareness which sprung from another thread started by aron. Following are my thoughts on the comments with respect to post #100 in the “Lee and the book of Job” thread. While it will be easy to discover who wrote the post (if you don’t already know) my intent is not to speak to him only, but to the topic. I do refer to “you,” though it is not intended to elicit his specific response. But I have to talk to someone, even an imaginary “you.”
Quote:
The Book of Job is the problem of evil in parable form. Struck by evil, Job appeals to the God of justice. The God who answers is not the God of justice but the God of power. The God of justice is Ultimate Justice which we know as the moral law within our mind. It is the God of whom Paul says: "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." The God of power is the God of nature who is incompatible with the God of justice. The God of Power knows no morality. It includes chaos, evil and suffering. It asserts that it is not subject to questions from mortal creatures, including man and that it has absolute freedom over everything. Yet, because Job does not lose sight of the law of justice and morality, Job is on higher ground than the God of power. His question persists and poses a challenge to God. It is a question which the New Testament seeks to answer via the incarnation of God as a man who himself suffers evil.
First, I’m not sure that Job is parable, although that could be true.

And second, there are several comments that speak of incompatibility of two different Gods, or aspects of God. If this is a hidden way of saying that neither is God and there is no God, or even no god, or only gods, then don’t bother reading the rest because it does accept the philosophical existence of one God who is creator of everything. That is my religion. Some have a “it came from nothing and I don’t know why” religion. Or some other religion, including the “I just don’t care to think about it, I just don’t believe in a god” religion.

Otherwise, read on.
Quote:
Job appeals to the God of justice. The God who answers is not the God of justice but the God of power.
Job makes a case based on the assumption that he is being unfairly treated and essentially citing his righteousness. God responds that calamity is not necessarily about righteousness and evil. It is something that we all face. Yes, God has the wherewithal to demand, and get, justice — both against the evildoer and on behalf of the righteous. But the fact that there is calamity is not necessarily because there is justice being played-out, rightly or wrongly. It may be that there is simply calamity.

And on what basis does anyone command of God that he remove calamity? All calamity? All the way back to pre-fall conditions? (Of course with the retention of our modern-day conveniences.) God does not continually dole out bad karma. He simply removed some of the protection against evil and allowed it to run its course.

This is where the free will of man comes into play. Man had a choice in the beginning. He could remain in a pristine environment with protection from all possible calamity, or he could reach out and take the one thing commanded against — and bearing a consequence. The consequence was the limiting of the life of man, the release of restraint on the natural calamity that can be around us (flood, famine, wild animals, thorns, weeds, poisons, etc.) as well as on the effects of the evil that can be dreamed up in the hearts of men, with or without the help of Satan and his demons.

On what basis is this the result of God’s wrongdoing?
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The God of justice is Ultimate Justice which we know as the moral law within our mind.
Yes, there is a law within our minds. But is it correct to say that it is simply the “God of Justice”? On what basis do we conclude that the God of Justice is simply the law in our minds? That would mean that God’s justice is as limited in scope as the best that man can conjure-up on a good day. Surely you do not believe that God’s justice is that low.

But even if you do believe that, on what basis are you/we to conclude that this is a true statement?
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The God of power is the God of nature who is incompatible with the God of justice.
The God of power is the God of nature? Again, on what basis? Would you equate the seemingly unlimited power of the one who created something with the limited power inherent within that created thing?

What makes the God of power incompatible with the God of justice? Is it the presumption that power must be exerted at its maximum and Justice must be exerted at its maximum and it is clear that at their maximums they will overlap and be at odds? Then do you deny God the rational facilities to decide how to dole out his power and justice? Or do we demand that justice override power, therefore if someone needs justice and power shows up, then God must be deficient.

Do we demand that God be what we would have him to be? Would we refuse to pray that God make us to be what he would have us to be? Even if it meant a shortened life that demonstrated his very existence?

Quote:
The God of Power knows no morality.
A naked assertion. How do we conclude this unless the “God of Power” is simply not even in the same room with the “God of Love” or the “God of Justice.” And this can only be if we deny the very existence of the One God that is revealed in the Judaeo-Christian Bible. Since you read this far, then you should already accept that this God is presumed. So within this construct, how do you arrive at this schizophrenic God? One who has multiple personalities that are unaware of each other? That does not confer among himself to determine the correct solution within the construct of a created world in which there is somewhat of an intentional “hands-off” approach so that our free will can be allowed to operate.

I started to move on from this part. But I think that it is here that the crux of the issue is at work. God is morality. Every aspect of God operates within morality. And part of morality is the acceptance of the thoughts and actions of others. God allowed us free will. What is free will if it is immediately ignored to step in and stamp out the results of free will gone amok? You may argue that Job did not exercise free will in such a manner as to obtain the calamities that Satan was allowed to put on him. And yet Job has exercised his free will to determine that his lot in life is not the result of his wrongdoing, but something else. And that something else was not the morality, or lack thereof, of God.

And the existence of the calamity that befell him was the result of another’s free will (even if that other lived centuries before). And it was compounded by the author of evil in our environment, Satan, who exercised some kind of free will long before man first stretched out his hand in disobedience to God.
Quote:
Yet, because Job does not lose sight of the law of justice and morality, Job is on higher ground than the God of power. His question persists and poses a challenge to God. It is a question which the New Testament seeks to answer via the incarnation of God as a man who himself suffers evil.
This is most troubling. Job is on higher ground that the God of power? How do you say this? Because God does not simply step in in his justice and correct the evil that has befallen Job?

His question challenges God? Well, it would be at least somewhat correct to say that Job did challenge God. And God responded with his own challenge. Here is a shortened paraphrase of God’s response.

Would you discredit me? Can you begin to do anything that I have done or continue to do? Can you stretch out your hand and build and destroy? Punish and reward? Clothe yourself in spender? If so, then I will accept that you are an equal and can save yourself.

Oddly enough, before God even says this, Job has essentially slapped his hand over his mouth and said “Hush my mouth. I am a fool.”

Is that the man on the higher ground? Or the man who recognizes that he is on a small speck of dirt far below the realm of the God that made it all.

Last. I am not sure how it is concluded that Jesus is the answer to Job’s suffering of evil. That Jesus is the result of a seeking to answer Job’s question. That God steps back upon hearing Job’s complaint and ponders for a few centuries and manages to come up with Christ and his suffering.

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I have recently mentioned at least once, maybe more, the idea that there are two ways to look at God. The best way to state them is that we can either accept God and what that means for us, or we can dissect God and analyze the ways he relates to us.

In acceptance, God is the creator. He is the supplier and is far above us. And even in our calamities, we are comforted by his very existence even if we are not relieved of the calamity.

In dissecting, we bring God close and make him into thousands of propositions, attributes, etc. We study how those relate to us, and we seek to see them operate in relation to us.

And if we are not careful, we come to conclude that we can dictate or direct how they operate. Or we come to conclude that certain attributes are the keys and force everything to fit into that understanding. Like separating God into schizophrenic personalities of power, justice, love, etc., and demanding which one should be present and in what circumstances.

But in the end, we will do both. We will accept and we will study. But in our dissection and study we should always remember that we are focusing on minutia concerning something (someone) so vast that it is like trying to understand the ecosystem of North America by looking at a garden in someone’s back yard in upstate New York. Yes, we are told a lot about God through his Word as recorded in scripture. But it is not exhaustive. It is what we need for our life. And since we are not tasked with dealing with things outside our world of flesh and bones (other than to pray concerning the principalities and powers), we are not told everything. Just what we need.

So we should get to know our God. Know that he is power, justice, love, righteousness, grace, peace, and so much more. And we should be at peace to live this life under the care of the God that is the whole thing, not just a collection of things.

I’m never going to phrase it in a way that would be worthy of a book or a study of theology or philosophy.

And if the reason for the distress about God brought on by reading Job is related to real-life calamities for which there are no earthly answers and that do not seem to square up with what we think we know about God, then this whole thing is entirely too cerebral and heartless to even be considered. Another heartless and cerebral response to that would be to point out that the problem may be that we too often are so stuck on the overarching meaning of God’s attributes — like saying “God is love” and taking this to mean that anything that we wouldn’t consider an act of love to either be something from Satan, or evidence piling up that there is no God or that he really isn’t love. But too often it is the focus on the minutia concerning God rather than resting in the totality of God that is the problem.

I like those irrelevant Life study message titles that ZNP recently posted. Those are the result of focusing on minutia. They take us away from real life and from the experience of acts of grace, love, justice, righteousness, etc., in the midst of a fallen and sinful world and cause us to think for a moment that we have found the variant of minutia that will get the best stuff out of God. Then when it doesn’t pan out, since the bar was set so high, we either refuse to believe that God is real, or continue on trapped in our pride that will not let us admit we could have been wrong. That is how so many either hang on in the LRC in quiet desperation, or leave in a huff and go off the deep end. Fortunately those are not the only answers or possibilities. But they are too prevalent.
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Mike
I once thought I was. . . . but I may have been mistaken — Edge (with apologies)
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