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This paper seeks to determine whether people of the modern world inhabit an immoral, amoral, or moral universe in relation to Job’s readings. The book of Job provides a mythic backdrop for an extended discussion concerning human suffering in the aspect of either a moral or amoral universe. In the end, the deity answers the suffering of the protagonist in a voice from the whirlwind. This paper will evaluate this revelation – theophany as an answer to Job. It will see provide an insight on whether this theophany offers a theodicy. Further in the paper, we will discuss whether Job gets a satisfactory answer to his suffering. In the first part of the paper, we will have an overview of the Job readings and understand his suffering.
Job is a wealthy man, a servant of God who lives in Uz with his lovely family and wide-ranging flocks. Job is always careful to avoid doing evil as the readings describe him as a blameless and upright servant of God. As job continues with his daily undertakings, serving the Lord, Satan appears before God in heaven and God shows off to Satan about his servant Job. Satan disputes God’s claims concerning Job’s goodness and says that Job only does well because God has blessed him plentifully. Satan dares God to give him a chance to castigate Job and see how quickly he will curse God for his problems. God gives Satan the permission to do this but refrains Satan from taking Job’s life in the process. The first torment Satan unleashes on Job is destroying his family and his livestock. This he does in one day and Job gets four messages all of which tell him about the loss of his livestock, servants, and children. This devastates Job; he tears his clothes, shaves his hair in mourning, and prays to God. Surprisingly he continues to praise God in his prayers.
Satan still feels that more torment will make Job curse God and, therefore, badly affects Job with atrocious skin sores. At this point, he does not understand why Job does not rebuke God and encourages him to let go off his devotion to God and die. Job does not heed to this. Instead he continues to glorify God and struggles to accept his situation. In his mourning his three friends - Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar come to console him and sit with him for seven days without talking. On the seventh day Job starts a conversation with each of his friends cursing the day of his birth contrasting life and death in terms of light and darkness. He regrets being born. Eliphaz speaks to Job reminding him of how he used to comfort those who were suffering. His friend speculates that Job’s torments are due to something wrong he did and advises him to confess to God. They say that Job’s children caused their own death. These accusations disappoint Job and he calls his friends worthless physicians.
In the process, Job thinks about God’s relationship with people and speculates why God judges people by their deeds and asks whether God can forgive man’s behavior. Job admits that he does understand this relationship as God is unseen and man does not have a way of explaining himself to God. He asks God to send him death immediately. Job’s friends do not agree with his reasoning and think that his questions are crafty, and he does not respect God. However, despite this entire Job maintains his faith. Later on in his sufferings, Job becomes impatient, scared and sarcastic and grieves over the injustice of God. He resolves to persevere in pursuing wisdom by avoiding evil and fearing God.
At some point, Job’s friend, Elihu tells him of his observations on how God communicates with humans. He claims the two ways in which God communicates to humans - through vision and physical pain. Physical pain gives the sufferer a chance to realize God’s mercy and love when the suffering ends and concludes that Job’s extreme talking is an act of rebellion against God.
Finally, God comes in calling from a whirlwind and advising Job to remain brave and answer his questions. They are rhetorical questions meant to show Job that he knows little about creation and the power that God has. God’s description of his aspects of creation overwhelms Job and he recognizes God’s boundless power and confesses the limitations of his human knowledge. Job’s response gratifies God and Job requests him to forgive his friends whom God was upset with for their unsound advice. The book ends with God reinstating Job’s health, doubling his properties, giving him new children, and a tremendously long life.
The dialogue between Job and his friends gives a clear indication of the questions human beings ask about their suffering. To human suffering is either in the moral or amoral context. Moral universe refers to a universe that relates to principles of right and wrong behavior. From the book of Job, we see the questions human beings ask about their lives mostly relating their suffering to wrongdoing or ungrateful behavior. Human beings in suffering will wish to see and confront about their suffering with an intention of explaining their behaviors. We see Job wishing he could see God and understand why he is suffering because he believed he was blameless before God’s eyes. All his friends believe that Job’s suffering is caused by his wrongdoings , and that he could only avoid suffering by admitting his mistakes. In the end, we see God responding to Job as a voice from the whirlwind.
In this section of the paper, we evaluate the revelation that Job gets as an answer from God. This revelation is in the form of a theophany, which means a demonstration of God in the Bible that is concrete to the human senses. In its restrictive sense, it refers to a visible manifestation of God in the Old Testament times, often, but not constantly in human form. The reason as to why Job submits humbly to God has been a subject of discussion with several people giving different explanations. The major reason as to why Job submits to God after all the suffering is God’s manifestation. One outstanding teaching from the book of Job is that God’s ways and purposes are unfathomable and mysterious and in most cases hidden from his creatures like human beings. In Job’s case, the revelations come in different ways but majorly as a voice responding to Job’s questions. In this voice, God explains to Job in detail contexts about his creation, and we know that God’s creations are everything in the universe. From animals to the plants to the human beings, God explains all these to Job in detail, and this makes Job realize that he knows almost nothing about God’s creation.
The creatures that God praises the most are two beasts the Leviathan and Behemoth. Through his questions, Job realizes that God has the power over everything. The voice and the things that God talks about to Job are a clear manifestation of God’s presence. No human being has the ability to do the things God has done and, therefore, Job has no reason for not believing God’s words. God’s creations are marveling starting with the human beings. Human being is in itself fascinating, and no one can explain their existence and thinking but God’s will. The question is whether this theophany offers theodicy.
Theodicy compacts with the issue of evil. In most cases, it is an attempt to show that it is possible to assert the omnipotence of God, the authenticity of evil without contradiction, and the love of God. In relation to theodicy, there is an argument about giving up the love or power of God because evil is real. If we give up the two, it means that God is powerless when it comes to evil or that God’s goodness will not overcome evil. Most theodicies try to explain that it is possible for both opinions of God to be present because God is loving and powerful and at the same time real evil exists in the world. It is evident in Job’s case that theophany offers theodicy. As much as Job suffers, it does not mean that God has stopped loving him and that God is powerless. This is the message Satan intends to pass to God that through suffering his servant will curse and disobey him. Despite his sufferings, Job continues to glorify God.
We see his friends and wife pushing him to the wall in attempts that Job should give up on his God. Satan inflicts several predicaments on him just for to give up and curse God but this does not. Although at some point Job questions about the relationship between God and Human beings, and when he gets no immediate response he continues to praise God. Job’s suffering is a clear expression of the presence of evil in the universe. God’s love is there as Job suffers, and this is through the other works of God. Therefore, God’s manifestation to Job through the whirlwind voice explains that even in suffering God’s love is still outstanding and that his power is paramount.
Does Job get a satisfactory answer? It is evident in the last part of the reading that Job gets a satisfactory answer as it says that Job submits to God, humbly. The manifestation of God to Job during his suffering enables him to iron out any doubts he had about God’s presence, power, and love. Through God’s detailed description of his creations, Job understands that his God is powerful and loving. Job questions God’s relationship with people and he does not understand the justice in letting the righteous man suffer while the evil one’s prosper. Job was a faithful servant of God who was blameless and did everything according to God’s wishes. He offered sacrifices, praised God’s name in everything he did, he was agreeable to people and had many friends who saw him as a role model. As Satan approaches God, he describes Job as a man who loves God because God has blessed him. God tells Satan that all over the world Job is the only righteous man and that he will never turn against him under whatever circumstances.
Job understands that suffering does not come because someone has done something wrong or because God is powerless over evil. From God’s theophany Job learns that suffering is a way of God making human beings realize that he loves them and that he has the power over their existence. Job’s friends disappoint God with their reasoning regarding Job’s suffering, and God wants to punish them. Job having gotten a clear understanding on how God operates seeks forgiveness from God on behalf of his friends. God gives Job every reason to believe in his power and love. In the end, God takes Job back his usual self and even makes him better. His properties double and God gives him children. This is a strong evidence of God’s power and love to Job, his friends, and the whole universe.
We now analyze whether, as human beings, we inhabit an immoral, amoral, or moral universe. A moral universe as seen earlier is one that abides to the principles and rules of God while amoral universe is one that abides by God’s teachings and rulings. From the reading of Job, it is evident that we dwell in an amoral and immoral universe. His friends believe that his sufferings are caused by something that he has done wrong to God. Human beings believe that the major reason as to why we suffer is wrong doings. The only explanation his friends and wife came up with for his suffering is that Job had done something evil. Job is equally tempted to think the same, although he does not recall anything he might have done wrong. He wishes he could see God and ask him questions about his suffering. He questions the relationship between God and man and wonders how man can explain some things to God.
Another noteworthy incident concerning the question why we dwell in an amoral universe is when Satan goes around the world and gets only one person who is righteous, and that is Job. This means that the whole universe is full of unrighteous people who will immediately give up in the moment of suffering. In addition, human beings relate suffering with evil doing and most of them will question God for their suffering. No human being takes suffering positively, and this makes us question God’s love and power. In the real sense, suffering is a way of God communicating to human beings, and as seen in Job’s case, it can be a way of reminding man of his immense love. Immoral leaving is whereby someone transgresses with the norms of society. This is evident in the universe, and this leads to people not trusting in the Lord’s love and power.
In conclusion, the reading of Job has many teachings, but the most significant teaching is that God’s power and love are limitless. This God’s love and power have been shown to Job in his suffering, but he was too blind to see until God spoke to him. Another lesson is that suffering is not an indication that God does not love us anymore or that he has no power over evil. It is one way of God reminding human beings that he is present in the universe and that he has the power over all creatures. From the Job reading, it is evident that the revelation of God’s power and love to Job was an answer to Job’s doubts and questions. It is clear that, through God’s revelations, human beings are able to understand and perceive God’s intentions. Finally, the reading indicates that we inhabit in an amoral and immoral universe with few righteous people. These few righteous people are prone to Satan’s temptations and will give up on God at the onset of any trouble or suffering and more so they will start cursing God. It is upon the human beings to live up to God’s will and be sure not to question God’s love, power, and wisdom.