bible blog 1408

This blog offers a meditation on the Common Lectionary daily readings along with a headline from world news:


Peace party denounces further settlements

Peace party denounces further settlements


12 Job said to his friends:

You think you are so great,
with all the answers.
But I know as much as you do,
and so does everyone else.
I have always lived right,
and God answered my prayers;
now friends make fun of me.
It’s easy to condemn
those who are suffering,
when you have no troubles.
Robbers and other godless people
live safely at home
and say,
“God is in our hands!”
If you want to learn,
then go and ask
the wild animals and the birds,
the flowers and the fish.
Any of them can tell you
what the Lord has done.
Every living creature
is in the hands of God.

Arms Dealers: God is in our hands

Arms Dealers: God is in our hands

THis is a further expansion of Job’s refusal to listen to pious excuses for what he calls God’s injustice. The superior wisdom of those who have no troubles irritates him. He feels there is malice behind their correct speeches. It’s easy for unscrupulous successful people to imagine that God’s on their side.

But Job is not an unbeliever. Indeed he takes the doctrine of creation with ultimate seriousness. All creatures bear witness that God is the creator; therefore all creatures are witnesses for the prosecution of God for allowing wicked people to flourish and good people to suffer. He won’t depart from his faith in the creator God: if God is the creator, he determines the state of the world.

The author is turning the faith of his own tradition against itself. “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the LOrd is One!” IF there is one God who creates the universe, Job’s bitter questions are justified. The whole drama of Job turns on the belief that God is the sole creator. Because it subjects this belief to persistent questioning, it eventually reveals that even those like Job, who imagine they know what “the Creator should do” have failed to take the teaching seriously enough. They have imagined that the universe is like a nation and God like its Governor. But that lazy assumption is exploded by any true imagination of the Creator. Job’s easy reference to his fellow creatures will get its comeuppance at the climax of the drama.

This book is helpful today when faith in a creator is widely derided. Its aim is to deride conventional images of God which derive from lazy faith but it can also reveal how lazy many atheist arguments are.

The other day Richard Dawkins expressed his view that in order to mimimize human suffering, Down’s Syndrome foetuses should be aborted. Doubtless he would use the existence of such foetuses as an argument against the existence of a benign creator God. For him they are just painful accidents which can be eliminated. Clearly he has given no serious attention to the view that these “accidental beings” along with the human skills required to help them flourish, as well as to understand, remedy or prevent their condition, may be as important in God’s creative process as so-called “healthy” children.

Faith in a creator God, which incorporates the discoveries of the sciences and does not turn its eyes away from the real state of the world, can be a profound source of ecological justice and human dignity in our time. It deserves clearer exposition by Christian educators.

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