bible blog 1416

Job 38 CEV – The LORD SpeaksFrom Out of a Storm – Bible Gateway

NOTE TO READERS FOLLOWING THE LECTIONARY: I have decided to skip to Saurday’s reading and those that follow, leaving out most of chapters 34-37 of Job which simply repeat what’s already been said.

FACE TO FACE WITH SATURN’S NORTH POLE  

From NASA Cassini

From NASA Cassini

Job 38 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

The Lord Speaks

From Out of a Storm

38 From out of a storm,
    the Lord said to Job:
Why do you talk so much
    when you know so little?
Now get ready to face me!
Can you answer
    the questions I ask?
How did I lay the foundation
for the earth?
    Were you there?
Doubtless you know who decided
    its length and width.
What supports the foundation?
Who placed the cornerstone,
    while morning stars sang,
    and angels rejoiced?

When the ocean was born,
    I set its boundaries
and wrapped it in blankets
    of thickest fog.
10 Then I built a wall around it,
    locked the gates, 11 and said,
“Your powerful waves stop here!
    They can go no farther.”

Did You Ever Tell the Sun To Rise?

12 Did you ever tell the sun to rise?
    And did it obey?
13 Did it take hold of the earth
and shake out the wicked
    like dust from a rug?
14 Early dawn outlines the hills
like stitches on clothing
    or sketches on clay.
15 But its light is too much
for those who are evil,
    and their power is broken.

16 Job, have you ever walked
    on the ocean floor?
17 Have you seen the gate
    to the world of the dead?
18 And how large is the earth?
    Tell me, if you know!

Daybreak on Mars

Daybreak on Mars

The author depicts God doing the traditional thing of speaking out of a storm as He did to Moses. This identifies Him as the God of Sinai, the God of Israel, the giver of the Torah. In other words the author insists that he’s dealing with the One God whom Israel worships as the Creator. This is not a new God but a new understanding of God. Job has accused the Creator God of injustice and demanded a hearing. Now he gets a reply that evens things up: he has questioned God; now God questions Job, who has imagined he has enough understanding to judge God’s management

The terrible questions now undermine Job’s certainty. How do you create a world? How do you anchor it in the primeval ocean? How do you orgainse the sunlight which exposes the landscape and its inhabitants? Can you dive under the ocean, walk on its floor, explore the land of the dead? The author’s cosmology is different from ours, but the force of his questions is undiminished. From what we do know about the universe, we can glimpse the huge amount we don’t and can’t know. If with our present sciences we undertsand something of cosmic evolution and a bit more about the evolution of life on earth, can we even begin to imagine the wisdom of its Creator? 

The book of Job does not support theories of intelligent design because these reduce the work of creation to something that fits human prejudice. When the Lord speaks, that is, when the Lord ceases to be just the object of a religious tradition and becomes the active subject of his own creative action, the believer realises that the word “create”, taken from the work of human fabricators, is only a pointer to the nature of God and not a definition. We know what it is to make a pot, but what is it to make a universe?

How does this sort of revelation take place? It’s not some kind of mystical experience for Job. He has pushed his questions and now suddenly he is pushed by a savagely sarcastic, questioning presence-“Were you there? Doubtless you know?” Atheists will say that Job experiences the realty of the universe, which dissolves his certainties, and there’s an important truth there. God’s questions in this drama come from the author’s capacity to imagine the extent of the universe and the strangeness of its life. But the author does not see this as simply human knowledge. Rather he makes God speak to Job through his creation, which is an active process, full of energy, mastery and wisdom. God is a mystery, not because you can say nothing about Him but precisely because you can say,” He is the creator of the universe.”

Spiral Galaxy

Spiral Galaxy

The language of the drama tells us one more crucial truth about the creator: he/she delights in creation and in creative process, just like any creative worker. This delight of God is also found in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 1, at the baptism of Jesus, “You are my son, the beloved. I am delighted with you.” Christians believe that God’s delight in Jesus extends to all creatures. Jewish faith has always found this delight in the first chapter of Genesis, “And God saw it, that it was good.”

The fierce joy of the Creator is the theme of these last chapters of Job.

 

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