Monday, April 09, 2012

What to do with more data

"If God is a combination of divergent attributes and is a cause of misfortune, why does Job not reject him? What had Job known of God in his former happy state? He had known him as one who confers order and good. Basking in his light, Job’s life had been suffused with blessings (29:2–5). No later evidence to the contrary could wipe out Job’s knowledge of God’s benignity gained from personal experience. Job calls that former knowledge of God a “hearing,” while his latter knowledge, earned through suffering, is a “seeing” (42:5); that is, the latter knowledge gained about God is to the former as seeing is to hearing—far more comprehensive and adequate. Formerly, Job had only a limited notion of God’s nature—as a benign, constructive factor in his life, “good” in terms of human morality. At that time, any evidence that ran against this conception of God was peripheral: it lay outside Job’s focus. He assumed that it too could somehow be contained in his view of the divine moral order, but nothing pressed him to look the uncongenial facts in the face.

“But misfortune moved the periphery into the center, and the perplexity that ensued is a testimony to Job’s piety, for he was not transformed by senseless misfortune into a scoffer—a denier of God—but, instead, he was thrown into confusion. His experience of God in good times had left on him an indelible conviction of God’s goodness that clashed with the new, equally strong evidence of God’s enmity. Though one contradicted the other, Job experienced both as the work of God, and did not forget the first (as did his wife) when the second overtook him.”—Jewish Bible Theology, page 226

<idle musing>
Interesting idea. So often when we encounter something that doesn't line up with our ideas, we either throw it out—or throw out the old ideas. Job takes them both into account—an excellent role model in that respect.
</idle musing>

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