Monday, June 04, 2007

An Open Letter to the Author of a Book

In the midst of my parent's struggles (see next post), I began reading a book about Job. I was disappointed with how many people get the issue of God's Sovereignty over evil messed up. The greatest encouragement I have is that I hope in a Sovereign God who rules over Satan and evil. What do you think about this?

Dear (Name hidden to protect privacy),

I was very happy to receive your free book about Job, when the Dulous ship with OM visited Japan this week. I am a missionary, so it is very nice to see resources and help come to Japan. Thank you for this free resource.

While I was happy to receive this book, there was one major question I had with the book. On page 25, you quote Job 1:21-22 (which is one of my favorite verses) but give it a completely different exposition of it than I have ever heard.

The verse says, "He (Job) said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.' Through all of this Job did not sin nor did he blame God." (Emphasis mine)

Correctly you state, "Job did not grumble, murmur or blame God at this stage. Instead, he worshiped God in the midst of intense suffering. This is something very remarkable." I say AMEN to that. However, the next part I really cannot understand. "In spite of the fact that he WRONGLY (my emphasis) thought that God had taken away so much of what was precious to him,..." This text SPECIFICALLY says the opposite namely "Job did not sin nor did he blame God." Basically Job was saying, "God has the right to give and to take away", to which the inspired author does NOT say, "Job sinned and blamed God.", but to stop US from saying this, he specifically says the exactly the opposite!

Indirectly, God certainly did take much away from Job. God has this right and does no wrong in doing it. Just as 1 Cor. 4:7 says, "What do you have that you have not received" and James 4:13 says, "If the Lords WILLS we will live..." Cannot the LORD take what is his (like life and health) at anytime and still be perfectly righteous? Everything belongs to Him. Satan always plays right into God's plans, (Gen. 50:20, 2 Cor. 12:7) , but was not God behind all of Job's sufferings? Did he owe Job a pain free life? Does He owe anyone a pain-free life?

Things got even harder to follow when I got to the next page (26). You quote Job 2:9-10, "Then his wife said to him, 'Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!' But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?' In all this Job did not sin with his lips." (Again, emphasis is mine.)

Instead of affirming the inspired biblical text here you go on to say, "He mistakenly thought that God was the one who was afflicting him." How can you make this inference from this verse? Nowhere does it say that Job made a mistake in this statement - in fact it says the opposite again! The inspired biblical author is clearly affirming Job when he says that we should accept adversity from God as normal and right. It does not say that we should only think Satan is behind evil and adversity. God is completely sovereign over this the whole way from first to last! Although Satan is real and must be considered, we do have a Sovereign God whom we can COMPLETELY rely on in any and every situation. His hands are never tied. If what you were saying is true, wouldn't this would controvert all of Scripture in its affirmation that God rules over all? (Is. 46:9-11 etc.)

Obviously, I would agree that God DOES no evil, however He certainly is Sovereign over it. (Gen 50:20) and has wise and holy purposes in it.

Please respond as I am very curious as to your answers,
Thank you.


Vitamin Z said...

Yeah, people who say that God does not cause evil in some sense, I have to ask what Bible they are reading...

For a great treatment of these issues see D.A. Carson's "How Long O Lord?" Best book on suffering I have ever read. Great stuff.

Mark and Maki said...

Thanks Z, I will check that out!