I Have a Job for You


The Book of Job is a fascinating story, portraying a dialogue between a man and his friends over the concepts of God. Particularly, due to its inclusion in the Tanakh, the God YHWH.

Unfortunately, as infidels, we concentrate on the first two chapters, and the “bet” between God and Satan, while Christians primarily focus on the last five chapters, and God’s reply framed around “Who are you to question God?”

Occasionally we see a verse or two pulled out to defend the idea that dinosaurs walked with humans, or the pyramids were built by God. Often we overlook the rich exchange that happens between Job and his friends.


There is argument that the first two chapters and 42:7-16 were an addition to a much older tale, as the concept of Satan was not introduced until post-captivity. (Satan only makes one other historical appearance in the Tanakh—being David’s Census. 1 Chron. 21:1)

Regardless of the reason for the exchange, the bulk of the book comprises of Job interchanging with three friends over the concept of God. Let’s set the scene.

Job has had a set of personal tragedies that have led him to the point he wishes he was never born. Job 3:11. He gives out a long, whining speech, bemoaning his misery. Three friends respond; Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shulhite and Zophar the Naamathite reply in turn to Job.

(By the way, the next time you hear the phrase, “Job’s Comforters” as a negative reference, remember that the three friends sat with Job in complete silence for seven (7) days. Job 2:13. That takes a pretty good friend.)

After debating back and forth over what God does, God appears in Chapter 38. It is not exactly clear whether God talks solely to Job, or whether all four overhear and see what God says and demonstrates. However, in 42:7 God does speak directly to the three friends, saying:

“…God said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”

God reiterates again in 42:8 that the three friends had not spoken of God what is right, as Job has. In 42:9 it is indicated again that what Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shulhite and Zophar the Naamathite all said was incorrect.

Clear enough. What Job said about God was correct. What the three friends said was incorrect. But have you ever read the book of Job with the mindset that what Job was saying was right, and what the three friends said was wrong? How about a game of “Believer or Infidel” where we guess whether the statement about God was correctly made by a believer, or incorrectly made by an Infidel?

The rhetorical question: “Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?”

Made by an infidel. Job. 4:17. If God says this is wrong, is it true that humans CAN be more pure than God?

Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

Infidel. Job. 5:17

Why do you not forgive my sins?

Believer. Job 7:21. Interesting how many times we have discussed here the problem of God only forgiving some sins, or how atonement could be so incomplete. We are often told “Who are you to ask God, ‘Why?’” Yet that is exactly what Job did, and God found that acceptable!

If you will look to God and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place.

Infidel. Job. 8:5-6 Again, we have been informed by Christians that we can still turn to God. That we can still beg forgiveness for our inability to believe. Apparently according to God, all those believers are quite incorrect and should beg for forgiveness for saying such inaccurate statements about him. ‘Cause when Bildad the Shuhite said the same thing, God said it was wrong.

I will say to God: Do not condemn me, but tell me what charges you have against me. Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the schemes of the wicked?

Believer. Job. 10:2-3. (I’ll bet you are getting the hang of this Game!) Let’s see if I have this right—What Job says is correct. Job has the audacity to question why God condemns him. Therefore, it seems quite appropriate that we, too, even as infidels would be correct to ask God why he condemns us. Especially given the vast amounts of information that point to his non-existence.

God would seem to give the stamp of approval to us questioning his ways—including his methods of judgment! Remember THAT, next time we are told, “God does not have to answer to you.” According to Job, we are at least allowed to ask the question and it is appropriate.

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave—what can you know?

Infidel. Job 11:7-8. This has always intrigued me. Remember—God says that this statement about him is incorrect! Very, very often, when discussing God we are informed by Christians that some question, some problem is unknown—because we cannot know the ways of God.

Yeah, this is exactly what Zophar the Naamathite said, “God is too mysterious for you.” And God says that is wrong! So, if God says Zophar is wrong for saying it, are you? Dare a Christian ever revert to the “God is mysterious” defense, in light of Job 11:7-8?

If you devote your heart to him…if you put away the sin that is in your hand…then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.”

Infidel. Job 11: 13-15.

I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God.

Believer Job. 13:3

Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth condemns you, not mine; your own lips testify against you.

Infidel. Job 15:5-6

Are God’s consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you? Why has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash, so that you vent your rage against God and pout out such words from your mouth?

Infidel. Job. 15:11-13

We could go on for the next few chapters, but hopefully the point has been made. I strongly encourage you to read the book, noting who is speaking, and whether what they are saying is “correct” or not.

Now, I may be accused (perhaps with some justification) that I have picked out some problematic portions while others I have left on the table. The concern is that God (according to the author) fails to differentiate between what parts Job said were correct and what parts Job said were incorrect. Likewise with his three friends.

If the claim is made that only parts of what Job/Friends stated were correct and parts were incorrect, how do we come up with a methodology as to which are which, without relying upon a bias? In other words, claiming God approved certain words, simply because we desire God to approve those words.

So here is my question. It may take a bit of reading, but please read the portions of Job which record the statements made by Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. Chapters 4-5, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, and 25. What, exactly, did the three friends say which was incorrect about God? What was so wrong that God demanded a sacrifice for these horrible statements? I would suspect that any pastor could preach about God working from any of these chapters and not a single person would stand up and say, “Hey. Wait a Minute. What you are saying about God is wrong.”

What did the three friends say that was incorrect?

22 comments:

John M. said...

It is a straw man to push over Evangelical Christianity. Why don't you try taking a swing at some Roman Catholic teachings: the Pope, artificial contraception, seven Sacraments, the Eucharist, the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You will find these incredible to believe; but almost impossible to debunk. You also get a lot more reputable theologians writing about these topics for the last 2000 years. Not exactly what you can call a straw man.

DagoodS said...

Thank you, John M. for your comment. I wasn’t quite clear, though, as to your response to this particular blog entry. Can you clarify?

Are you saying that Roman Catholics agree with me that the Book of Job is not inspired?

s burgener said...

Thank you for calling my attention to this inconsistency. Your analysis calls attention to the fact that the later addition of the introduction and the post script were truly ad hoc without careful thought as to how they cohered with the rest of the story. The additions made by a deuteromonistic author does not cohere with the main body of the book of Job which questions the Deuteromonistic view of God. As it stands, it is a powerful argument for the human and non-divine authorship of this book.

Emanuel Goldstein said...

Since you believe there is no god and no satan, then the problem you present does not exist.

Now, I want to ask, are you concerned about the REAL HELLS that atheists have created and still create here on earth. Gulags, brainwashing camps, re-education, forced organ transfer, forced abortion...all still going on.

All carried out by practitoners of atheistic philosphies and atheists acting BECAUSE they want to eliminate religious belief.

The most glaring recent example is the Chinese attempt to enforce atheism on the Tibetans, in order to destroy their cultural identity.

So does this concern you?

Will you speak out against these actions by atheists.

YES OR NO.

If you refuse to answer, you are a exposed as a liar.

Steven Carr said...

These are comments that I have made in the past.

'Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave—what can you know?'

This is pretty much all that God says.

It is also worth noting that Job never once dreams that Satan is responsible for his ills, or that anybody other than God is responsible.

Job asks nothing more than for God to just leave him alone. Job says life is hard enough without a God on his back as well.

Job 10:20 'Are not my few days almost over? Turn away from me so I can have a moment's joy'

Job says that only by being separate from God can he find a moment's joy....

Job 14
5 Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.
6 So look away from him and let him alone, till he has put in his time like a hired man.

Job is basically telling God to **** off.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Goldstein: It is true that there are non-believers that have carried out atrocious acts, but so what? So have professed "believers". Net-net, religion makes very little difference in terms of making people "good" (read John Derbyshire's analysis at the National Review).

The references you made aren't really done with the intent of "wiping out religion", per se, but removing a group of people that are viewed as a threat to one's power. There's no remedy for this, so I, for one (I don't know about the writers here) don't know what you're suggesting. If these same folks became Christians (or whatever), they'd probably utilize their so-called "faith" to justify the same actions they committed before.

- James

DagoodS said...

Emanuel Goldstein,

Hmmm. Not exactly a response to the blog entry. Apparently, the only Christian comments I am getting are people that desire to vent about some other issue. Let’s see if I can bring it back.

According to Zophar the Naamathite, the wicked will fail, escape will elude them, and their hope will become a dying gasp. Job. 11:20.

But according to God, this is wrong. According to God, the wicked will not fail, their hope will continue.

If God desires the gulags, the organ transfers, the re-education, who are you to complain about them? I would think you should whole-heartedly support them!

My position? Perhaps some clarification. What is the difference between a gulag and Guantanamo detainee? What is the difference between brainwashing camps and church? Or Chinese atheists and Christian missionaries?

All a matter of perspective. Life is not so cut-and-dried.

Emanuel Goldstein said...

My response was exactly to the point.

YOU believe that god is imaginary, so the problem you are discussing does not exist.

But real atheist hells do exist...and still exist.

Those ARE real.

What are you going to do about it?

(Answer; evade and make excuses because you are a liar.)

DagoodS said...

Mr. Goldstein,

I see the confusion now. My blog entry was a question addressed to those who hold the Book of Job as part of the inspired word of God. You are quite correct. We atheists have no such problem with the Book of Job.

I should have started off the entry, “If you believe the Book of Job is inspired, I have a question for you. If you are persuaded there is no God, the answer will not be a problem for you.”

Perhaps I can clear up another confusion. You have now intoned (twice) that I am a liar. Can you please point out, using direct quotes from me where I deliberately made a false statement? I may be able to correct that as well.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hey guy!

I see you live in Michigan. In the southeast? If so, we should get together some time. I'm gonna meet Jon Curry for lunch one of these days. He lives about 20 miles from me. I'm in Melvindale, just south of Dearborn.

Anonymous said...

It seems this post is an attempt to debunk Judaism. I don't practice my faith through that tradition, but I love the drama of the stories found in the OT.
Gina

DagoodS said...

Gina,

As far as I know, Christians hold the Tanakh as inspired, as well as the New Testament. If Jesus was God; He was the one speaking in the Book of Job. If the God of the Book of Job was incorrect; Jesus was incorrect.

It is curious that this simple question has not been responded to—what is Jesus (God) saying the three friends stated incorrectly about him?

Anonymous said...

You do not yet fully understand me - you are in need of Messiah.

Gina

evanmay said...

DagoodS:

I've answered some of your questions here.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Dagoods,my post at 3:35 was to answer your query (although I think it was an astute observation on your part that you interpreted that God was trying to tell the 3 friends that they did not yet fully understand Him or were unable to correctly state/identify aspects of His deity). The overall OT message to me represents the promise of a Messiah in relationship to people who are seeking to know and understand deity.

The Believer game continues on for all of us - I have a friend who said when she was a child, she didn't want to bother God and ws timid in prayer because she was afraid He didn't have time for a little kid. Did she believe and pray to Jesus (who said let the children come to me) or was she praying to a false image of god created by her parents who made her feel as though she was a burden and neglected her?

Gina

Cole said...

Emanuel Goldstein,

Can't someone try to figure out what's going on in the book of Job without taking a stand on the human rights record of Communist China? Is it OK to read through the Acts of the Apostles or do I have to join the resistance to Lukashenka's regime in Belarus? Can a guy learn some koine Greek without taking on the massacre in Andijan?

And what exactly could a blogger do about it? Do you expect the headline "Human Rights Flourish in China Due to Blogger's Denunciation"?

Seriously, what the hell?

DagoodS said...

Thanks for the response, Evan May. I see a very difficult problem, though, that would need to be addressed, I think.

If I understand your argument, the three friends were correct in their theological statements about God, but incorrect in their application. They claimed that God would only inflict suffering on an individual in response to sin, and since Job was suffering he therefore must have sinned. You seem to be saying that God is not limited to inflicting suffering on solely the guilty, but equally may inflict suffering on the innocent.

However, your statement leaves this a bit muddled:

Evan May: To Bildad, it would be perverting justice for God to afflict the innocent. Therefore, Job must not be innocent. Notice that this is not only a false conclusion about Job, but a false premise about God. The statement itself is true: God doesn't pervert justice. But the premise and conclusion of Bildad's argument are incorrect. (emphasis in original)

This raises a fascinating window of discussion as to the limitation of God, if any, to respond to our actions. It would appear that I can perform a sinful act and God can choose to either punish me (justice) or absolve me (mercy.) I can perform a righteous act and God can choose to reward me, or inflict undeserved and unnecessary suffering. Simply put, there is no gauge or limitation on what God can do, regardless of the immorality or morality of an action. We are left with an arbitrary response.

As interesting as that conversation may be—sadly I do not see how we can reach that point. There are three problems to consider:

1. God says what the three said was incorrect about God, not Job. “For you have not spoken about Me what is right…” Job 42:7 If the three friends were accusing Job of sinning, and Job did not sin, the more obvious statement of God would have been, “You have not spoken about Job what is right. He is blameless before me. Apologize to him.”

Now, it would seem you are claiming what God was saying, at the conclusion, was, “What you have spoken about me is not right. I DO inflict suffering when there has been no sin. I DO have the ability to punish when there has been no sin.”

But this would appear to be a perversion of justice. According to what I quoted—what God does not do. The first question is why God wouldn’t have pointed out they offended Job—not God.

2) Elihu. The forgotten friend. In chapter 32, we are introduced to this Elihu. He is not mentioned before, makes a long speech, and is not mentioned again. God never refers to him, favorably or unfavorably. He is not one of the three.

However, Elihu accuses Job (repeatedly) of sinning:

Look, in this you (Job) are not righteous. I will answer you, For God is greater than man. Job 33:12

For He (God) repays man according to his work, And makes man to find a reward according to his way. Job 34:11

For he (Job) adds rebellion to his sin; He (Job) claps his hands among us, And multiplies his words against God." Job 34:37

But you (Job) are filled with the judgment due the wicked; Judgment and justice take hold of you. Job 36:17

If God was angry with Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar (Job 42:7) to the point they were required to sacrifice (Job 42:8) for accusing Job of sinning, as this apologetic claims—why did Elihu get the pass? I agree the three insinuate that Job has sinned (although they do acknowledge the possibility he has not (Job 8:20-22)) but Elihu comes right out and accuses Job of sinning. No “if”s, “and”s or “but”s about it!

This makes no sense. Look, if what Elihu said about God was correct, it is plausible that God would simply ignore it. If what the three said about God was incorrect by accusing Job of sinning, to the point that God was angry and called them on it—it is completely implausible that God would ignore Elihu who went far beyond the same type of accusation.

One way (Elihu is correct) falls in line. The other (Elihu was incorrect) requires further explanation as to why God ignored him.

3) Job repents. “Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:6

If Job didn’t sin, what is he repenting of? (Before one claims this is nit-picking, I would note how many times it has been claimed to me that David’s census must have been a sin, despite the ordering of Census taking by Mosaic law, for this exact same reason—that he repented.)

Note the order. Job 1—Job is blameless. Job 2—Job is blameless. At the end of Job 2, the friends have made no accusation. But at the very beginning of Job 3, Job curses the day he was born. He complains. He whines. Only after this, did the friends address him. Job subsequently repents.

The biggest problem with this apologetic (as I see it) is that Job Did sin! By admission of Job’s own mouth! (Remember, God says that Job speaks correctly! Job 42:7)

Therefore, how can it be incorrect for them to accuse him of sinning, when it is correct for him to admit sinning?

I see that as a difficult, perhaps insurmountable problem, to this defense.

(Note: Posted simultaneously on Debunking Christianity and Triablogue.)

evanmay said...

DagoodS:

I've responded to your comment back at T-blog.

DBULL said...

So Dagoods, your argument is that the book of Job was not inspired? If the Lord inspired men to write the conversations of men who are imperfect, does that mean God is imperfect?

DagoodS said...

Evan May,

Thank you for the continuing discussion. There are many intriguing paths in which we could tangent only too easily. I will attempt to stay “on subject” here, and only touch them without digging too much further.

Unfortunately, I see that I need to backtrack a bit first. You indicate that the sin the three friends are accusing Job is living a “hypocritical life of sin.” While I do agree that the three friends are accusing Job of sinning, it is not clear that it is this hypocrisy you claim.

You support the claim it is a hypocritical life of sin, first with Eliphaz’s statement of Job 4:5-8 in which Eliphaz indicates, “Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope?” Is Eliphaz saying this rhetorically, mockingly, or sincerely? Difficult to tell. However, Eliphaz continues and affirms that “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” Job 5:17

Eliphaz goes on to state that, after this correction, God will deliver a person from troubles. Eliphaz recommends Job take his cause to God. Job 5:8

This is remarkably similar to Elihu’s statements. Statements which you intone are in line with God. In fact, I am left puzzling as to the difference.

Evan May: To Elihu, Job’s suffering wasn’t wrathful judgment, but loving discipline:

It was with Eliphaz’s original statement, as well. Again, though, God appears to give tacit approval toward Elihu, but condemns Eliphaz.

You go on, to support the claim of a hypocritical life of sin, with Bildad’s statement of “Does God subvert judgment? Or does the Almighty pervert justice?... If you were pure and upright, Surely now He would awake for you, And prosper your rightful dwelling place.” Job 8:3-6

Thus, you indicate (and as I quoted before):

Evan May: To Bildad, it would be perverting justice for God to afflict the innocent. Therefore, Job must not be innocent. Notice that this is not only a false conclusion about Job, but a false premise about God.

But Elihu, who you commend, Says the exact same thing!

“Let us choose justice for ourselves; Let us know among ourselves what is good, For Job has said, 'I am righteous, But God has taken away my justice; should I lie concerning my right? My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression’….Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding: Far be it from God to do wickedness, And from the Almighty to commit iniquity. For He repays man according to his work, And makes man to find a reward according to his way. Surely God will never do wickedly, Nor will the Almighty pervert justice.” Job 34:4-12

Isn’t Elihu saying EXACTLY what Bildad said—in that God repays the wicked with suffering, which is just? And even states the God explicitly repays a human for their work.

Finally, in this apologetic that the three friends were accusing Job of a hypocritical life of sin, you end with Zophar’s statement of Job 11:4-5 of “You say to God, 'My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.' Oh how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you"

But what does Zophar continue to say? He goes on to wish that God would show Job secrets of wisdom. Because Job (or any other human) is not able to search out the mysteries and knowledge of God. They are higher than heaven, deeper than Sheol and more than the earth encompasses. Job 11:6-9.

Zophar is most certainly NOT claiming to have a “direct channel into the mind of God” (your words) but left it a mystery.

Again, I agree that the three friends believe that Job has sinned at one time. (He is human, after all—is that not a safe thing to say of us all?) But I do not see a specific sin that the three friends claimed he was hiding. They did not accuse him of being gay.

With that backtrack in hand, now to (finally) proceed forward.

Evan May: Elihu doesn’t accuse Job of some secret sin that God is judging. Rather, he builds upon the presupposition that Job is a sinner and thus needs God’s merciful disciplining in order to keep him from sin. (emphasis in original)

I found the distinction between Elihu vs. the three friends a bit of hair-splitting. (Sorry) Elihu does accuse Job of a sin, secret or otherwise. I pointed it out in my first comment, but I can do it again here. Every statement is by Elihu:

”For he (Job) adds rebellion to his sin; He (Job) claps his hands among us, And multiplies his words against God." Job 34:37

”But you (Job) are filled with the judgment due the wicked; Judgment and justice take hold of you.” Job 36:17

“Look, in this you (Job) are not righteous. I will answer you, For God is greater than man.” Job 33:12

”For He (God) repays man according to his work, And makes man to find a reward according to his way.” Job 34:11

I guess I am not seeing the difference you indicate between Elihu and the three friends. Couldn’t these statements be the exact same as those of the other three?

Further, you indicate that Elihu was claiming that God was using this suffering to keep Job from sinning. For this you rely upon Job 33:29-30, talking of turning a man from the pit three times. However, if you look at the verses immediately preceding them the human speaks of being “restored” to righteousness. Not maintaining it. The human speaks “I have sinned” not “I almost sinned.” Job 33:26-27. These verses, read in context, actually support my contention that Elihu was saying the same thing as the other three friends—you sin, justice is a punishment of suffering.

Although Job does refer, in Chapter 42, to speaking of things he did not understand, and repenting for that, previously, way back in Chapter 7, he refers to sins and offenses he has committed. He questions as to whether he sinned or not. (Job 7:20-21) Job indicates that if he has not sinned, this suffering is not justice. (Job 27:2)

What is different about Elihu’s statements and Job’s statements as compared to his friends?

Evan May: What were Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar saying about God in claiming that Job sinned? What was Elihu saying about God? (emphasis in original)

These are GREAT questions, which I think will bring into sharp focus the difference between what we are saying. I will let the reader decide as to which is the more viable path.

Me: “In claiming that Job sinned, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar were saying that God punishes the wicked.”
You: (I think) : “In claiming that Job sinned, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar were saying that God was punishing Job.”

The difference? You take this specific example, and limit it to ONLY this incident. I take this specific example and generalize it to a broad principle.

(Note: I would obviously say the Elihu said the exact same thing about God/Job. You would indicate that Elihu (incorrectly as it turns out) was saying that Job did not sin. But he had, because he repented.)

The entire book of Job, including God, Job, the three friends, and Elihu all universally agree that God was deliberately causing Job to suffer. All agree that God, in utilizing his justice, will punish wickedness with suffering. All agree that Job (at some point) sinned. Although not stated in Job, I think you would agree that all humans are sinners.

So what is the heinous crime to make the natural conclusion that God (who certain DOES cause suffering as punishment for wicked people), caused suffering for Job (who certain DID sin, at least at one time)? And remember, Job and Elihu came to the same conclusion yet God did not claim they were incorrect. Quite the opposite, as to Job. We have the same statements made by the same individuals and we have:

Eliphaz: Incorrect. Burn 7 bulls and 7 rams
Bildad: Incorrect. Burn 7 bulls and 7 rams
Zophar: Incorrect. Burn 7 bulls and 7 rams
Elihu: No comment, although we both seem to agree tacit approval by God.
Job: Correct.

They all say the same thing as this apologetic claims—that Job was suffering because of punishment for some sin! I cannot see how this aligns.

I guess I am also questioning whether you would continue with this principle in real life? Or do you claim this was only an isolated incident, with Job, and that Christians are allowed to accuse others of sinning today. Because they are not Job.

The reason I ask, is that when we discussed deceit and apostates, the basis for allowing deceit was numerous examples from the Bible. The methodology was that use of examples derived general principles. Now, under this apologetic, we have another example. The apologetic claims that God condemned a person (the three) for claiming that another person (Job) was suffering as punishment for sin. Is it limited to just Job. Or would people, now, be equally prohibited from doing so?

Can Christians no longer claim that individual suffering comes from individual sin?

(Posted on Debunking Christianity and Triablogue)

DagoodS said...

DBULL, it should come as no surprise, of course, that the evidence persuades me the book of Job is not inspired.

Really, though, I wondered more how a Christian can explain God saying what the three said was “incorrect.” Much of what they say, we hear from Christians all the time. Not the least of which—“God is mysterious.” Why would God say that is incorrect?

DBULL: If the Lord inspired men to write the conversations of men who are imperfect, does that mean God is imperfect?

Good question. The question I have never seen a consistent methodology to is: If God inspired humans to write the conversations of humans who are imperfect AND humans simply write the conversations of humans who are imperfect—how do we tell the difference?

In other words—given a string of words, by what consistent method can we determine whether those words are inspired or not?

knerd said...

Job's sin was piety. God's answer (correction?) to this sin was the lengthy treatise on natural history which makes up the lion's share of the Book of Job.

The beauty of this unique biblical book is found in its striking metaphor and profound poetry. It hits the reader from "out of the whirlwind." It is not some lines from a pastor's Sunday homily. Because of this, it is not propostional theology. It is closer to the aphorisms and parables of Jesus rather than the literal rigors of, say, Leviticus.