Recent thoughts on Job...

Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
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mattrose
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Recent thoughts on Job...

Post by mattrose » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:54 pm

I've been struggling a bit with the book of Job (one of my favorite books)

Up until recently, I believed that Job (the man) was a historical person and that Job (the story) was literally true

I still believe the man was a historical person (though I don't see the point as particularly important)
And I still see the story as something that actually happened for the most part...

But I especially struggle with Job 1-2

To put it briefly, I believe Job lost all the things it says he lost in Job 1-2. And I believe Job and his friends discussed 'why' this happened. And I believe God spoke to Job, as is recorded near the end of the book.

But I struggle, specifically, with the idea that Satan requested specific permission to do specific things to Job.

I like to think (though I could be wrong) that God made the decision to create creatures and endow them with powers/authorities at the beginning of the world... and that some of those creatures fell (some angels and the humans)... and that they now use their God-given freedom to mis-use/abuse their power and authority.

In other words, I feel more comfortable with saying that God created a good angel that went bad at the beginning and is a renegade than I do with saying that Satan continually goes back to God for permission to do specifically terrible things. The latter doesn't resonate well with my understanding of God. It seems to render Him as someone who plays with us as pawns. The former view, to my mind at least, suggests that Satan does is just a consequence of God having created a free world.

It seems to me that it is only really Job 1-2 that paints this picture of God & Satan bantering about specific evils. And it seems quite possible to read Job 1-2 as a dramatic literary fiction meant to stress the point that there are things going on behind the scenes (Whether at the beginning or now) that we don't know about.

Just thinking out loud.... feel free to comment

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Paidion
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Post by Paidion » Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:28 pm

Matt, you wrote:But I struggle, specifically, with the idea that Satan requested specific permission to do specific things to Job.
Job is possibly the oldest book of the Old Testament. It seems that there was a development both in the understanding of God's character as well as Satan's.

For some reason, David felt that he had done wrong in numbering Israel.This seems odd, since it is recorded in 2 Samuel 24:1 that God incited him to do so.

Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go, number Israel and Judah."

However in 1 Chronicles 21:1 it is affirmed that SATAN incited David to number Israel.

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.

So who incited him? the LORD or Satan? To the ancient Israelites, it was the same thing because at that time Satan was considered to be an agent of God, and had to get permission from God in order to act. So when the book of Job was written, this was the view of Satan. He could not act independently from God. God used Him for His own purposes, but Satan could not perform evil acts on his own initiative.

However, later on, the perception was that Satan COULD do evil without permission from God, and therefore had to be resisted. This was the perception in Jesus' day as well as in the days of the early church that followed, and thereafter right to the present day.
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Post by mattrose » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:40 pm

Thanks Paidion... that is where I'm leaning as well

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steve
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Post by steve » Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:16 am

However, later on, the perception was that Satan COULD do evil without permission from God, and therefore had to be resisted. This was the perception in Jesus' day as well as in the days of the early church that followed, and thereafter right to the present day.
I would be fascinated to see any biblical evidence that the view of Jesus and the apostles was different from that represented in the Old Testament concerning Satan's inability to act without God's leave. The teaching that Satan's devices must be resisted is not in any kind of tension with the idea that Satan can only tempt when God allows it.

It was God that allowed Eve to be tempted (who else could it be who put her in the same garden with the serpent and the tree with the forbidden fruit?), yet it would be crazy to suggest that she was not required to resist Satan's temptation. Job himself passed the test when Satan intended to get him to curse God. Job successfully resisted that temptation. God also allowed Satan to tempt Jesus, but Jesus still had to resist Him. In fact, where do we ever read of a temptation that came upon people when God was not allowing it, and where they were not expected to resist it (cf., Deut.13:1-3; Judges 3:1-2)?

If Satan can act against us beyond that which God permits, then no one is safe (even though the Old and New Testament writers assure us that we can indeed be safe because God takes responsibility for of our security, giving us no reason to fear what adversaries (of any kind) may seek to do to us— Psalm 21:11; Psalm 34:7; Psalm 91; Isaiah 54:16-17; Matt.6:13; 10:29-31; Luke 10:19; Hebrews 13:6; 1 John 4:4; Rev.3:10).

James treated the story of Job as a faithful account, and one that is instructive to encourage the saints in his own day (James 5:11). It would seem misleading for James to tell his readers that they could take comfort in their afflictions by remembering how things had worked out for Job (how God had vindicated him), if James actually believed the story of Job was unreliable and presented an outdated conception of the sovereignty of God, which Christians could no longer endorse.

There is nothing in James' remarks (or elsewhere in scripture) that would give a hint that the New Testament writers had adopted a novel worldview contrary to that depicted in the Old Testament, including that which is presented in Job and 1 Chronicles 21:1. Evangelical scholars (and non-scholars, like myself) have never found any difficulty in harmonizing the Old Testament's picture of Satan's activity under God with any portion of New Testament scripture. Why would this suddenly become problematic in the 21st century?

Jesus Himself affirmed that Satan was still seeking permission from God to test God's people (Luke 22:31). In what way is this different from the picture given in Job 1 and 2?

Matthew, Mark and Luke—all of whom we might regard as men holding a view on such matters that was characteristic in the apostolic age—believed that Jesus was tempted by the specific will of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Matt.4:1; Mark 1:12; Luke 4:1).

Call me skittish, but I get nervous when I see Christians gratuitously changing the theology unambiguously presented in scripture, and justifying doing so by casting doubts upon biblical passages and doctrines that no New Testament writer ever disparaged. I fear God too much to go about rewriting or editing the books that Jesus and His apostles regarded as the Word of God.

Just my two cents.

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mattrose
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Post by mattrose » Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:09 am

Hello Steve :)

I have no problem with the 'allowed' language. I just think God's allowance was built into creation... not so much on a case by case basis.

I also agree with you that there are times when God intervenes to stop Satan from doing things (as with the Luke passage you mentioned).

I guess what I am not sure about is whether or not God says 'yes' to Satan on a case by case basis. I really don't see much evidence of this in Scripture. I think it is worth considering that this allowance was essentially a matter of the created order.

But I'm still thinking about it. Thanks for your input.

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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Post by robbyyoung » Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:32 am

Paidion wrote:
Matt, you wrote:But I struggle, specifically, with the idea that Satan requested specific permission to do specific things to Job.
Job is possibly the oldest book of the Old Testament. It seems that there was a development both in the understanding of God's character as well as Satan's.

For some reason, David felt that he had done wrong in numbering Israel.This seems odd, since it is recorded in 2 Samuel 24:1 that God incited him to do so.

Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go, number Israel and Judah."

However in 1 Chronicles 21:1 it is affirmed that SATAN incited David to number Israel.

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.

So who incited him? the LORD or Satan? To the ancient Israelites, it was the same thing because at that time Satan was considered to be an agent of God, and had to get permission from God in order to act. So when the book of Job was written, this was the view of Satan. He could not act independently from God. God used Him for His own purposes, but Satan could not perform evil acts on his own initiative.

However, later on, the perception was that Satan COULD do evil without permission from God, and therefore had to be resisted. This was the perception in Jesus' day as well as in the days of the early church that followed, and thereafter right to the present day.
Hi Paidion,

I believe we had this conversation before, but, I believe we should insist on getting the terminology correct. The Hebraic language is crystal clear that שָׂטָן or “satan” is best described as adversary or one who withstands, see H7854. God or “the angel of the Lord” sometimes acts in the role of “the adversary”, thus, this should raise a red flag when שָׂטָן – satan is discovered in the passage. For example, see Numbers 22:21-22; 32
So Balaam arose in the morning, and saddled his donkey and went with the leaders of Moab. BUT GOD was angry because he was going, and THE ANGEL OF THE LORD took his stand in the way as an ADVERSARY (שָׂטָן – satan, H7854) against him. Now he was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him. Numbers 22:21-22 NASB
The angel of the LORD said to him, "Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I HAVE COME out as an ADVERSARY (שָׂטָן – satan, H7854), because your way was contrary to me. Numbers 22:32 NASB
Thus, if most translators insist on inserting “he” or curiously “it” as God or the angel of the Lord in 2 Sam 24:1, then שָׂטָן – satan could be none other than the LORD in 1 Ch 21:1, by reason of our tentative precedence found in Numbers 21. See the following:
And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. 2 Sam 24:1 KJV
Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” 2 Sam 24:1 ESV
Now again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” 2 Sam 24:1 NASB
But…

Young’s Literal Translation helps us remove our bias towards the Hebraic term שָׂטָן – satan in order for us to see the continuity of the acting agent. In other words, we are looking for continuity that best describes the account. What we do know is that God was angry with Israel and judged them for it—through proxy of an adversary. But, “the adversary” was an act of God’s judgment on Israel; thus, God was the acting agent, and the adversary was under God’s direct control. Young’s translation does not emphasize one way or the other who, in fact, was the adversary; but, his actions was a direct cause of God’s anger against Israel. See YLT:
And the anger of Jehovah addeth to burn against Israel, and AN ADVERSARY (שָׂטָן – satan, H7854) moveth David about them, saying, 'Go, number Israel and Judah.' 2 Sam 24:1 YLT
And there standeth up AN ADVERSARY (שָׂטָן – satan, H7854) against Israel, and persuadeth David to number Israel, 2 Ch 21:1 YLT
Young is the only consistent translation that holds true to the correct terminology as well as defusing any contradictory statements regarding the account. Whomever “the adversary” was, YLT contends that the 2 passages (1 Ch & 2 Sam) speaks to the same שָׂטָן – satan, i.e., there is no contradictory statement outside of understanding the YLT.

So, the שָׂטָן – satan, against Job, asked God himself to strike or afflict Job. But, it was God who brought up Job in the first place, not the שָׂטָן – satan. Apparently, God was intent on trying Job's righteousness, and the שָׂטָן – satan was simply calling into action God's claims, consider the following:
The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates. Psa 11:5 NASB
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests hearts. Pro 17:3 NASB
Therefore, WE can be at liberty to question how God tries the heart, and so be it. But, Job clearly wasn't ignorant concerning who the acting agent was:
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He 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.” Job 1:20-21 NASB
So, was God intent on trying Job's righteousness? Was it going to happen one way or the other? For we now know that it was God all along.

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Paidion
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Post by Paidion » Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:14 pm

Robby, the word translated into English from either Hebrew or Greek means "adversary," as you have indicated. The word sometimes refers to the being whom we call "Satan" and whom many believe (including myself) to be a fallen angel. But at other times it refers to ANY adversary.

A prime example in the New Testament is found in Matt 16:23, where it is recorded that Jesus called Peter "Adversary" because he had said that it would never happen to Jesus that He would suffer and be killed and be raised to life again (vs 22). Unfortunately it is translated as if Jesus called Peter "Satan" (suggesting that he was that personal being known as "Satan." See the ESV translation below):

But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."

But in reality, He called Peter "Adversary."
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Post by Paidion » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:00 pm

Steve, I looked up the passages to which you referred in (Matt.4:1, Mark 1:12, and Luke 4:1). These do indeed seem to say that God led Jesus out into the desert with the purpose of being tempted by the devil, which suggests that God used the devil as a tool for accomplishing His purposes in His beloved Son, especially the verse in Mark, and the one in Luke.

The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. (Mark 1:12,13 ESV)

However, you stated, "Jesus Himself affirmed that Satan was still seeking permission from God to test God's people," and then referred to the following passage:

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. (Luke 22:31,31 ESV)

This doesn't sound at all as if Satan were seeking permission from God, but that he DEMANDED to have Peter. That sounds as if Satan were acting independently of God. If he had asked permission of God and God denied him, then it wouldn't have been necessary for Jesus to pray for Peter that his faith would not fail.

I began to think of all the other evil people in the world who act independently of God and work horrible evil in the world constantly, for example, those who beheaded Paul, and those who crucified Peter. Or do you think they couldn't have done that without getting permission from God to do it?
And how about the many martyrs in the early days of the church who were tortured to death, burnt at stake, etc. as well as the anabaptist martyrs who were tortured and killed in the middle ages by both Catholics and Protestants. Did God give his permission to these torturers and murderers to carry out their horrible acts? And what about our own time in which many little girls have been raped, tortured and killed? Were these vile deeds carried out with God's permission? If so, then it must have been God's will that these horrific acts took place. If this were true, then the implication is that no events can occur without them being God's will. However, if THAT were true, then the petition in the Lord's prayer would be meaningless, "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." For God's will would always be done on earth. To me, the position that God wills all events that occur, sounds a whole lot like Calvinism.
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Post by robbyyoung » Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:50 pm

Paidion wrote:Steve, I looked up the passages to which you referred in (Matt.4:1, Mark 1:12, and Luke 4:1). These do indeed seem to say that God led Jesus out into the desert with the purpose of being tempted by the devil, which suggests that God used the devil as a tool for accomplishing His purposes in His beloved Son, especially the verse in Mark, and the one in Luke.

The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. (Mark 1:12,13 ESV)

However, you stated, "Jesus Himself affirmed that Satan was still seeking permission from God to test God's people," and then referred to the following passage:

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. (Luke 22:31,31 ESV)

This doesn't sound at all as if Satan were seeking permission from God, but that he DEMANDED to have Peter. That sounds as if Satan were acting independently of God. If he had asked permission of God and God denied him, then it wouldn't have been necessary for Jesus to pray for Peter that his faith would not fail.
Hi Paidion,

I know this was for Steve, however, I must say that your work here presents a pretty weak argument. First of all, why should the word "demand" take precedent over "ask"? Again, see YLT:
And the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon, lo, the Adversary did ASK you for himself to sift as the wheat, and I besought for thee, that thy faith may not fail; and thou, when thou didst turn, strengthen thy brethren.' Luke 22:31-32 YLT
ἐξαιτέω - exaiteō G1809

I. to ask from, demand of
A. to ask or beg for one's self, to ask that one be given up to one from the power of another

B. in a good sense,
to beg one from another
ask for the pardon
the safety of some one

C. in a bad sense
for torture
for punishment

Why in the world would anyone consider substituting the obscure and out of place "demand" option over the "ask"?

Secondly, what makes you think God didn't give Peter over to be tested by "the adversary"? If you read the text, Jesus prayed that Peter's faith wouldn't fail, not that Peter shouldn't be tested. Nevertheless, Jesus' prayer worked, and Peter remained faithful in the end.

To summarize, "Satan" is not seen here to be acting independently of God, and Jesus seems to be praying that Peter's faith fail not during his testing period.

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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Post by Paidion » Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:30 pm

You may have a point, Robby, although 2 out of 3 lexicons that I consulted, gave the meaning of "εξαιτεομαι" only as "demand" and not "ask."
In my opinion, the best way to determine the meaning of a Greek word in the NT, is to examine how it is used in all instances. Unfortunately, this is the only verse in the New Testament in which the word is used.
Last edited by Paidion on Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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