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Three different times in the last six months I have been in theological discussions in which the person with Armenian viewpoint has pointed to the book of Job as excellent evidence that God doesn’t cause bad things to happen. “God isn’t behind the evil that happens to Job – Satan is. Anyone who says that God ordains evil (like Augustine, for example) is blaspheming.”
They don’t even have to point to any verses. Everyone knows the story of Job. It’s good enough to just throw out the book’s name as iron clad proof of their cause.
I have gained a new appreciation for Job in the last few years, especially last fall when I read it out loud to all of my kids. There is a lot of good and helpful theology there.
And after a little study, I can’t see how a God-Isn’t-Behind-Evil person could put forth Job as a good proof text, assuming they have actually read it somewhat carefully. But it’s great for a God-is-Sovereign type.
But they suggest I look there. Okay. I did. How about Chapter 1 verse 21 where Job (a pretty righteous guy) says “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised”
Or How about chapter 2 verse 10 where Job says “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?”
What’s that, Job might be wrong? That’s the challenge with the whole book of Job, isn’t it? Much is said by several different people and we know that some of them are way off. But the inspired writer helps us out with Job, because it says at the end of 2:10 that Job didn’t sin in what he said.
But maybe he’s not sinning, maybe he’s just wrong, you say. Well, how about where the inspired writer of Job in chapter 42 (the last) where, in verse 11, it says that Job’s family comforted him “over all the trouble the Lord had brought upon him.”
And then there is the large part just before that section (chapters 38-41) where God lists all of the different things on earth (some of them quite dark) that he displays his power by controlling?
I wonder if Augustine had just read the book of Job when he wrote that stuff the Armenians don’t like.
The hyper-compatibleist in me is grateful that the book of Job exists. Both God and Satan are behind what happens to Job. Yes, this supports that position well.