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I have heard it commented that the book of Job shows that it’s Satan, not God who causes harm. So the last time I read through it, I kept track of all of the references to which person’s decision was behind what happened. Some of these references make explicit statements, and others are a more implied message.

I show them below. Did I miss* any?

Who Caused The Death And Suffering In Job

Ref. Who Inferance Text
Job 1:11 God Implied “But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”
Job 1:12 Satan Implied And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.”
Job 1:21 God Explicit The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away
Job 2:3 Satan Explicit “You incited me against him to destroy him”
Job 2:3 God Explicit “You incited me against him to destroy him”
Job 2:5 God Implied “But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.”
Job 2:6 Satan Implied And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”
Job 2:7 Satan Explicit So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
Job 2:10 God Implied “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”
Job 42:11 God Explicit And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him.

So, in summary . . .

Inference Satan God
Implied 2 3
Explicit 2 3

By the way, if you think I’m using a faulty hermeneutic, please let me know how you think it is faulty.

* For the record, there are several implications in the middle chapters that God did these things, but since they are intermixed with statements that show the speakers have a flawed understanding of reality, I have not included them here. Fair enough? In any case, it seems like no character in the story has any inkling that Satan was a part of what happened.

In case you’re curious, here is a list of other posts on my blogs which show a whole category of items from the Bible.

Some of you may be wondering what the password protected post below this post is about. It’s actually a place for very small group of bloggers with a reformed theology to discuss which questions we should ask Vox in our upcoming 5 question challenge.

In preparation for that, I’d like to present here seven preemptive answers to comments that are often made over at his blog when this question comes up.

1. No Human Mind can understand God, so why even try? – Or – You guys are trying to count the angels on the head of a pin – Or – Who Cares?

My Response: While it is true that God is beyond human understanding and comprehension, God has given us a great deal of information about himself in his Word. He obviously wants us to know some of the aspects of his reality. I believe this is so we will worship him more. Attempting to understand a little more and, yes, even debating these issues is of value. I believe that God wants us to do this.

2. According to Calvinists/Reformed theologians everything is ordained, so I’m just doing God’s will when I [do some annoying behavior]/[disagree with you]/[whatever we’re discussing].

My Response: First, this tiresome joke is very old and not really that clever (judging by the caliber of mind who posits it as something they think is funny.) Second, this shows a lack of understanding of our theology; We believe that you really make choices and you really are responsible for them.

3. Why do you call yourselves Calvinists? Didn’t you know that Calvin wasn’t that great a person (or) don’t you know the biblical passage about following Paul or Apollos?

My Response: “Calvinist” is largely a term applied to us by people who don’t agree with us. We are aware that Calvin was a seriously flawed person. Most of us would rather be called ‘reformed’, which, while it is a name that has it’s own vagueness and imperfection, carries less baggage.

4. Why are Calvinists/Open Theists/Arminians/[people of a certain theological bent that I disagree with] always so mean/hateful/stupid/arrogant/[censored]?

My Response: I want you to consider the possibility that you have this opinion because (1) the first person you met who was this kind of person behaved like that and they became your archetype that colors every other discussion you have, (2) you would disregard that negative behavior, or actually be impressed by it, if it was coupled with opinions you agreed with, or (3) you just don’t like being reminded that you might be wrong.

5. Why don’t both sides just think like me? I believe [belief that you think would radically alter the framework of the entire discussion].

My Response: I want you consider the possibility that many on both sides have considered this way of thinking and have determined that it is (1) wrong-minded or (2) irrelevant.

6. It’s very pompous of you to think that only people who think like you are part of the “elect”.

My Response: We don’t think that. We believe that the issue of salvation is much more important than this and being reformed/Calvinist doesn’t make you saved, nor does being an open theist believe make you unsaved.

7. Wow, my side beat your side so quickly! And so easily! And so obviously!

I want you consider the possibility that you are biased to see any bold statement by someone you agree with as a smack down of the other side, even when it’s not. Also, consider the idea that when you do this, people will think (perhaps correctly) that you are trying to color the argument by making it look like your side is winning.

8. What’s up with Nate?

My Response: I don’t know, man. I just don’ know.

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February 2012