Monday, October 12, 2009

An Offensive God

The God portrayed in the book of Job is problematic.

This God makes deals with Satan. He allows a righteous man to suffer tremendously through the loss of his whole family, all his possessions, and even his own health. In fact, he not only allows it. It seems God almost encourages this process to take place, dangling Job out in front of Satan like some kind of bait by saying "Have you considered my servant Job?" This is anything but a comfortable image of God. It offends our sense of justice. What kind of God is this who invites affliction upon the most righteous and faithful of his servants? Its not exactly this God that we have in mind when we think of proclaiming the gospel to the world. Its not exactly the kind of God I really want to preach about. Its not the kind of God that I want to think about as I go to visit a dear friend and saint in the hospital who is suffering. Is God simply testing her as he tested Job? And if so, how can I love a God who would be so capricious with his people?

God's answer? It comes in Job 38 -41. The short version: I am God and you are not.

It's not exactly satisfying or comforting. In all honesty, its still offensive. In fact, its a kind of non-answer that changes the question that is being asked. We ask whether or not God is righteous and just. God asks who we are to ask that question.

I believe that God is just in all he does and that he cares deeply about seeing justice done in our world and that one day he will recreate this world in full accordance with his righteousness. But even as important as justice and righteousness are to the character of God, they do not exhaust the mystery of God. God will not be held captive or boxed in by any concept or definition, not even ones as important as justice and righteousness.

No comments: