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Featured Resource. Closing points…. If we are going to fight for joy, we must… Choose to know God Actively cultivate gratitude Revise our view of suffering. Closing points….
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Featured Resource Closing points… If we are going to fight for joy, we must…
  • Choose to know God
  • Actively cultivate gratitude
  • Revise our view of suffering
  • Closing points…
  • James 1:2-4 -- 2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
  • If we are going to fight for joy, we must…
  • Choose to know God
  • Actively cultivate gratitude
  • Revise our view of suffering
  • The problem of suffering Job 1 & 2 We all want to have joy. What is the problem? (theodicy) An apparent contradiction among 3 propositions:
  • God is all-loving (God would eliminate evil).
  • God is all-powerful (God could eliminate evil).
  • Evil exists (God does noteliminate evil).
  • Our path forward through Job
  • Today-The Problem of Suffering(Job 1-2)
  • Next Week - Our Responses to Suffering(Job 3-37)
  • May 12 - God’s Response to Suffering(Job 38-42)
  • Job 1 1 There was a man in the country of Uz named Job. He was a man of perfect integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters. 3 His estate included 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very large number of servants. Job was the greatest man among all the people of the east. Job 1 4 His sons used to take turns having banquets at their homes. They would send an invitation to their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 Whenever a round of banqueting was over, Job would send for his children and purify them, rising early in the morning to offer burnt offerings for all of them. For Job thought: Perhaps my children have sinned, having cursed God in their hearts. This was Job’s regular practice. Job 1 6 One day the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord asked Satan, “Where have you come from?” “From roaming through the earth,” Satan answered Him, “and walking around on it.” 8Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.” Job 1 9 Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing?10 Haven’t You placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out Your hand and strike everything he owns, and he will surely curse You to Your face.” Job 1 12 “Very well,” the Lord told Satan, “everything he owns is in your power. However, you must not lay a hand on Job himself.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence. Job 1 13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and reported: “While the oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing nearby, 15 the Sabeans swooped down and took them away. They struck down the servants with the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you!” Job 1 16 He was still speaking when another messenger came and reported: “A lightning storm struck from heaven. It burned up the sheep and the servants and devoured them, and I alone have escaped to tell you!” Job 1 17 That messenger was still speaking when yet another came and reported: “The Chaldeans formed three bands, made a raid on the camels, and took them away. They struck down the servants with the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you!” Job 1 18 He was still speaking when another messenger came and reported: “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house. 19 Suddenly a powerful wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on the young people so that they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you!” Job 1 20 Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, 21 saying: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh. 22 Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything. Job 2 1 One day the sons of God came again to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before the Lord. 2 The Lord asked Satan, “Where have you come from?” “From roaming through the earth,” Satan answered Him, “and walking around on it.” Job 2 3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil. He still retains his integrity, even though you incited Me against him, to destroy him without just cause.” Job 2 4 “Skin for skin!” Satan answered the Lord. “A man will give up everything he owns in exchange for his life. 5 But stretch out Your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse You to Your face.” Job 2 6 “Very well,” the Lord told Satan, “he is in your power; only spare his life.” 7 So Satan left the Lord’s presence and infected Job with terrible boils from the sole of his foot to the top of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself while he sat among the ashes. Job 2 9 His wife said to him, “Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 “You speak as a foolish woman speaks,” he told her. “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Throughout all this Job did not sin in what he said. Job 2 11 Now when Job’s three friends—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite—heard about all this adversity that had happened to him, each of them came from his home. They met together to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they looked from a distance, they could barely recognize him. They wept aloud, and each man tore his robe and threw dust into the air and on his head. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him seven days and nights, but no one spoke a word to him because they saw that his suffering was very intense. Purpose & Themes Presenting issue – The suffering of the “righteous”
  • Is there a moral order in the universe?
  • What is the source and purpose of evil?
  • Who is Satan and how does he relate to our world?
  • “Why do ‘bad’ things happen to ‘good’ people?” Larger issue & purpose – An investigation of the problem of divine justice
  • Purpose & Themes Presenting issue – The suffering of the “righteous”
  • Is there a moral order in the universe?
  • What is the source and purpose of evil?
  • Who is Satan and how does he relate to our world?
  • “Why do ‘bad’ things happen to ‘good’ people?” Larger issue & purpose – An investigation of the problem of divine justice
  • This book is an exploration and refutation of the traditional theology of the day which claimed, “If you are righteous, then you will be blessed with visible, material blessing & a life free from troubles!”
  • Key Characters Job – a godly man struggling throughout the book to reconcile his beliefs with his current circumstances… Job’s friends– representatives of various strands of traditional ways of thinking who insisted on applying their rigid system to Job’s specific situation. Key Characters Job’s wife– representative of the path of despair. Satan– the chief antagonist of God and God’s people…though he is not yet in full fury of NT. God– the overseer of all events & the One who is ultimately on trial…and the One who cares for Job. Key Characters The Readers - It is important to note that none of the human characters in the story has full knowledge of what is going on or knowledge of why events are allowed to happen. Main responses to the problem Atheism – an all-good and all-powerful God must not exist b/c He could destroy all pointless evil and would want to destroy all pointless evil, but does not.
  • Assumption – “If evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless!”
  • Assumption – “If God is God, he’s not good. If God is good, he’s not God. You can’t have it both ways…”
  • Main responses to the problem
  • Keller – “If you have a God great and transcendent enough to be mad at because he hasn’t stopped evil and suffering in the world, then you have (at the same moment) a God great and transcendent enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue that you can’t know. Indeed, you can’t have it both ways.”
  • Atheism – an all-good and all-powerful God must not exist b/c He could destroy all pointless evil and would want to destroy all pointless evil, but does not.
  • If evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless!
  • ‘If God is God, he’s not good. If God is good, he’s not God. You can’t have it both ways…
  • Main responses to the problem
  • C.S. Lewis – “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of ‘just’ and ‘unjust’? . . . What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? . . . Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too – for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies . . . Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple.”
  • Atheism – an all-good and all-powerful God must not exist b/c He could destroy all pointless evil and would want to destroy all pointless evil, but does not.
  • If evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless!
  • ‘If God is God, he’s not good. If God is good, he’s not God. You can’t have it both ways…
  • Main responses to the problem Atheism – an all-good and all-powerful God must not exist b/c He could destroy all pointless evil and would want to destroy all pointless evil, but does not.
  • If evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless!
  • ‘If God is God, he’s not good. If God is good, he’s not God. You can’t have it both ways…
  • In other words, with whom are atheists so angry?
  • Main responses to the problem Atheism – an all-good and all-powerful God must not exist b/c He could destroy all pointless evil and would want to destroy all pointless evil, but does not.
  • If evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless!
  • ‘If God is God, he’s not good. If God is good, he’s not God. You can’t have it both ways…
  • Freud’s description of life that rejects the spiritual worldview – “They will have to admit to themselves the full extent of their helplessness . . . they can no longer be the centre of the creation, no longer the object of the tender care on the part of the beneficient Providence . . . And, as for the great necessities of Fate, against which there is no help, they will learn to endure them with resignation.”
  • Main responses to the problem Theism – there is a good God behind all that is going on…and even current evil and suffering will be redeemed in the end … 5 Theistic Alternatives
  • God could have created nothing at all.
  • God could have created only beings who were not free.
  • 5 Theistic Alternatives
  • God could have created nothing at all.
  • God could have created only beings who were not free.
  • 5 Theistic Alternatives
  • God could have created nothing at all.
  • God could have created only beings who were not free.
  • God could have created beings who were free to sin but did not sin.
  • God could have created beings who were free but must sin.
  • God could have created beings who were free to sin and did sin.
  • Clarifying some terms Omnipotence (popular) = power to do anything or everything
  • This biblical concept does not mean God can do anything
  • Omnipotence rightly means the power to do all that is intrinsically possible. Happiness and Love= it is loving to give someone whatever they think will make them happy
  • Lewis – “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
  • One benefit of suffering… How will we realize there is no joy on our own and return to God?
  • Lewis– “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
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