Making Sense Of Evil And Suffering In God’s Universe Part One: Atheism

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

Quotation For Contemplation 

“I now found it relatively easy to accept the concept of a good God who could solve troubles and problems. There had to be good, because I had looked into the eyes of evil. There had to be a God, because I had held hands with the devil.” (William J. Murray, My Life Without God: His Mother Had School Banned And Raised Him As An Atheist…But God Had Other Plans, 270 (Kindle Edition); Washington, DC; WND Books)

Questions For Contemplation 

Are there good reasons to believe that there is a God? 

How can any suffering be called “evil” unless there is first a standard of goodness by which the evil is judged? 

What are some lessons that the Book of Job teaches about atheism?

A Very Important Topic 

 One of the great questions that the Book of Job grapples with is the subject of evil and suffering.

Where is God when we suffer?

Is the Lord indifferent to our struggles?

Is He to blame for the pain in this world?

Several passages in Job bear out these questions: 

Job 3:11 (CEV)-Why didn’t I die at birth?

Job 3:20 (CEV)-Why does God let me live when life is miserable and so bitter?

 My personal favorite passage from Job along these lines is found in Job 7:

Job 7:1 (CEV)-Why is life so hard? Why do we suffer?

 Other great Bible heroes asked similar questions throughout their lives, and especially during times of heartache and trial.

Examples include Gideon (Judges 6:12-13), Moses (Exodus 5:22), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 4:10; 5:19; 9:12; 12:1-4), and Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1:-4).

One of the greatest Psalms in the Bible is written by Asaph who declared: 

Psalm 73:2-5-2 (CEV)- But I almost stumbled and fell, 3 because it made me jealous to see proud and evil people and to watch them prosper. 4 They never have to suffer, they stay healthy, 5 and they don’t have troubles like everyone else.  

 These great Bible characters unite together and give voice to questions that all people in the world have struggled with.  

 Since we are carefully investigating the subject of evil and suffering in our study of the Book of Job, we need to consider whether or not atheism provides a logical explanation of these matters.

 The atheist is one who claims to know that God does not exist.

While there is no evidence that Job himself struggled with the belief that there is not a God, this does not mean that the Book of Job does not teach us some very important lessons about this worldview.

The very struggle of Job (the questions of faith in the midst of his trials) bear witness to the fact that suffering is far more than a physical ailment.

The ageless questions, “Why do we suffer?” and “Is there any meaning to my pain?” testify to the reality of God and of His plans. Job’s encouragement to his friends to consider how the created world bears witness to the Creator (Job 12:7-10), Elihu’s defense of God’s goodness and righteousness (Job 32-37), and the incredibly advanced scientific foreknowledge that the patriarch displays (cf. Job 26:7; 28:24-27; 38:12-14, 16, 19, 24, etc.) all speak directly to the subjects of atheism and unbelief.  

 Before we examine the atheist position on evil, pain, and suffering, let’s survey some of the problems of atheism in general.  

Atheism Is Irrational 

 Atheism attempts to defend what is known as a universal negative.

Basically, in order to prove atheism true, an atheist would first have to become God.

The atheist would have to be omniscient (all-knowing) to prove his allegation that there is no God; for the very thing which he did not know could be the proof that God exists.

The atheist would likewise have to be omnipresent (existing in all places at once); for the very place in which he was not present could contain the evidence which shows that there is a God.

Finally, the atheist would need to be omnipotent (all-powerful) in order to exercise his omniscience and omnipresence.  

 Thus, the atheist must become God in order to KNOW that God does not exist. This is one reason why atheism is (and always will be) irrational and unprovable.  

Atheism Is Unscientific

 The laws of science clearly demonstrate that there is a Creator of the universe. Furthermore, these laws show us that this Creator is identical with the God revealed through the Bible. Consider two examples of scientific laws which point to the existence of God: the First and Second Laws Of Thermodynamics.   

“”Not everyone welcomed the Big Bang concept, some disliking the idea that the universe had a beginning because it strongly implied a supernatural creation. In 1948 Sir Fred Hoyle helped to formulate the ‘steady-state’ theory. This maintained that the universe was infinite and eternal and that the entire cosmic process was kept in balance as matter simply sprang into existence out of nothing at a regular rate to replace the matter which had ‘died’ through expansion. The biggest problem with this view is that it violates the First Law of Thermodynamics, sometimes known as the law of conservation of mass and energy. This fundamental law, which Isaac Asimov called ‘the most powerful and most fundamental generalization about the universe that scientists have ever been able to make’,24 states that matter and energy can neither be self-created nor destroyed…The First Law of Thermodynamics clearly supports the idea that an expanding universe must have had a beginning but could not have created itself. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that any isolated physical system becomes less ordered and more random over time, provides another piece for the cosmic jigsaw. Applied very simply and generally, it means that our entire universe is running down. As the rotation of the planets and their moons slows down, and as stars (and whole galaxies) burn themselves out, the matter in our universe is becoming more and more disorganized as its energy is dissipated. The logical consequence of this is that the universe cannot be eternal. If it were, the stars would have ceased to shine long ago and all the energy in our universe would have long since been evenly spread throughout space. At the same time, this suggests that if the universe is becoming less ordered, it must have been more ordered in the past, and have had a highly ordered beginning.” (John Blanchard, Does God Believe In Atheists? 5601-5620 (Kindle Edition); Carlisle, PA; EP Books USA)   

 So the First Law of Thermodynamics states that anything which begins to exist can be neither self-created or destroyed. In other words, something cannot create itself, and in its’ “destruction” it merely changes form.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics shows that the universe has not always existed (for if it had always been here, all of the energy in the universe would be used up by now), and therefore it had a beginning.

Since the universe must have had a beginning (and a highly ordered beginning at that), and since it could not have created itself, then logically it must have been created.
This is indeed, strong evidence from science that God exists.   

 In fact, several scientists have pointed out that these facts show that there is a God.

For example: 

“Using the clock analogy again, the further back in time, the more wound up the clock. Far enough back in time, the clock was completely wound up. The universe therefore cannot be infinitely old. One can only conclude that the universe had a beginning, and that beginning had to have been caused by someone or something operating outside of the known laws of thermodynamics. Is this scientific proof for the existence of a creator God? I think so. Evolutionary theories of the universe cannot counteract the above arguments for the existence of God.” (John M. Cimbala, ‘Mechanical Engineering,’ in John F. Ashton, PhD, In Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose To Believe In Creation, 3021-3026 (Kindle Edition); Green Forest, AR; Master Books) 

“In a stunning confirmation of the book of Genesis, modern scientists have discovered that the universe was created in a primordial explosion of energy and light. Not only did the universe have a beginning in space and time, but the origin of the universe was also a beginning for space and time. Space and time did not exist prior to the universe….The story begins about a century ago, as scientists began to look for evidence that our universe—not just our planet or our galaxy but all the matter that exists—had a beginning. The reason for the search is that one of the most universal laws of physics, the second law of thermodynamics, predicts such a beginning. The law simply states that, left to themselves, things break down. We see this all around us: highways and buildings decay and collapse, people age and die, metals rust, fabrics become threadbare, rocks and coastlines suffer erosion…..Scientists use the term entropy as a measure of the level of disorder, and the second law shows that the total entropy in the universe is continually increasing. The second law has a startling implication. Consider the example of the sun. As time passes its fuel reserves decline, so that eventually the sun will run out of heat and go cold. But this means the fires of the sun must have been ignited at some point. The sun has not been burning forever. And this is also true of other stars. They too are gradually burning out, suggesting that they too were set aflame some time ago. As the great English astronomer Arthur Eddington once put it, if the universe can be compared to a clock, the fact that the clock is continually running down leads to the conclusion that there was a time when the clock was fully wound up. The universe originated with its full supply of energy and that is the fund that has been dissipating ever since. These facts were known as far back as the eighteenth century, but scientists didn’t know what to make of them….Scientists call the starting moment of the universe a “singularity,” an original point at which neither space nor time nor scientific laws are in effect. Nothing can be known scientifically about what came before such a point. Indeed the term before has no meaning since time itself did not exist “prior to” the singularity. Once upon a time there was no time. Jastrow’s implication was that such concepts, which border on the metaphysical, give scientists a very queasy feeling. If the universe was produced outside the laws of physics, then its origin satisfies the basic definition of the term miracle. This term gives scientists the heebie-jeebies….Many attributes of the creator remain unknown or hidden, but there are some conclusions that we can reasonably draw from what we know. As the universe was produced by a creative act, it is reasonable to infer that it was produced by some sort of mind. Mind is the origin of matter, and it is mind that produced matter, rather than the other way around. As the universe comprises the totality of nature, containing everything that is natural, its creator must necessarily be outside nature. As the creator used no natural laws or forces to create the universe, the creator is clearly supernatural. As space and time are within the universe, the creator is also outside space and time, which is to say, eternal. As the universe is material, the creator is immaterial, which is to say, spiritual. As the universe was created from nothing, the creator is incomprehensibly powerful or, as best as we can tell, omnipotent.” (Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? 116-126 (Kindle Edition); Washington, D.C.; Regnery Publishing Inc.)

 How amazing that the Bible testifies to these laws of science, and has done so long before they were discovered by modern man!  

Psalm 102:25-27-25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. 27 But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.

Hebrews 3:4-For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.

 Another thing which is truly fascinating is that these scientific laws declare to us not only that there is a God, but that He is identical with the God described in the Scriptures.

Speaking of the cosmological argument for God’s existence (which is based in part upon these laws of science), McDowell and Morrow inform us: 

“What the kalam reveals is that the universe was made and that someone made it. Further, the kalam helps narrow the range of possible causes to a being that is nonphysical, spaceless, timeless, changeless, and powerful: • If matter began to exist at the moment of creation, then the matter’s cause must be nonphysical, or spiritual. • Since space itself came into existence at the big bang, space’s cause must be spaceless. • Since time began at the moment of the big bang, time’s cause must be timeless. • Since change is a product of time, time’s cause must also be changeless. • Given the immensity of energy and matter that comprises the universe, energy and matter’s cause must be unimaginably inably powerful.” (Sean McDowell & Jonathan Morrow, Is God Just A Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised By The new Atheists, 78-79 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kregel Publications)  

Atheism And Evil/Suffering

 Many atheists have come to their denial of God due to an inability to harmonize the existence of God with the reality of evil, pain, and suffering. Having undergone some terrible experience or calamity in their lives, many unbelievers are unable to reconcile such suffering with the existence of an all-good and an all-powerful Being (I.e., God).

The alleged dilemma can perhaps be stated best through the words of the ancient philosopher Epicurus:

“God either wishes to take away evils and is unable; or he is able and unwilling; or he is neither willing nor able, or he is both willing and able. If he is willing and unable, he is feeble, which is not in accordance with the character of god; if he is able and unwilling, he is envious, which is equally at variance with god; if he is neither willing nor able, he is both envious and feeble, and therefore, not god; if he is both willing and able, which is alone suitable to god, from what source then are evils? or why does he not remove them?”

 On the surface, the argument of Epicurus seems air-tight; but when we start breaking it down, we see a very different story.  

Why Atheism Does Not Provide Adequate Answers To Evil And Suffering  

 First, the very fact that we are aware of and able to identity evil is a testament to the existence of God.

C.S. Lewis, famous former atheist turned defender of God, explains why this is the case: 

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. 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 fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless—I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality—namely my idea of justice—was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 38-39 (Kindle Edition); HarperCollins E-Books) 

 Whenever an atheist invokes evil and suffering as proof that there is no God, they first have to acknowledge that there is a moral standard or law which has been somehow violated.

Yet the very existence of this moral law points undeniably to the existence of the moral Lawgiver, I.e., God! This is one of the many reasons why atheism cannot account for the existence of evil, pain, and suffering. 

 One apologist, Jeff Vines, describes in one of his books a banquet he attended in which he was the honored guest (so to speak).

Arriving at the dinner, one of his hosts had the following dialogue with him: 

““So, Jeff, how can you believe in God with all the evil in this world!? Have you ever heard of the Holocaust? Stalin? Lenin? War? Starving children? Tsunamis? Earthquakes? Wake up, man! There is no God!”…I cleared my throat, gathered my thoughts, and looked toward Dan to ask him a question he was not expecting: “Dan, can you and I interact on this issue for a moment?” “What do you mean?” he responded. “Well, you have asked a great question, but I think the question itself needs to be analyzed. Would you help me with this issue?” Hesitantly, but confidently, Dan said, “Sure. What do you want?” “Well, first of all, once you admit that there is such a thing as ‘evil’ in the world, are you not also assuming that there is such a thing as ‘good’? 4 After all, how can anyone know the definition of ‘evil’ unless he knows the definition of ‘good’?”…The origin of the moral law within every human heart is perhaps one of the greatest objective proofs of God’s existence. No matter where you travel in this world, absolute moral law exists within every culture. Equally astounding is the fact that even in communist, war- torn countries where God has been thrown out of the public arena, the masses continue to live in testimony to His existence in private. In fact, people in communist countries possess a moral law that is astonishingly similar to those nations in which religion is not restricted, where God is alive and well….After hearing that ‘good’ and ‘evil’ as absolute categories can only exist if an absolute moral law is present to sustain them, I asked Dan if he knew anyone who had the knowledge and authority to give this absolute moral law to which all humanity must conform. “Well, it’s sure not the religious hypocrites of this world or people like you!” Dan responded in anger. In wholehearted agreement, I confirmed that all men were tainted by their finiteness and could not possibly give an absolute moral law under which the rest of humanity should live. Such absolute law could only originate from an absolute moral lawgiver. Only the creator and sustainer of all things would have the authority, knowledge, and power to implant within all creatures the ability to distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ What is most interesting is the fact that no matter where you go in the world, the basic understanding of right and wrong exists, and only when evil men set out to tarnish and corrode such understanding do the atrocities of our world occur.” (Jeff Vines, Dinner With Skeptics: Defending God In A World That Makes No Sense, 144-263 (Kindle Edition); College Press Publishing Company)

 This “moral law” was spoken of by the Apostle Paul as “the law written on the heart.”  

Romans 2:14-15 (ERV)-14 Those who are not Jews don’t have the law. But when they naturally do what the law commands without even knowing the law, then they are their own law. This is true even though they don’t have the written law.

15 They show that in their hearts they know what is right and wrong, the same as the law commands, and their consciences agree. Sometimes their thoughts tell them that they have done wrong, and this makes them guilty. And sometimes their thoughts tell them that they have done right, and this makes them not guilty.

 The fact that every culture has had such similar moral laws is powerful testimony to the existence of God.

Lewis wrote: 

“I know that some people say the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behaviour known to all men is unsound, because different civilisations and different ages have had quite different moralities. But this is not true. There have been differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own. Some of the evidence for this I have put together in the appendix of another book called The Abolition of Man; but for our present purpose I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to—whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or every one. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 5-6 (Kindle Edition); HarperCollins E-Books)  

 Another author, discussing near-death experiences, touched on this topic briefly: 

“NDErs commonly experience two things in the presence of this Being of Light: an overwhelming love and compassion, and a life review where this God of light emphasizes the impact of their actions on others….People commonly say, “All religions basically teach the same things.” There’s some truth to this. It’s actually uncanny how similar the moral laws are across cultures— in ancient China, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome; across Anglo- Saxon and American Indian culture; through Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, and Muslim sacred writings— all basically agree in this area. Former Oxford scholar C. S. Lewis gives evidence of this common moral law summarized below: Don’t do harm to another human by what you do or say (the Golden Rule). Honor your father and mother. Be kind toward brothers and sisters, children, and the elderly. Do not have sex with another person’s spouse. Be honest in all your dealings (don’t steal). Do not lie. Care for those weaker or less fortunate. Dying to self is the path to life. 10 In just about every culture and world religion since the beginning of recorded history, we see this common moral law. “They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts” (Romans 2:15 NLT).” (John Burke, Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, And The Exhilarating Future That Awaits You, 160-161 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books).  

Second, we need to consider the fact that the human response to suffering shows that there is something more to our pain than the idea that “we suffer simply because that’s the way it is in our materialistic universe.”

Think about it: if suffering is just part of the universe with no higher meaning,and if we had evolved from the universe (as atheists maintain), then why would suffering and death bother us?

Would we not simply accept it as part of reality and not give it a second thought?

As Lewis pointed out, if the universe had no real or higher meaning, we should never have become aware of that fact.

In the same way, if suffering were just part of the natural process of life and death, we should never be bothered by such.  

Third, we need to consider another way in which evil, pain, and suffering point to the existence of God.

In his interview with Lee Strobel, philosopher Peter Kreeft pointed out: 

“If there is no Creator and therefore no moment of creation, then everything is the result of evolution. If there was no beginning or first cause, then the universe must have always existed. That means the universe has been evolving for an infinite period of time—and, by now, everything should already be perfect. There would have been plenty of time for evolution to have finished and evil to have been vanquished. But there still is evil and suffering and imperfection—and that proves the atheist wrong about the universe.” (Peter Kreeft in Lee Strobel, The Case For Faith: A. Journalist Investigates The Toughest Objections To Faith, 34-35 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan) 

Finally, the inability of atheism to account for the existence of evil leads to a much deeper problem: how does the atheist deal with the existence of Good? 

“Why do people have such a strong sense of right and wrong? A system that operates on brute strength, genetic superiority, and the survival of the fittest can explain and justify racism, sexism, greed, selfishness, insensitivity, survival preoccupation, and even a certain amount of ruthlessness and oppression. But it cannot explain goodness, humility, compassion, and mercy. What should surprise atheists is not that powerful people sometimes crush those weaker than themselves, but that many make sacrifices to aid the weak or risk their lives for a stranger. If naturalism were an accurate worldview, the cruelty of abortion should characterize our society at every level. And yet we have children’s hospitals spending vast resources to help the terminally ill, we see Special Olympics for disabled children, and we find special parking everywhere for handicapped people. These are all shocking aberrations from the survival of the fittest, which would normally welcome the death of the weak, the diseased, and the disabled. So yes, this hurting world has truckloads of evil. But it also has boatloads of good. Where did all that goodness come from? If you argue that evil is evidence against God’s existence, you must also admit that good is evidence that God does exist.” (Randy Alcorn, If God Is Good: Why Do We Hurt? 30 (Kindle Edition); Multnomah Books)

Psalm 52:1-Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually.

Acts 14:17 (GW)-Yet, by doing good, he has given evidence of his existence. He gives you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons. He fills you with food and your lives with happiness.”

 Going back for a moment to Epicurus’ argument, we can see that if we restate it (taking into account the fact of God’s Nature that we learn from Creation and the Scriptures), we will learn that God is actually vindicated in this argument.

Norman Geisler powerfully elaborates: 

“”The argument against God from evil makes some arrogant assumptions. Just because evil is not destroyed right now does not mean that it never will be. The argument implies that if God hasn’t done anything as of today, then it won’t ever happen. But this assumes that the person making the argument has some inside information about the future. If we restate the argument to correct this oversight in temporal perspective, it turns out to be an argument that vindicates God. 1. If God is all-good, He will defeat evil. 2. If God is all-powerful, He can defeat evil. “3. Evil is not yet defeated. 4. Therefore, God can and will one day defeat evil. The very argument used against the existence of God turns out to be a vindication of God in the face of the problem of evil. …God isn’t finished yet. The final chapter has not been written. Apparently God would rather wrestle with our rebellious wills than to reign supreme over rocks and trees. Those who want a quicker resolution to the conflict will have to wait.” (Norman L. Geisler & Ronald M. Brooks, When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook On Christian Evidences, 64-65 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books) 

Conclusion 

 Atheism cannot adequately explain the existence of evil, pain and suffering.

Indeed, a careful review of the issues involved will inevitably point to the conclusion that there must be a God, and that any answers to suffering in His universe will only be found within Him and what He has revealed.  

 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  

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Introduction And Overview To The Book Of Job

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture citations are from the Contemporary English Version)

Questions For Consideration 

Why does God allow evil?  

When a person suffers, is it because God is punishing him?

Who is Satan?  

How are some of the ways that Satan works in the Earth? 

The Origin Of The Book Of Job 

 The Book of Job is probably the oldest Book in the Bible.

The Bible talks about Job as being a man who made sacrifices and intercession for his children (Job 1:1-5), although Job was clearly not a Levite (remembering that priests could only come from the tribe of Levi under the Old Testament Law-Hebrews 7;14). Further, the name of Job (as well as several of the other men and nations listed in his Book) is consistent with the names of many ancient Mesopotamian terms. These facts have led many to believe that Job predated the time of Moses.

Henry Morris tells us: 

“As noted above, its setting, structure, theme, and internal references correspond more to the early chapters of Genesis than to any other section of Scripture. This correlates beautifully with the fact that ancient Jewish tradition has always attributed it to Moses, not to some unknown dramatist of the Solomonic or exile periods. Furthermore, modern archaeological research supports the probability that Job’s author lived no later than the time of Moses, and probably much earlier. The name Job has been found in a number of tablets dated 2,000 B.C. (the time of Abraham) or earlier. These include Akkadian documents from Tel-el-Amarna, Mari, and Alalakh, and the Execration Texts from Egypt. The name “Bildad” has also been noted in a cuneiform text from this period. Finally, a number of Sumerian documents incorporate the literary motif of the righteous sufferer. None of these archaeological references should be taken as referring to the actual Biblical record, of course. Nevertheless, they do confirm the high probability that the biblical account was written sometime in the same general period. Writers of many centuries later could hardly have been aware of these archaeological data. The tradition of Mosaic authorship of Job should, therefore, be taken quite seriously, but in the same sense that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are ascribed to Moses. The events in both these records took place long before Moses’ time, so he would necessarily have to draw on earlier records. In the case of Genesis 1-11, the evidence is quite strong that tablets written by the ancient patriarchs were handed down from Adam to Noah to Shem and so on, finally to be compiled and edited by Moses.2 In somewhat the same fashion, Moses must have obtained the tablets recounting Job’s experiences, recognizing them as a supremely important revelation of God’s dealings with all men, even with those outside his covenant relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then, in the way he incorporated Genesis along with his personal writings in the other four books of the Pentateuch, he prepared the Book of Job for later generations of Israelites, who soon recognized it as inspired Scripture. As to when Moses did this, it is probable that he acquired the documents during his forty-year exile in Midian (Acts 7:23, 30), which is near Edom and Uz. It is possible that Moses met some of Job’s children or grandchildren during this time and persuaded them to part with the Joban tablets. From them, Moses could have learned more about God and perhaps more insight on the persecutions he and the people of Israel were experiencing. He also could have used them to instruct the Israelites later. He probably would not have had access at this time to the Genesis documents, which had been handed down through Jacob and were presumably in safekeeping in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were dwelling. Later he would see these and learn how beautifully they complemented the Book of Job. The above scenario is speculative, but it is more reasonable than the speculations of those who think Job was written many centuries after Moses. The firm Jewish tradition associating Moses with the Book of Job did not spring out of thin air.”” (Henry Morris, The Remarkable Record Of Job: The Ancient Wisdom, Scientific Accuracy, & Life-Changing Message Of An Amazing Book, 180-206 (Kindle Edition); Green Forest, AR; Master Books)

 The Book of Job is a Book about several topics, including spiritual warfare and the reasons behind evil, pain, and suffering.

It focuses on Job, a righteous man who endured great suffering, and whose three friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) proclaim that his suffering is the result of personal sin.

As such, the Book can be broken down into the following format: 

Prologue (Job 1-2)

Job Curses The Day Of His Birth And Wishes He Had Never Been Born (Job 3)

Eliphaz And Job Debate (Job 4-7)

Bildad And Job Debate (Job 8-10)

Zophar And Job Debate (Job 11-14)

Eliphaz Accuses Job Of Folly And Wickedness (Job 15)

Job Tells His Friends What He Thinks Of Their Words And Counsel (Job 16-17)

Bildad And Job Debate (Job 18-19)

Zophar And Job Debate (Job 20-21)

Eliphaz And Job Debate (Job 22-24)

Bildad Proclaims That Man Cannot Be Righteous (Job 25)

Job Reflects On The Power And Control Of God, His Innocence, And The Fate Of The Wicked (Job 26-27)

Job Reflects On The Wisdom Of God (Job 28)

Job Defends His Innocence, Remembers When God Had Blessed Him And Been His Closest Friend, And His Present Suffering, And Ends His Speaking (Job 29-31)

Elihu Defends The Goodness And Righteousness Of God, While Condemning Eliphaz, Zopohar, Bildad, And Job (Job 32-37)

The Lord Finally “Appears” To Job And Answers Him In A Whirlwind (Job 38-41)

Job Repents For What He Has Spoken Against God, And His Three Friends Repent When The Lord Rebukes Them; Job Is Greatly Blessed (Job 42)

The Land Of Uz

 We are told that Job was from the land of Uz (Job 1:1).

Other passages of Scripture indicate that this land was near the country of Edom: 

Lamentations 4:21 (NKJV)-Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, You who dwell in the land of Uz! The cup shall also pass over to you And you shall become drunk and make yourself naked.

 Further, a man named Uz is found in genealogies of people from the country of Edom (Genesis 36:28; 1 Chronicles 1:42).

The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob (Genesis 25:23, 30).

The following map shows the location of Edom to ancient Israel (map copied from: http://www.booksofthebible.com/p5388.html): 
Job’s Spiritual Status 

 Job is introduced to us as a “righteous man.”  

Job 1:1-Many years ago, a man named Job lived in the land of Uz. He was a truly good person, who respected God and refused to do evil.

 Despite the fact that Job is identified as a righteous man, we soon learn that he still acknowledged that he is a sinner:

Job 10:13-14-13 You have not explained all of your mysteries,14 but you catch and punish me each time I sin.

Job 13:26-Why do you accuse me of horrible crimes and make me pay for sins I did in my youth?

Job 31:33-34-33 Many have attempted to hide their sins from others— but I refused. 34 And the fear of public disgrace never forced me to keep silent about what I had done.

 Many peoples teach that being “righteous” means never sinning or never struggling with sin: the Book of Job shows us clearly that this is not the case.

In fact, the Bible is clear that God’s people struggle with sin of which we are in need of forgiveness continually before God (1 John 1:8-2:2; ; Hebrews 4:15-17).

Those who maintain that they are sinlessly perfect are at odds with the Word of God.  

 Throughout the Book of Job, the patriarch goes through horrible suffering and calamity. His friends tell him that he is being punished because he has committed some terrible sin and that God will restore everything to him if he will just repent. The problem is: Job knows that this is not the case!

Throughout his Book, Job maintains his innocence before God: 

Job 6:24-What have I done wrong? Show me, and I will keep quiet.

Job 9:15-Even though I am innocent, I can only beg for mercy.  

Job 9:21-I am not guilty, but I no longer care what happens to me.

Job 10:2-Don’t just condemn me! Point out my sin.

Job 12:4-I have always lived right, and God answered my prayers; now friends make fun of me.

Job 27:5-6-5 Until the day I die, I will refuse to do wrong by saying you are right, 6 because each day my conscience agrees that I am innocent.

 In Job chapter 29, Job tells us of some of his many righteous deeds.

He remembers when he delivered the poor who cried out, as well as the fatherless (Job 29:12).

He helped those who were dying, and comforted widows in their despair (Job 29:13).

He “put on righteousness,” and he put on justice like a robe and a turban (Job 29:14).

He was “eyes to the blind,” and “feet to the lame” (Job 29:15), as well as a father to the poor and one who went out of his way to help those who had been mistreated (Job 29:16).

He punished the most wicked (Job 29:17).  

 Even though Job knew that he was a sinner, he understood that the suffering he was enduring was not because of his own personal sin.  

b>Job’s Faith In God

 Throughout the Book of Job, we see that the patriarch struggled with his faith in the goodness of God. During his ordeal, Job remembers the close relationship he enjoyed with God: 

Job 29:1-5-1 Job said: 2 I long for the past, when God took care of me, 3 and the light from his lamp showed me the way through the dark. 4 I was in the prime of life, God All-Powerful was my closest friend, 5 and all of my children were nearby.

 However, during his ordeal and struggle, Job began to question the goodness of God. His faith in God fluctuated during these times. Sometimes, he believed that God was good and would make His reasons known for his suffering.

At other times, he believed that God was either indifferent toward Job’s suffering, ignorant of his innocence, or downright capricious and evil.  

 Throughout the Book, we see all of these beliefs manifested at different times and in different ways.  

 When Job was told about the loss of his children and of his fortune, we are told of his reaction: 

Job 1:20-22-20 When Job heard this, he tore his clothes and shaved his head because of his great sorrow. He knelt on the ground, then worshiped God 21 and said: “We bring nothing at birth; we take nothing with us at death. The LORD alone gives and takes. Praise the name of the LORD!” 22 In spite of everything, Job did not sin or accuse God of doing wrong.  

 Later, after prolonged suffering, we read several statements of Job that demonstrate his struggles with whether or not the Lord is a truly good God: 

Job 6:4-The fearsome arrows of God All-Powerful have filled my soul with their poison.

Job 7:13-14-13 I go to bed, hoping for rest, 14 but you torture me with terrible dreams.

Job 9:21-24-21 I am not guilty, but I no longer care what happens to me. 22 What difference does it make? God destroys the innocent along with the guilty. 23 When a good person dies a sudden death, God sits back and laughs. 24 And who else but God blindfolds the judges, then lets the wicked take over the earth?

Job 10:3-3 Why do you take such delight in destroying those you created and in smiling on sinners?

Job 10:16-17-16 No matter how hard I try, you keep hunting me down like a powerful lion. 17 You never stop accusing me; you become furious and attack over and over again.

 Despite these doubts, Job maintains that he will strive to trust in God: 

Job 13:15-God may kill me, but still I will trust him and offer my defense.

 In fact, at one point Job believes that one of the reasons why God has allowed him to suffer so very much is because God is testing and refining him: 

Job 23:10 (Amplified Version)-But He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates, and pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold [pure and luminous]. [Psa 17:3; Psa 66:10; Jas 1:12]

Putting God On Trial

 Job continually manifested a desire to approach God in a courtroom like situation and “prove” himself and his innocence to God: 

Job 13:3-But I prefer to argue my case with God All-Powerful—

Job 23:3-7-3 If I knew where to find God, I would go there 4 and argue my case. 5 Then I would discover what he wanted to say. 6 Would he overwhelm me with his greatness? No! He would listen. 7 because I am innocent, and he would say, “I now set you free!”

 Near the end of the Book of Job, God grants Job his request. 

Satan 

 We are taught a great deal in the Book of Job about Satan.

The first mention of Satan in the Book of Job places him in the company of the Angels of God, in the Presence of God Himself: 

Job 1:6-One day, when the angels had gathered around the LORD, and Satan was there with them, 

Job 2:1-When the angels gathered around the LORD again, Satan was there with them, 

 The appearance of Satan with the Angels has led many to believe that his identity is tied in with the angelic race, which other Scriptures more clearly suggest and elaborate upon (cf. Ezekiel 28:11-19).  

 Of particular interest is what the Bible says that Satan is doing on the Earth: 

Job 1:7- the LORD asked, “Satan, where have you been?” Satan replied, “I have been going all over the earth.”

Job 2:2-and the LORD asked, “Satan, where have you been?” Satan replied, “I have been going all over the earth.”

 Speaking of the phrases “walking all over the earth,” Albert Barnes provides this excellent word study: 

“Dr. Good renders this, “from roaming round.” Noyes, “from wandering over.” The word which is here used ( שׁוּט shû ṭ ) means properly, (1.) to whip, to scourge, to lash; (2.) to row, that is, to lash the sea with oars; (3.) to run up and down, to go here and there, or to and fro, so as to lash the air with one‘s arms as with oars, and hence, to travel over a land, or to go through it in order to see it, 2 Samuel 24:2 , 2 Samuel 24:8 . Dr. Good, in conformity with the interpretation proposed by Schultens, says that “the word imports, not so much the act of going forward and backward, as of making a circuit or circumference; of going round about. The Hebrew verb is still in use among the Arabic writers, and in every instance implies the same idea of gyration or circumambulation.” In Arabic, according to Castell, the word means “to heat, to burn, to cause to boil, to consume:” then to propel to weariness, as e. g. a horse, and then to make a circuit, to go about at full speed, to go with diligence and activity. Thus, in Carnuso, as quoted by Schultens, “a course made at one impulse to the goal is called שׁוט shô ṭ In 2 Samuel 24:2 , the word is used in the sense of passing around through different places for the purpose of taking a census. “Go now (Margin, “compass”) through all the tribes of Israel.” In Numbers 11:8 , it is applied to the Israelites going about to collect manna, passing rapidly and busily in the places where it fell for the purpose of gathering it….From these passages it is clear that the idea is not that of going “in a circuit” or circle, but it is that of passing rapidly; of moving with alacrity and in a hurry; and it is not improbable that the “original” idea is that suggested in the Arabic of “heat” and thence applied to a whip or scourge because it produces a sensation like burning, and also to a rapid journey or motion, because it produces heat or a glow. It means that Satan had been active and diligent in passing from place to place in the earth to survey it. The Chaldee adds to this, “to examine into the works of the sons of men.” And from walking That is, to investigate human affairs. On this verse it is observed by Rosenmullcr, that in the life of Zoroaster (see Zendavesta by John G. Kleukner, vol. 3: p. 11,) the prince of the evil demons, the angel of death, whose name is “Engremeniosch,” is said to go far and near through the world for the purpose of injuring and opposing good people.” (Albert Barnes, Commentary On Job, 995-1028 (Kindle Edition))

 Satan shows his hatred of humanity and of God in his attacks upon Job. He is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). After killing Job’s family and taking away his wealth, he turned his attacks on Job’s health: 

Job 2:7-10-7 Satan left and caused painful sores to break out all over Job’s body—from head to toe. 8 Then Job sat on the ash-heap to show his sorrow. And while he was scraping his sores with a broken piece of pottery, 9 his wife asked, “Why do you still trust God? Why don’t you curse him and die?” 10 Job replied, “Don’t talk like a fool! If we accept blessings from God, we must accept trouble as well.” In all that happened, Job never once said anything against God.

Job’s Three Friends 

 We are told about Job’s three friends who made an appointment to come and console him as they heard about his suffering.  

Job 2:11-13-11 Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuah, and Zophar from Naamah were three of Job’s friends, and they heard about his troubles. So they agreed to visit Job and comfort him. 12 When they came near enough to see Job, they could hardly recognize him. And in their great sorrow, they tore their clothes, then sprinkled dust on their heads and cried bitterly. 13 For seven days and nights, they sat silently on the ground beside him, because they realized what terrible pain he was in.  

 These three friends (and their places of origin) tell us much about who they are.

Hugh Ross explains: 

“Eliphaz, who took the lead in the debate against Job, is identified in the text as a Temanite. Teman is a city in Edom. Edom encompasses the southern portion of what is now the nation of Jordan. Teman was famous in the ancient world for its exceptionally wise scholars.[4] Ancient literature indicates this fame persisted for centuries. The prophet Jeremiah comments on Teman in a series of rhetorical questions: “Is there no longer wisdom in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom decayed?” (Jer. 49:7). Given the eight-hundred-mile distance between Teman and Job’s home in the land of Uz (see fig. 2.1) and the investment required to undertake such a journey, it seems likely that Teman’s leaders sent their most gifted scholar, Job’s friend and peer, to offer comfort. It makes sense that Eliphaz, the most revered, was probably the Temanite best known to Job, and the text indicates (see Job 2:11 and 42:10) that, despite the distance, Eliphaz was among Job’s dearest friends. The text suggests that Zophar and Bildad were of virtually equal abilities to Eliphaz and also close friends to Job. Apparently, when word of Job’s devastating losses and sufferings spread, the world of that time sent their three most eminent wise men to offer comfort and counsel. Who else could even try?” (Hugh Ross, Hidden Treasures In The Book Of Job: How The Oldest Book In The Bible Answers Today’s Scientific Questions, 28-29 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books) 

 These friends of Job were actually pawns of Satan, as is made clear in the “dream” or “vision” that Eliphaz had (cf. Job 4:12-19). Throughout the Book of Job, they try to convince Job that the only reason why people suffer is because they are being punished for personal sin. Sadly, Job himself shows that he believes in this doctrine as well, at least at times during his ordeal. However, throughout the Book, he maintains his innocence in the face of his friends accusations.

At the end of Job, God clearly demonstrates that what Job’s friends had said about the Lord was clearly not accurate (Job 42:7-9).