“Job” as Prerequisite
Over the last few years, I’ve had a worrying realization: It’s like nobody reads the Book of Job when doing their theodicean noodling.
Make no mistake! We humans are very creative, and we can come up with all sorts of novel theodicean defenses using whatever ideas we please. This is something we can do, and we can also dump coffee all over the counter.
Here are five pretty important things we get from the Book of Job.
- God is very, very powerful. Evil has to seek his permission.
- God is very, very wise, and his decisionmaking is above our paygrade to analyze, though we have faith in his being a higher-order “interest buddy” with humanity incorporated.
- In service of explaining the above point, we can employ hypotheticals and proposals, but we probably shouldn’t run our mouths, especially if our proposals wouldn’t really be of any comfort. After all, we’re not called to be, nor are we capable of being, inductive plan-analysts.
- Rejected: “You brought it on yourself.”
- Rejected: “You deserve even worse!”
There is no claim therein that our infractions carry an infinite gravity of offense (there is rather a rebuttal of this claim). There are no appeals to libertarian free will. There is no “God is weak” theodicy.
I really recommend reading it.