Job 1:6-12

A Heavenly Scene Reveals a Satanic Plot

Vs. 6 – Who are the “sons of God” in this verse? Whoever they were, they had an appointment to present themselves before God. No doubt these are created beings. A casual reading of the verse seems to indicate that they are spiritual in nature, for Satan himself is listed among them as one who came before God at this time. Unfortunately, the author doesn’t tell us very much about their meeting with God because his principle aim is to tell us about Satan’s conversation with God.

The word “Satan” means “adversary” or one who is opposed to another.

Vs. 7 – Satan told God that he had been walking to and fro, up and down in the earth. No doubt God knew what Satan was doing. God’s question seems to have reference to the fact that He desired to call Satan’s attention to Job. It’s as if God were saying, “Since I know you have been walking to and fro and up and down in the earth, then you’ve no doubt seen my servant Job.” Satan, of course, had and God wanted to show Satan that his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11) were not altogether effect upon men.

Satan’s going to and fro in the earth was obviously for the purpose of doing no good, but evil. Ever since he tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, he has been working his deceitful wares upon the general populace of the world in order to bring temptation and sin to their door and into their house. He is one who is on the prowl and as a roaring lion, seeking to devour God’s children (1 Peter 5:8). Let us be vigilant against his evil ways.

Vs. 8 – God wants to know if Satan had taken knowledge of Job, who, obviously, had resistant Satan’s work and was serving God faithfully. God repeats to Satan the characteristics we find of Job in vs. 1. “blameless and upright; one who fears God and turns away from evil.” This is stated almost as an epithet. The one thing that God did mention that was not mentioned in verse 1 was that in all the earth there was none other like Job. He was a special and unique case and worthy of God’s attention and hence, Satan’s as well. When studying the rest of the book, we find why Job was truly unique. Once he knew the truth, he stuck with it tenaciously (Proverbs 23:23).

Vs. 9 – Satan’s question doesn’t place any doubt in the mind of God. Rather, Satan’s question is an accusation against Job. “He doesn’t fear you for the right reasons” is in essence what Satan is saying here. It all leads into Satan’s desire to place extraordinary temptations before Job in an effort to get him to curse God. Satan has his agenda.

Vs. 10 – Satan accuses God of placing a “hedge” (of blessing) around Job so that Job can’t help but praise and honor God. Satan’s accusation is basically one that God spoils Job and so Job, of course, loves him. It’s interesting, however, that even this is a lie. While it is true that God blessed Job, it’s never the case that spoiling a person brings gratitude and blessing from the individual spoiled. It’s more likely the case that the one spoiled, by virtue of having everything that his heart desires, becomes self-centered, selfish, and narcissistic.

Vs. 11 – Satan “tells” God to remove all of these blessings and Job will curse God. Only Satan could be so presumptuous as to make such a suggestion to God. The haughtiest of sinners on this earth would, no doubt, cower with trembling knees before his Maker. But even Satan understands that this statement of his is but a mere “request” in the sense that only God can ultimately remove His shield of protection from Job. Satan’s statement then must be regarded as no more than a mere question, (“Will you take these things away from Job and see if he will curse you to your face?”) presumptuous though it be.

But why did Satan have to ask? Why couldn’t Satan, without God’s permission, unleash his sorties of temptation against Job? God’s predisposition toward his children is to bless and protect. Try as he might, Satan cannot breach God’s defenses of his children. God does allow, however, with His permission, Satan to tempt his children. Here is at least one reason why the Christian ought always pray “lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13) and why the Christian must always resist the Devil (James 4:7). In both prayer and resistance, what temptations God does allow the Devil to throw our way may always be overcome as God doesn’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Vs. 12 – God gives Satan permission to go ahead and test Job in the way that Satan desires with one restriction: Satan was not allowed to touch Job’s person in any way. However, everything else that Job had, God placed in Satan’s hand to do as Satan desired. Here is where God remains blameless from sending these evils upon Job. God put Job’s things in Satan’s hand, but Satan still had a choice as to what to do with Job’s things. Satan could have chosen to leave Job alone. Of course, he does not, because Satan thinks he has something to prove?Satan thinks he knows more than God. Satan, however, will be the one who ultimately gets proved wrong as will ultimately be the case for eternity as well (Revelation 20:10). God, while allowing Job’s things to fall into Satan’s hands, remains righteous, holy, and pure from doing harm to Job.

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Job 1:1-5

Introduction

Was Job a real person? Scholars have debated whether or not he was, but other parts of the Bible teach that he was indeed real. In Ezekiel 14:14, 20, Ezekiel places him alongside of both Noah and Daniel as a man who really existed. James also makes reference to him in James 5:11 where we are reminded of his patience. But perhaps the greatest evidence of his existence is the plain statement of fact we find in the beginning of the book. Job 1:1 matter-of-factly states, “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job . . . .”

When was the book written? The events of the book appear to have taken place during the time of the Patriarchs. Some conservative scholars suggest that it was during the time of Terah, Abraham’s father.

Who authored the book? While the Holy Spirit authored the book of Job (2 Peter 1:20, 21), the penman is not specifically stated. It could have been Job himself or some other poet of whom we are now unaware. That the book is part of Hebrew tradition indicates that the author may have had some distant relationship to Abraham.

Why was this book written? The book of Job was written to answer the question, “Why do the righteous suffer?” It is a question that many ask, even today, and its content is directly relevant to any righteous person who has experienced suffering. When one reads Job, if one who is righteous has suffered, one is expected to find one’s self in Job’s situation asking the same questions that Job asks and wondering the same things that Job wonders. One has the added advantage, however, of knowing what the true background of Job’s sufferings was. While Job and his friends struggle with the problem, the reader, knowing what he knows, is supposed to understand the incorrect assumptions that each make and be able to answer his own questions as he endures suffering himself.

Where did these events take place? Again, Job 1:1 says “in the land of Uz.” While we don’t know exactly, this was likely somewhere in the northwestern part of Iraq. Tradition states it was northeast of Idumea. This may put the land of Uz somewhere around the upper Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the vicinity of Haran. It is unknown.

The book of Job is divided naturally into four sections. I. Chapters one through three comprise the prologue (introductory matters and Job’s opening statement). II. Chapters four through twenty-six comprise the dialogues (between Job and his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar). III. Chapters twenty-seven through forty-one comprise the monologues (Job, Elihu, and Yahweh). IV. Chapter forty-two comprises the epilogue.

The prologue sets the stage for the dialogues and monologues. It answers the following questions: What did Job lose? Why is he sick? Why is he really suffering? Who is really behind Job’s sufferings? The reader is supposed to know the answers to these questions before he begins reading the dialogues and monologues so he can know what both Job and his friends assume about his situation that isn’t true.

In the dialogues, Job complains regarding his physical suffering and states that it is without cause. Job’s friends state that Job has obviously sinned grievously against God and that he needs to repent to have his situation restored.

In the monologues, Job demands that God explain to him why he is in this situation. Elihu rebukes Job for taking such a haughty position; then God himself rebukes Job for his haughtiness as well.

The epilogue tells us what Job’s response was to God, who was right in the discussion (Job or his friends) and what happens to Job after this ordeal is over.

Job 1:1-5

Vs. 1 – We’re introduced to Job and where he lives (see introduction). We’re also told of his character. While the KJV says “perfect” the word is blameless. No man is perfect in the sense of sinless, however, we can live our lives in such a way so as not to give occasion to any man to blame us concerning our behavior. Such ought to be the goal of each man seeking to be pleasing to God. Upright has reference to Job’s relationships to his fellow men. He was honest and fair in his business dealings and respectable among his peers. Job feared God. Here is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom, the proverb writer states (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10). Job also turned away from evil. He shunned it; refused it; neglected it. This reminds us of Joseph and his rejection of Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:9). It reminds us of Jesus rejection of Satan (Matthew 4:1-10). And it ought to remind us that God has provided a way out of escape for each temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). We can shun, reject, and turn away from evil.

Vs. 2 – Job had seven sons and three daughters. Some commentators have seen numerology in this verse, seven being a frequent number in the Bible to reveal that which is perfect and three being the number of the Trinity. Hence seven plus three would be God’s perfect man. However, there is no indication in the text that we should thus consider the number of Job’s children as significant in any way other than that was the number.

Vs. 3 – Job’s wealth is enumerated in this verse. There does not appear to be anything significant about these numbers other than the number itself. Here is another reason for rejecting their significance in verse 2 as well. Job’s wealth was comparable to that of Abraham’s (Genesis 13:6). The author mentions that Job was the greatest in the “east” indicating that he was writing from a perspective west of Job. This may put the place of writing in the general vicinity of Palestine

Vs. 4 – This verse sets the stage for why the sons and daughters were all in the same place when they died. The “day” of the sons may have been their birthday or some other day of honor. That they invited each other for such a celebration indicates that the family was full of fellowship and filial love. To this day, the thought of feasting with family continues to warm the cockles of the heart. God’s family observes the pinnacle of such a feast in the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 11:23-27).

Vs. 5 – Seemingly this verse is also explanatory of what Job’s coming situation would be. Some may think that perhaps it was because of the sin of his children that they suffered calamity. Such is suggested by Bildad in Job 8:4. So, here the writer let’s us know that Job had been performing the necessary sacrifices in order to maintain peace between his family and God. Like Abraham, Job was the patriarch of his family and so served as family priest in offering up the sacrifices on their behalf. It couldn’t be properly suggested, therefore, that it was due to Job’s family’s sin that Job had such calamity come upon him.

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The Argument Against the False Doctrine of Original Sin

There is no greater threat to practicing true Christianity than the doctrine of original sin (also known as the doctrine of total hereditary depravity). Briefly, this is the teaching that all people born inherit the sinful state into which Adam and Eve passed due to their sin within the Garden of Eden. As a result of being born in sin, all humans are depraved and have a corrupted nature. There are only two possible ways that one can say one inherits depravity from Adam. Either the spiritual soul is depraved at birth as a consequence of heredity, or the physical body is depraved at birth. I will argue in this article that it is false to say that either is the case, and therefore that the doctrine must be false.

Can one who affirms this doctrine say that it is the newly created human soul (a spiritual entity) that is plagued with the problem of sin? There are only four possible ways that they could say this occurs. 1) That God creates the soul in a sinful state upon conception thereby forcing Adam’s sinful state upon man, 2) That the soul inherits sin from Adam through heredity, 3) That the soul develops a condition of sin by being in proximity to another sinful soul or 4) That the soul is corrupted by coming into contact with a sinful body. I submit to you that they cannot affirm any of these things for the following reasons. 1) God directly creates the soul of man (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Isaiah 42:5; Zechariah 12:1; Hebrews 12:9). Can God create anything that is inherently sinful? Of course not (Psalm 5:4; Habakkuk 1:13) in fact, God can only create that which is good and perfect (James 1:17). Therefore, the soul cannot be created evil. 2) It is ridiculous to say that the soul can inherit, through heredity, sinfulness from Adam. The soul is an autonomous spiritual thing created by God and would not be subject to anything that would come physically as a result of being descended from Adam. In other words, we do not inherit part of Adam’s soul, but his physical body-his DNA. The question of whether sin is contained within the physical body will be examined in the next section. 3) Perhaps, the soul of the child is affected by the soul of the mother during the pregnancy process? So that in essence, one sinful soul by its proximity can deprave another soul that has not already been depraved. However, we read in the scriptures that the soul is autonomous; it independently corrupts itself through sin. James writes, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14,15). The autonomy of the soul is affirmed in many other passages of scripture (Ezekiel 18:4, 20 Deuteronomy 24:16, Jeremiah 31:30; and Galatians 6:7). 4) The body cannot corrupt the soul merely because the soul is placed within it. Jesus says that sin does not originate from outside the soul, but from within (Mark 7:14-23). There is no possible way that those who affirm the doctrine of total hereditary depravity can say that the newly created human soul is plagued with the problem of sin and be scriptural.

This leaves the proponents of this doctrine with only the possibility of the physical body plagued with the problem of original sin, i.e. those who affirm the doctrine of original sin MUST, in fact, believe that it is the physical body of man that is inherently depraved. However, it is impossible that sin could be transferred through genetic material. What genetic marker are we going to point to and say, “Aha! There is the sin gene?” Genetic material can only produce physical qualities. Sin is not a physical quality. Sin is a spiritual quality; it cannot be physically passed from one human to another as a disease or as one’s eye color can be passed from one human to another. Who can look at another person’s body and point out something and say, “There, that part of your body is sin”? To even suggest such would be the height of folly. Sin (a spiritual choice) corrupts the soul (a spiritual entity) and separates man from God (a spiritual relationship). Sin itself, is not physical, but spiritual in nature (Isaiah 59:2). Sinful acts may be physical, but the sin itself is a spiritual choice made in the mind (Mark 7:14-23) and as such, is not subject to physical traits or attributes such as would be found in genetics.

Below I have summarized the argument and put it into a more logical form.

1. If a person is born inherently depraved, then that depravity must either be the result of depravity of the spiritual soul at birth or depravity of the physical body at birth. (There are no other alternatives.)

1.1 If the spiritual soul is inherently depraved at birth, then it must be that way either by 1) creation, 2) heredity, 3) proximity to another soul, or 4) corruption from the physical body. (There are no other alternatives.)

1.1.1 It is not the case that the soul is created depraved.

1.1.2 It is not the case that the soul can hereditarily inherit depravity.

1.1.3 It is not the case that the soul can be corrupted by proximity.

1.1.4 It is not that case that the physical body (intrinsically) can corrupt the soul.

1.2 Therefore, It is not the case that the spiritual soul can be inherently depraved at birth. (This negates the first half of the proposition in line 1.)

1.3 If the physical body is inherently depraved at birth, then it must be that way either by 1) receiving depravity from the mother’s DNA or 2) receiving depravity from the father’s DNA.

1.3.1 It is not the case that depravity is received through the mother’s DNA.

1.3.2 It is not the case that depravity is received through the father’s DNA.

1.4 It is not the case that the physical body could be inherently depraved at birth.

2. Therefore, it is not the case that a person is born inherently depraved.

As was mentioned earlier in this article, the doctrine of original sin lies at the heart of almost every false doctrine in the “Christian” religious world today. The Bible does NOT teach this false doctrine. Reason will not support this false doctrine. Genetic science will not prove this false doctrine. God will not tolerate this false doctrine! It and its implications must be abandoned.

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