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  1. #11
    Senior Member Spurgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquarelle View Post
    It's a two-way street when it comes to friendship between two mortals... devotion to one's God is a different thing.
    Yes, this is something that many otherwise brilliant minds just can't seem to comprehend.

    Human beings are not equal to God. God is the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all things in existence.

    So many misunderstandings about the Bible, particularly those involving God's supposed morality or immorality (as if human beings can or should put God on trial!) could be cleared up by understanding this most basic principle:

    God > human

    Job understood this. He realized his position as a weak and sinful human being in relation to a holy and perfect God.
    He was to humbly submit to God under all circumstances, no matter how much it conflicted with his own desires, pride, etc.

    That is wisdom.

  2. #12
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    (But just to step back into the broad scope for a second, I think trying to define human roles for what has been set up as a divine/human relationship here is always going to be faulty. I mean, really; if we're accepting that a mortal individual of limited perpsective is relating to an omniscient, omnipotent deity, the roles described might be suggestive but not literal. I mean, how could we be "friends"? Or "lovers"? Or anything similar? We can't exactly map out such a relationship based simply on our experience with human relationship. It's almost like taking a hamster or a woolly caterpillar to a social party and saying, "hey, here's Mr. Fluffers, we're close friends.")
    Well, sticking with the Book of Job theme, this is exactly what Job ends up asking for. And he realizes his problem. There are a few passages where he says he needs a mediator (hebrew "go'el".. someone who would advocate or even carry out vengeance for victims) to defend himself before God. And yet, he thinks the only one qualified is God. So it goes in circles. The book is Jewish in origin, but Christians ran with this idea later. They said that Jesus was someone who could both understand humanity and understand the mind of God at the same time. The idea of a one way friendship and servitude (on the part of humans) is actually the anthesis of the Christian ideal. They believe their God understood the problem and took on flesh himself. If he wanted to simply condemn "fair weather" friends, they would have never taken their doctrine this far.

    But this is probably all beside the point.

  3. #13
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Yeah, that is a kind of jerky story if you believe it literally, and also one of the reasons that I'm not a fundamentalist (or a Christian). The story may have some very good points metaphorically, in the spirit that it was actually written; I've never studied it from that angle. What's interesting is that its original writers didn't believe in an opposing and independent evil power, so Satan was mostly just taking the other side because it was his appointed job.

  4. #14
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    Yeah, that is a kind of jerky story if you believe it literally, and also one of the reasons that I'm not a fundamentalist (or a Christian). The story may have some very good points metaphorically, in the spirit that it was actually written; I've never studied it from that angle. What's interesting is that its original writers didn't believe in an opposing and independent evil power, so Satan was mostly just taking the other side because it was his appointed job.
    Yeah, that's interesting. "Satan" originally just meant "accuser". And it's used often, not as a proper title, but for accusers in general. In this case, some member of the divine council who brought issues into question. He almost sounds like a shady comical character. While the Angel of Death (another shady servant of the divine) was more like his destructive counterpart.

    When the scriptures were first translated into Greek, the word satan became diabolos (slanderer). Already taking on an even more negative meaning (assuming slander has different motivations than simply accusing). Somewhere along the line, the definition grew even more sinister. There were other evil-like characters in the Bible besides Satan at one point ("Beelzebub", for example.. a Phillistine god), but they converged into the same person.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Spurgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    ... Satan was mostly just taking the other side because it was his appointed job.
    This is true.

    God, in His infinite wisdom, has allowed Satan to operate in this world--but only within the boundaries God has set for him.

    • Unbelievers are in bondage to Satan

    • Believers (like Job) can be tempted and tormented by Satan, but have been set free from bondage to him.

    Those are the parameters God has set, and because Satan knows his time and power is limited, he goes about doing as much damage as possible.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquarelle View Post
    I like to think I am someone who will stick with a true friend through thick and thin. But I'm not sure the comparison with the story of Job really applies to friendship. God was testing Job's faith and devotion by allowing bad things to happen to him when He could have stopped them. If my friend had to power to stop/prevent bad things happening to me, but declined to do so, I'm not sure whether I could call them a true friend. Same if the friend was treating me like crap. I would certainly talk to them about it first, but if they continued to treat me like crap, again, I'd have to reevaluate my assessment of them as a "true friend." It's a two-way street when it comes to friendship between two mortals... devotion to one's God is a different thing.
    Perhaps. I know that God appears angry for allowing himself to have been drawn into such a game. At least in the telling of the story that I'm familiar with. There is a rabbinical saying apparently that if it hadnt been written it could be true, so it is one of those accounts which seems baffling or perhaps anthropomorphic.

    Although I've known or seen social groups which act like this, I'd mention mean girls but its not a perfect analogy, in fact its a bad one but I cant think of movies which have looked at it with any sort of depth beyond that one and it deals in humourous stereotyping too.

    Anyway, I have known people who've solicited the opinions of a friend about an other friend, only for their original opinion to have been changed without them thinking the proffered opinion would have been enough to do it. Its not perfect making comparisons between the human and divine, I take that point and know what you mean.

  7. #17
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spurgeon View Post
    This is true.

    God, in His infinite wisdom, has allowed Satan to operate in this world--but only within the boundaries God has set for him.

    • Unbelievers are in bondage to Satan

    • Believers (like Job) can be tempted and tormented by Satan, but have been set free from bondage to him.

    Those are the parameters God has set, and because Satan knows his time and power is limited, he goes about doing as much damage as possible.
    I was talking about Jewish belief, which is not the same, even though they share the same book. Satan would be an angel and not a fallen one. Them dudes picked monotheism and stuck with it. Only later did shades of Zorastrianism sneak in, the idea that there was an evil power working against a good power on equal footing.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Spurgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    I was talking about Jewish belief, which is not the same, even though they share the same book. Satan would be an angel and not a fallen one. Them dudes picked monotheism and stuck with it. Only later did shades of Zorastrianism sneak in, the idea that there was an evil power working against a good power on equal footing.
    The Bible does claim that God and Satan are working against each other, but it doesn't claim that God and Satan are on equal footing at all. Far from it. God's reign is absolutely secure.

    Again, God has set parameters for Satan, and so he is ultimately serving God.

    Satan is such a fool and God is so wise that Satan is unwittingly serving God's ultimate purposes--the ultimate example being the murder of Christ, which was meant by Satan for evil, but was, in fact, God's most gracious act toward humanity.

    If you understand God's sovereign authority over everything in existence, then Job and everything else in the Bible makes sense.

  9. #19
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spurgeon View Post
    The Bible does claim that God and Satan are working against each other, but it doesn't claim that God and Satan are on equal footing at all. Far from it. God's reign is absolutely secure.

    Again, God has set parameters for Satan, and so he is ultimately serving God.

    Satan is such a fool and God is so wise that Satan is unwittingly serving God's ultimate purposes--the ultimate example being the murder of Christ, which was meant by Satan for evil, but was, in fact, God's most gracious act toward humanity.

    If you understand God's sovereign authority over everything in existence, then Job and everything else in the Bible makes sense.
    Nope. If you read the Bible plainly, it doesn't explain why it's right for God to be a bigger ass to Job than I should be to my kids.

  10. #20
    Sniffles
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    Am I the only person who finds it amusing how the ending of Job is consistently ommitted in discussions whinning about its content?

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