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The Story of Job- God's Bet With the Devil

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by NeoSeeker, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. NeoSeeker

    NeoSeeker Searching Low & High

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    What do you guys think of the story of Job? An amazing test of faith or God's bet with the Devil? Here is the Wiki link. These two links: History of St. Job and Story of Job are easier to read.

    In essence, God and the Devil have a discussion about Job, a most pious man. The Devil tells God, "sure, he's pious because he has it so good."
    "Oh yeah?" retorts God, "I'll take away every earthly thing that is important to him including his family and you'll see, he's devoted!" In the end Job stands up to the challenge and God rewards him with a huge heard of livestock and more kids to replace the ones that got killed.

    I wonder what would have happened to Job if he had lost faith? The question might be what is the symbolism of this kind of devotion? Should you love God because:

    1) He's a good guy who knows what's best for you even though he might torment the hell out of you?
    2) He controls your destiny so comply or else?
    3) It's just a story designed to emphasis that faith will be rewarded?

    I vote for No.3. An even better question, is it truly possible to love someone who holds dominion over your life and demands compliance or else? A worthy God would demand nothing, but allow his children to better themselves and possibly help them along the way, no strings attached.

    Side note: 1) God and the Devil have little chats? 2) If God controls everything in existence, then the Devil exists because God created the Devil and must have a use for the Devil. What use would that be, tempting us?
     
    bobhikes likes this.
  2. JP of PA

    JP of PA New Member

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    The story of Job makes a lot more sense to the conscience when one begins to better understand the one-ness of all.

    All things that exist, exist within the "mind" of (and outside of) the Eternal One, Great Entity. This includes satan. Every creature, every man, every existing entity exists within, is a thought of, the mind of the Unspeakable Great Entity.

    The easiest way to say it is, we exist in the imagination of God. And in this way, even though we are separate, we are all one. We are all sustained by one mind, the universal consciousness. (Even as if we as earthly humans were to use our minds to create a story with different characters who are all separate, and yet, it is our own single mind that causes every thought and action of those characters.)

    In order for the Eternal One to exist as more than just the One, It had to split itself, and, being as It, in and of Itself, is self sustaining and complete, the only way that It could "have some company" was to split Itself into a greater and lesser - that is, Creator and created. (This is represented in an earthly way by the existence of male and female.)

    So "satan," which has the meaning of "accuser" or "adversary," is actually an aspect of the Eternal One's mind.

    Being as we all, everything that exists, existed from the beginning, outside of and before time, as thoughts, seeds of the Eternal One, the book of Job has a much deeper revelation that simply "faith and patience will be rewarded."

    It shows us the sctructural plan for all existence. We "existed" as thoughts of the One, but in order for us to be manifested into reality, and exist as an actual counterpart to the Eternal One, we had to be split from It, separated from It. Which entails a time of suffering, being separated from our true divinity (ie, earthly existence).

    The ultimate destiny for all is to return to the One, and become one with the One, even as male and female come together as one to produce life.

    Job shows us the grand picture of all existence - contentment (existing in the mind of the Eternal One), followed by a time of separation and affliction (earthly existence), followed by greater and more fulfilling contentment and happiness (existing in reality, outside of (but still within) the mind of the Eternal One, and yet, in complete harmony with it).
     
  3. Breathe

    Breathe Mostly taking a break

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    To me, this story is symbolical about how one should love God whether they have it rich or poor, and not love God only because of the material things that one has, sort of a way of saying 'the truly pious man would love God even if he had nothing, those who worship God only because their lives are good do not truly love him', or something, at a guess?

    Regarding side notes 1 and 2, if I recall correctly, the Devil in Judaism is not seen as an opponent of the Jewish God as he is within the Christian and Islamic theologies, within Judaism (I think) he is just an angel with a job we don't really enjoy being on the receiving end of, but it's still an important one. One of our Jewish members can kindly correct me if they like.

    If i'm right, though, they would be free to have chats, I guess. :D



    However, I don't believe in Satan nor the Bible, this is just the way it comes across to me. :)
     
  4. NeoSeeker

    NeoSeeker Searching Low & High

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    I think you have to read a lot into this story to walk away with your conclusion. I think it's just a test of faith story. I find it more aggravating than uplifting. :)

    I don't see this story as a reason to love God. If you go with the "testing of faith" it really shows the relationship with God is one way. Just because you are held in the palm of someone's hand is no legitimate reason to love them. :)
     
  5. Willamena

    Willamena Just be there, doing that

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    That's where the one-ness that Odion mentioned comes in. The image of being held in someone's hand becomes the image of holding hands (love).
     
  6. NeoSeeker

    NeoSeeker Searching Low & High

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    Ok, I can buy that, but then we can toss all of the judgment and being tossed into hell for non-compliance issues. :D
     
  7. Willamena

    Willamena Just be there, doing that

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    That's a good thing. :D
     
  8. JP of PA

    JP of PA New Member

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    If all we were basing this idea upon was the book of Job alone, then perhaps it would be a stretch. But when you realize that this is the pattern for existence that shows itself throughout the scriptures and all around us, you see the harmonious thread of Truth that binds all.

    It is the story of the Israelites escaping at Passover and being freed from slavery, only to go into the wilderness for a time before actually entering the promised land.


    It's the story of Moses' staff turning into a serpent and back into a staff.

    It's the story of the prodigal son leaving his home and squandering his inheritance only to return home again.

    It's the story of Yahshua existing before creation, coming in flesh and dying, and being resurrected to glory and Kingship.

    It is the life / death / resurrection pattern of mankind.

    It's seen in the pleasure of consumation / suffering of pregnancy and childbirth / joy of a new life pattern of procreation.

    It's Yahshua crucified between two criminals.

    It's the veil of the temple being torn down the middle when Yahshua died.

    It's the male anatomical member entering in between the two sides of the female anatomical organ in order to coceive life.

    It's the birth of a child between the two birth lips of a woman.

    It is the breath that passes between our lips to form words.

    It is everything and all. We came from the One, and to the One we shall return.
     
    Willamena likes this.
  9. Breathe

    Breathe Mostly taking a break

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    I never said I agreed with it.. :p
     
  10. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Superstylin' Staff Member Premium Member

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    I generally see the Book of Job as someone's attempt to reconcile his theology with the world as he sees it through a symbolic "case study". If it's interpreted as a literal historical account, or even as a symbolic representation of some sort of ideal situation, then it portrays God as a monster, IMO.
     
  11. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    First, Job is in the Hebrew Bible. We have no devil. "Satan," a Hebrew word meaning something like "accuser" or "prosecutor" is the job title of an angel, and not always the same angel. The satan's job to queston people before the Heavenly Court when necessary, to make those of us who need to do so defend our lives and choices before God's judgment, on very rare occasions to test the faith of the righteous at God's command, and also to be the angel with jurisdiction to rule over the yetzer ha-ra, the Urge to do Wrong.

    Second of all, Job is almost certainly not intended to be read literally in any way. Some say it is an allegory to describe the fact that faith is rewarded. Some say it is an allegory about the mystery of God. Others say it is about the futility and randomness of life. Still others say it is about other things. There is no single consensus about what Job means, but most agree it is not a literal account.

    Third of all, if we analyze the language (Job contains the most difficult Hebrew of the Tanakh, with more hapax legomena than any other book) we find that the frame story of God and the satan was almost certainly added to the text of Job long after the creation of the majority of the text. It almost certainly represents the efforts of a generation long ago to make Job make sense within the parameters of the theologies of their time.
     
  12. NeoSeeker

    NeoSeeker Searching Low & High

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    Thank you for your perspective!

    Do you know how many Christians take the Bible as the literal truth? Bunches and bunches. :) If it is not intended to be literal, then it's just alarming fiction illustrating what happens when the mortal becomes the subject of a divine bet. For better entertainment we could talk about the philandering Zues and his wife Hera. Actually I'd get more out of reading the Lord of the Rings, which I have several times. :)

    The Bible is the foundation of Christianity. I'm not familiar with the Jewish religion so my focus is on the Bible. This is supposed to provide a foundation for belief. With stories like this, Adam and Eve, and Noah's Ark, it leaves much to be desired for reinforcing faith.
     
  13. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Superstylin' Staff Member Premium Member

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    Either that or an instructional fable with the message that people who are suffering didn't necessarily bring it upon themselves.

    Or... you could read Aesop's Fables, which also use fictional characters to illustrate real lessons.
     
  14. NeoSeeker

    NeoSeeker Searching Low & High

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    Or you can simply say fate, luck, be in the wrong place at the wrong time you you'll be squashed like a bug. My point is that these stories don't do anything to reinforce the basics truths upon which the religion is supposed to be founded. Literal or allegory, the story of Job does not put God in the best light imo.

    Absolutely.
     
  15. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    It's worth remembering that the bulk of the Bible, the Hebrew Scriptures or Tanakh (which Christians refer to as the Old Testament) is actually Jewish sacred text. It was written by Jews, for Jews, in the Jewish language, hundreds of years before Jesus, much less Paul.

    The Tanakh (sometimes called the Written Torah, as opposed to the Oral Torah, which is the oral traditions of law and interpretation that have always existed alongside the Written Torah, that later began to be written down in the Talmud and other Rabbinic writings) is a collection of many different texts, with many different authors, who all had different agenda, but none of them involve Jesus. This collection of writings was adopted by Christianity. Early Christians mostly didn't even read the Tanakh in the original, they read the Koine Greek translation, known as the Septuagint. And unfortunately, when Paul cut the processes of Jewish law away from Christianity, he cut away with it all of the traditions of textual interpretation, the Oral Torah that Jews have always used to interpret the Written Torah. I think that Paul and his followers thought to substitute their own ideas of interpretation. But those have never been as complex or far-ranging in their ability to interpret and reinterpret as is Jewish interpretive tradition, which has left room for a textual literalism to flourish greatly.

    And not only that, but the Pauline doctrine of supercessionism, combined with the breaks from traditional Jewish text understanding, created a Christian tradition that usually forgets or denies that their sacred text, and their understandings of Jewish prophecies were additions: the gospels (at least, in their final canonical forms) and the rest of the Christian Bible, not to mention the later textual understandings of the Church Fathers and other, even later, interpretive doctrines, were the works of non-Jews, grafted onto a collection of Jewish texts that were not theirs, and a few Jewish heretics who deliberately chose to subvert everything about how Jews had always approached sacred text.
     
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  16. NeoSeeker

    NeoSeeker Searching Low & High

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    Levite, thanks for sharing! :)
     
  17. logician

    logician New Member

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    The book of JOb is the oldest book in the bible. It basicaslly portrays its god as vengeful and manipulative, both rewarding and punishing at its whim.:D
     
  18. NeoSeeker

    NeoSeeker Searching Low & High

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    A good religious lesson of how to love your God? I don't see the why though. ;)
     
  19. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Superstylin' Staff Member Premium Member

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    The book gives the "why" as well. It basically amounts to "I'm God, you're not. Who are you to question me? If you don't like what I'm doing, suck it up and deal. I'm God, so do as I say."
     
    gnostic likes this.
  20. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I don't see any reason to believe that Job is not a rel person and the events not historical: Job 1:1There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and turned away from evil. The very first statement is that such a man existed.

    That is a fascinating question but one can only speculate. IMO God would have restored everything to Job anyway because Job was one of his favorite people.

    I think 1 and 2 would describe my belief except for the concept of God tormenting people. The torment in this account came from the devil. And before you can say it, no, God did not create the devil to be evil, the devil did that on his own.

    It is when that someone loves me.

    This wouldn't even be a god. Worth is not subjective. God is worthy because He is good.
     
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