Freethought Bible Studies: A Job Well Done!by Don Lacey on Aug. 05, 2012, under Atheism, Christianity, Critical Thinking, Ethics, Faith, Freethought, God & Bible, Logic, Materialism, Power of Prayer, Question of the Day!, Reason, Religion, Sanity, That's Life!
“Don’t tell me Lucifer and God don’t carpool”
-Aesop Rock Battery
Everyone is talking about jobs: job creators, job cremators, joblessness, Steve Jobs and even certain sexual acts featuring the word job. Perhaps then this would be a good time to look back at the original Job, the biblical Job. The Story of Job appears in the Old Testament’s appropriately titled Book of Job, though reading it is not as much of job as many other old testament books (Leviticus anyone?).
Believers point to Job as a story of how God rewards faithfulness, while I see it as a fantastic illustration of what a nasty piece work the Christian God is. This is ironic, since the English word Job is apparently rooted, not in this biblical story, but in the expression: “jobbe of worke” meaning piece of work (as opposed to continuous work). Or at least that is what the Internet says.
Beyond the word play there is a story. In this story, Job is described as a “perfect and upright” follower of God. He is the “greatest man in east,” and apparently has great wealth, including “seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household.” Needless to say, God thinks this Job character is just the bee’s knees
God gathers his council, who are apparently referred to as “the sons of God”… Wait God has sons other than Jesus? Apparently, and among them comes Satan. God asks Satan where he has been. The notion of God as all-knowing either has yet to enter the tradition or is only selectively applied by Old Testament writers.
Keep in mind, The Book of Job marks an early appearance of Satan as a character in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Satan comes from a noun form of a Hebrew verb meaning to obstruct or oppose. In Job, he appears as ha Satan or the satan, which means the accuser,” or “the adversary”. In other words, he appears in the book of as more of a devil’s advocate than an actually devil. He won’t develop into the ultimate enemy of humanity, until later.
As it is written, God starts talking to his “sons” about what a great and loyal servant this Job character is. Satan points out that it’s easy for Job to be so loyal after-all look at how well God has rewarded him. Satan suggests that if Job lost everything he would “curse thee to thy face.” God answers Satan’s challenge by putting Job’s fate into Satan’s hands and the bet is on!
Job 1:12 “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.”
So the games begin: God allows Satan to kill Job’s slaves and animals killed with swords and through burning to death. Way to keep it classy God! But wait, Job’s children are next: Satan takes them in a windstorm! Through all this Job remains loyal, continues to worship God and never blames God for these happenings (though God did in fact, approve all of them).
In the second book it’s round two and this time God gives Satan the go ahead on violating Job’s flesh bone but requires Satan stop short of killing him. So according to Job 2:7, Satan “smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown”. In the next verse, Job takes “a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.” In the next chapter, Job curses the day he was born, but at no point does he lose his loyalty toward God, or assign blame to God. God, rewarding Job’s loyalty cures Job’s boils and gives him more animals and children than he had to begin with.
In other words, God gave the go-ahead for the murder of a man’s children and slaves, and killed his animals, then allowed him to be inflicted with boils, all for a stupid bet. This is utterly repulsive. Any human that did any of the things that God and is buddy Satan does to Job would be recognized as a monster. So what if Job got a new family and animals? How could that possibly justify killing his first family? The story reflects what a nasty tribal war God the Jews of this time worshiped. I’m glad to say we have moved well beyond the morality of the Bible.