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Guð, Satan og þjáning Jobs (með inngangi um merkingu bókarinnar)

Þorkell @ 20.25 8/5/04

Ég er að undirbúa fyrirlestur um tengsl á milli Jobsbókar og kvikmyndarinnar Jude (1996). Við undirbúninginn rifjaði ég upp ritgerð sem ég skrifaði í námskeiði hjá Daniel Simundson. Ég verð að segja að ég er bara nokkuð ánægður með hana ennþá.

Ég ákvað því að birta hana hér á vefnum (sjá hér að neðan). Ritgerðin ætti einnig að vera sýnidæmi fyrir “trúleysingjana” um hverskonar kennsla fer fram í guðfræðinni.

Annars hafa margir velt því fyrir sér hver stóri boðskapur sögunnar um Job sé. Oft hefur verið bent á að verið sé að hafna kenningum spekiritanna um blessun hinna staðföstu í trúnni, en í ritunum er að finna þann boðskap að Guð blessaði þá sem höguðu sér vel og lifðu samkvæmt lögum hans (sbr. sálmur 1). Ég efast um þessa kenningu og sting frekar upp á því að ritið sé skrifað til að styrkja kenningu spekiritanna. Þegar menn fóru að gera sér grein fyrir því að saklaust fólk þjáðist þurfti að útskýra frávikið. Besta útskýringin er auðvitað sú að Guð prófi ást mannsins með reglulegu millibili. Réttlátir þjást því vegna prófrauna, ekki vegna þess að þeir brutu lög Guðs. Syndugir þjást hins vegar bæði vegna eigin synda og prófrauna Guðs.

En hér er sem sagt ritgerðin. Ég hef einfaldað umritanir á hebreskunni þar sem hefðbundin umritun skilar sér ekki rétt á vefnum. Njótið.




In most people’s minds, Satan is God’s enemy. Therefore it puzzles people when they read the prologue of the Book of Job where Satan and God seem to be on good terms in their plot on how to test Job by making him suffer. Quite naturally this has bothered many readers. Many of them are Jewish, Christian, or Muslim and their background tells them that Satan is the enemy of God. How could God be on such friendly terms with Satan himself?

In this short essay I will investigate the first heavenly (Job 1:6-12) scene and attempt to discover what Satan’s role is in it and why God is so willing to inflict suffering on his most faithful servant, Job. The Book of Job is a mysterious book and its message is not easily discerned. There are two reasons for this: 1) Many questions are not answered and 2) the Book of Job does not have a single message but many. Like any good book it deals with many questions at the same time. Therefore one can talk about a bigger message of the book, i.e. what the plot is all about, and many smaller questions that are dealt with inside the main plot.

I think that by investigating the heavenly scenes one can find the answer to one of the messages of the book. The key is found in the dialogue between Satan and God. There we do not only find out what is going to happen but also why it is happening. The author is telling us a parable about human existence and the necessity of it being that way.


This exegesis is divided into three chapters. First there is a short outline of the Book of Job, and description of its context and content. After that I discuss the text, verse by verse and finally there is a discussion of the message of the text.

The outline, context and content of the Book of Job
There is not much disagreement among scholars on the outline of the Book of Job. The text that I’m going to investigate belongs to the prologue (1:1-2:13). The three cycles of speeches between Job and his three friends extend from chapters 3-31. Then we have the speeches of Elihu in chapters 32-37 and the Lord’s answers in chapters 38:1-42:6. The book ends with an epilogue in 42:7-17.

The prologue tells the story of a perfect man, Job, who is blameless in every way and has God’s protection and blessing because of his piety (1:1-5). His fortune takes a turn after God and Satan have a conversation about Job. Satan suspects that Job’s good deeds are not due to his love to God but to a more practical matter. God is not too sure himself and therefore sends Satan to take everything away from Job to see if Job’s attitude toward God would change (1:6-12). Job loses his children and property but still he does not turn away from God (1:13-22). Then God and Satan take the experiment one step further and afflict him with a repulsive disease (2:1-6). Job still hangs in there and for seven days and seven nights he sits speechless with his three friends who came to comfort him (2:7-13).

After that time Job begins to crack and he wishes that he was dead (3). His remarks are not well taken by his friends and instead of comforting Job, his friends start to argue with him about suffering but he answers bitterly back (4-31). In the end of this argument Elihu, a young man, drops in and pours out his wisdom on the subject of suffering (32-37). Finally God answers Job’s complaints by telling him that he created the world and runs it in all its complexity and therefore Job should show God a bit more trust. Mankind cannot understand God’s ways and therefore they just have to hang in there in faith! (28-42:6) This answer satisfies Job and he gets everything he possessed back double and another 10 children, instead of the ones he lost (42:7-17).

No one knows who wrote the Book of Job or even when it was written (probably sometime between the 7th and the 2nd century BC) and therefore I see no reason to speculate on that. There were some similar stories written in the neighboring countries but these stories are not so much alike that one can say that the Book of Job was borrowed from them. It seems that similar ideas were popular in this area (Clines 1989: lix-lx).

There is a general agreement among scholars that the Book of Job came in to being in three stages. First there existed a story of Job, much similar to what we have in the prologue and epilogue. Then someone took that story and combined it with a poem that he wrote about Job’s conversation with his three friends and about God’s answer. The third stage is the Elihu speeches in chapters 32-37, which where added last (Simundson 1986: 23-24).

Recently though scholars have started to downplay the importance of these source theories and put more emphasis on the book as a whole. They have pointed out that there is less difference between the prologue and the poem than scholars have thought before. Clines says fore example: “The book as a whole is thus both a narrative and an argument, or, perhaps more precise, an argument set within the context of a narrative” (1989: xxxv). He continues arguing that the prologue and epilogue would not form a whole without the poem. “If the friends had merely sat in sympathetic silence with Job – which is all they do according to the prose narrative (2:13) – they would not have needed to offer sacrifices to atone for their foolish words (42:8)” (lviii). Clines is not rejecting that the story of Job might be older than the book. But the fact that the story is older does in no way demand that there where many authors. There might just as well be one author who used this ancient story as a frame to his poetry and plot. For more detailed argument see Clines 1989 lvii-iii.

Polzin also argued that “by removing the book’s inconsistencies, some scholars have succeeded in removing its message” (1977: 58). I agree with these views. A good scholar knows his limits and does not build his investigation on something he does not have. Since we don’t have any sources to the Book of Job but only the final form, then that is what we should investigate. Everything else is just nice speculation, nothing more!


The text printed in bold is taken from the The New Revised Standard Version translation of the Bible.

1:6 One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
One day: This is a common introduction in the OT (e.g. 1 Sam. 14:1; 2 Kgs 4:8, 11, 18). Here the sons of God come to present themselves before Yahweh. The text does not say how often something like that happened. Was it once a year or every day, i.e. was this one of the rare occasions when the sons of God came to present them selves before Yahweh or was it on one of many days. There is no straight answer in the book (or in the OT for that matter), but it seems that there is not a long time between the first and the second heavenly scene. These meetings might therefore have happened frequently.

The LORD: God’s name, Yahweh, is not often used in the Book of Job. It occurs 32 times in the book: 26 times in the Prologue (1-2) and Epilogue (42:7-17). Of the 6 times it occurs in the poem the storyteller uses it 5 times (38:1; 40:1, 3, 6; 42:1) as an introduction, i.e. “And the LORD said…” or “Then Job answered the LORD”. Only once does the name of God appear on the lips of a character in the poem, in Job’s answer to Zophar (12:9). Many scholars build their source theories on this fact and think that it proves that there are at least two different sources in the Book of Job.

Heavenly beings: Lit. sons of God(s) or son of God (bene’elohim) occurs in the OT in 3 different meanings; 1) heavenly beings, 2) Israelites or Israel and 3) the King (son of God, singular). In the Book of Job it is used about heavenly beings. The idea of God being a King with servants (heavenly being) around him was very popular in the Near East at that time. Hebrews most likely borrowed the idea from its neighbors. “Son of…” does not always mean family relation in Hebrew. It is also used to denote membership of a class or group. There is an interesting Ugarit parallel where “sons of god” is used as a title for minor gods (Haag 1977: 152-3, 157-8). It is striking that one never finds “sons of Yahweh” in the Old Testament. The fact that “Son of…” in Hebrew does not always mean family relation and that the expression is never combined with God’s name seems to indicate that the designation does not mean that Yahweh was their father. The idea that Yahweh had a wife or children is nowhere to be found in the OT, even though Hebrews believed in the existence of other gods. It is therefore more likely that “bene’elohim” refers to gods of lower status.

The belief in the existence of many divine beings occurs especially in the Psalms and related poetic literature (see Ps 29:1; 82; 89:6; Gen 6:2-4; Deut 32:43 (LXX) 1 Kings 22:19-23 and Isa 6). It represents a stage when the Hebrews found room for a pantheon in many ways similar to what is found in the Ugarit texts (Byrne 1992: 156). The Hebrews never worshiped these heavenly beings and they were always subordinate to Yahweh. The plural references in Genesis 1:26; 3:22 and 11:7 most likely reflect this belief. Later on after the Babylonian Exodus these heavenly beings became angels, due to influences from Zoroastrianism.

Lowell K. Handy (1993: 107-118) has investigated the heavenly scenes in the light of Ugaritic texts. He points out that even though there is no story in the Ugarit texts that closely parallels the opening of Job we do have sufficient information about the structure in the heavenly realm in the Ugarit texts that parallels the prologue of the Book of Job. “The Syro-Palestinian cosmos was perceived as a hierarchy, run on the basis of a city state bureaucracy which extended upward in to divine control.” (108) At the top was the King, El and the Queen Asherah. Next in rank under them were deities who had the work of running the world, each with their own sphere. These gods were extremely powerful. Next to them where the Craft-gods, highly specialized organizers of labor. The last in row where the messengers, who just did what they were told to do.

Handy thinks that the heaven in the prologue of the Book of Job is the heaven of Syria-Palestine. Yahweh is the highest authority and the sons of god(s) are deities of lower levels who are called to report to Yahweh. Satan is then of the 2nd or the 3rd rank of deities (see further the discussion about Satan later).

The heavenly scenes in the prologue are not the only place in the Book of Job where heavenly beings appear. But the problem is that there seems to be no systematic understanding of the nature or structure of the heavenly council. This can be seen from the diverse names that these minor gods have in the Book of Job. They are called God’s servants (‘abadim 4:18), messengers (malakim 4:18), holy ones (qedosim 5:1; 15:15), exalted ones (ramim 12:22) or sons of God (bene’elohim 38:7). Then there are troops (gedudim) in 19:12 and 25:3 (perhaps carriers of disease). The heavenly bodies are also God’s servants (31:26-28) and the stars seem to be alive (38:7). Last there is the council of God (sod) in 15:8. It is interesting that humans can turn to these heavenly beings and get them to act as a mediator on their behalf (5:1; 33:23).

God’s relationship to these heavenly beings is not one of harmony or love. They err and are not clean in God’s sight and therefore he distrusts, judges and condemns them (4:18; 15:15; 21:22; 25:5; see also Whybray 1996: 110).

Satan: The problem with investigating Satan is that people in the Jewish, Christian and Islamic worlds have prefixed ideas about who the Satan is. This idea is so indoctrinated in us that it is difficult to read a text where Satan appears without the later Jewish/Christina/Islamic Satan affecting our judgement and reading. On the other hand there is also the danger when one tries to be neutral that Satan’s image becomes too positive. The OT text is not precise in its description of the celestial Satan and therefore it leaves a considerable freedom for interpretation.

Last, but not least, our image of God has changed considerably from the time when the OT text was written. We don’t like the idea that evil comes from God and therefore we try to find a scapegoat to put the blame on (i.e. Satan). But the Hebrews where not so bothered with the idea that the all loving God could act hostile or even evil at times (see Brueggemann 1997: 317-403). The Hebrew God was more the God of feelings than of philosophy. Yahweh was a emotional God with a big heart, but also with a big temper, and he sometimes did things he later regretted. We have to remember this fact as we read on; the God of the OT is not as sterile as the God of the modern western world.

The meaning of the word “satan” is very diverse. The verb (occurs six times, Ps 38:21; 71:13; 109:4, 20, 29; Zech 3:1) usually means “to be hostile to, have animosity toward, be at enemy, accuse or slander”. Persons can also be called “satan” i.e. adversary, enemy, opponent. The noun occurs 26 times in the OT. Seven times it refers to terrestrial satan. The remaining 19 times refer to celestial satan. It is not always obvious whether to regard the noun “satan” as a designation of function or of character (Wanke 1997: 1268).

Terrestrial “satan”. This can be divided in to two categories. a) General enemies (Ps 38:21; 71:13; 109:6, 20, 29). It is used about David when the king of the Philistines has doubts abut him (1 Sam 29:4) and Solomon decides to build the temple because “there is neither adversary (satan) nor misfortune” (5:18 Heb. [5:4]) See also 2 Sam 19:23 [19:22] where David says: “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should today become an adversary (satan) to me?” b) Enemy in the service of God. In 1 Kgs 11:14, 23, 25 God sends Hadod and Rezon as adversaries (satan) of Solomon as a punishment for worshiping other gods.

Celestial satan: There are 4 passages that talk of celestial satan; Num 22:22, 32; Zech 3:1-2 and 1Chr 21:1 and Job 1-2. Three times (out of 19) satan is without definite article (in Num and 1Chr). In the OT satan seems always to be in the service of Yahweh and carries out his will. In Num 22:22, 32 God sends a heavenly being as an adversary (íªðªn) to kill the prophet Balaam. Thanks to Balaam’s donkey it never came to that. Here “satan” is not a name but a description of a function. The only place where “satan” seems to be used as a name is in 1Chr 21:1. There we read: “Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to count the people of Israel”. Later we learn that this was against the will of God, and David is punished for his wrongdoings (it is never explained why it was wrong to count the people of Israel).

It is interesting to compare this text with 2Sam 24:1 where the same story is told except here it is God that “incited David… [to] count the people of Israel” Hamilton (1992: 987) says that there are three possible explanations for this shift. 1) The Chronicler did not think such an act fitting of Yahweh. Hamilton points out that if that was the reason then the Chronicler would not have kept the story of the deceiving spirit in 2Chr 10:15, and others. 2) The Chronicler wanted to downplay Yahweh’s part because he wanted to paint a beautiful picture of the relationship between David and Yahweh (Yahweh’s chosen servant). 3) And the third explanation is this illustrates a later development in the faith, i.e. dualism.

What bothers me with these explanations is that they all assume that íªðªn is God’s opponent. If it were so then this would be the only place in the OT where he is God’s enemy. Everywhere else the celestial satan just carries out God’s will and punishments. Therefore I think there is a fourth possible explanation, namely the possibility that the Chronicler wanted to be more specific about who carried out the order. If satan is in God’s service then it makes little difference whether God or satan does it; the command originates from God and is therefore his doing.

In Zech 3:1-2 satan has a definite article, just as in the Book of Job; “hassatan”. Lit. one would then translate “the Adversary”. By translating it in this way we get the emphasis on the heavenly beings role but never hear his name. This “messenger” has the duty of being the Adversary or the Accuser of mankind. In Zech 3:1-2 “the Adversary” (hassatan) stands at the right hand of Joshua the high priest to accuse (satan) him. God becomes angry and rebukes the Adversary for accusing the high priest. There are many difficulties here. 1) is the Accuser one of God’s messengers? 2) Did the accuser not know that God’s punishment was over and that now was the time of mercy? Was he acting on his own account or had God just changed his mind (like in Num 22 when God sent Balaam on his way but later changed his mind and then got angry because Balaam went on his way!)? There are no clear answers in the text but what is important is that the Adversary obeys God and does not transgress his limits. He is, at least to certain degree, submissive to God.

But what of satan in Job 1-2? There satan is also with a definite article, i.e. the Adversary. We never hear the name of this heavenly being, only description of his function or character (from now on I will not call him Satan, but rather the Adversary. I think that translation is more accurate because it underlines that this heavenly being has no name, only description of function). The Adversary is one of the sons of God who came to present themselves before God. The text does not say very much about the Adversary, even though the first two chapters in Job are the most detailed description of the celestial Adversary in the OT. But one can try to make some intellectual guessing, built on the little information we have. It is obvious that the Adversary is one of Yahweh’s servants and most likely he come to give reports to the “King”.

But to whom is he an adversary and in what way? There is no hostility in the dialog between God and the Adversary. They are simply chatting about God’s creation, i.e. mankind. Why does God ask the Adversary if he has seen Job, and how perfect he is? Could it be that the Adversary had the responsibility of spying on people and find faults, or as Handy calls him “Officer Satan” (1993: 109)?

The text is not clear about it, but it is a big possibility. Why would God talk to the Adversary about Job on reports-day if it is not in some way connected to what the Adversary was to give reports on? The Adversary was most likely not going to give reports on Job (because he had no sins) but since God brought it up it is the Adversary’s duty to tell his mind. If he is the Adversary of mankind then it is his duty is to find faults with mankind and doubt their sincerity. But that is not his only responsibility, he also carries out the punishment Yahweh finds fitting to the crime or, as in the Book of Job, a suitable test. The text does not say if this “angel” was the only Adversary of mankind (i.e. the one who carries out justice) or if there where many of them. We also don’t know from the story if this heavenly being is mankind’s Adversary or only Job’s by reason of this episode. Clines thinks that he is only called the Adversary because of his function in the story: “the Satan, in short, is Job’s adversary; from the point of view of the action, more so than Yahweh, but from the point of view of the ethics, less so than Yahweh” (1989: 20). But Clines goes further that that. Just as Gibson he thinks that the sons of God are manifestations of God’s personality and that the Adversary is personification of God’s doubts about Job (Clines 1989: 22) or as Gibson put it: “He represents an aspect of God’s providence: that side of him which for whatever reason visits suffering upon human beings; that side of him which is responsible for the evil and tragedy which afflict the lives of men” (1985: 12).

The problem with the theory of Clines and Gibson is that they don’t put enough weight on other texts in the OT where we find the heavenly court as a natural phenomenon, not as an inner psychological argument of Yahweh. The Hebrews never stopped believing in the existence of the heavenly court and I see therefore no reason why this text ought to be any different from the other texts or not in harmony with the Hebrew belief. Also it does not take in account the comparative material we have from the neighboring countries.

Handy has investigated the Ugarit texts and he thinks that the activity of the Adversary “conforms to what would be expected of a relatively good deity of a divine level lower than Highest Authority… whose duty is to patrol the universe for those who break the rule of the cosmic authority of Yahweh” (1993:108-109). Handy goes on by pointing out that while the Adversary works for God he is “allowed to take on a project without absolute control enforced upon it by Yahweh; therefore, we clearly are not dealing with a member of the lowest level of divinities, but instead with one of the craft-gods or active patron deities levels” (110). He also argues that it is quite common in the Urgaritic texts that deities made comments to their superiors, and not at all inappropriate (Handy 1993: 117).

If Handy is right then the Adversary is simply doing his job! There is always a danger of bringing extra meaning to the text when one compares it to a text of a different time or religion and therefore such comparisons are always guessing games, but still I fined Handy’s idea quite appealing, more so than Clines and Gibson.

1:7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.

Where have you come from? God asks the heavenly being to give a report. It is idle to speculate whether God did not know what the Adversary had been doing. Both cases can be argued and in the end it makes no difference to the story whether God knew or not. What is important is that this question opens a way for what follows.

From going to and fro on the earth: Pope and Habel see some wordplay here between “swt” and “stn” but I find it far-fetched. There is little sound similarity in these two words. Their idea that the Adversaries waking has some evil intend, like an evil eye or hungry lion does not fit either (Habel 1985: 89; Pope 1965: 11). Clines points out that the words used in the Adversaries reply are common words used about walking or going (1989: 23), (for “swt” see Num 11:8, 2Sam 24:8; Jer 5:1; Amos 8:12; 2Chr 16:9; Ezek 27:8, 26; and Zech 4:10). The sentence just means that the Adversary has been doing his job, i.e. setting his mind upon human affairs.

1:8 The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil”
Here God confirms what the storyteller told in the beginning. Job is perfect and sinless. He does not deserve what is going to happen to him. This point is so important to the storyteller that he tells it three times, in the beginning, here and in the beginning of the 2. chapter. The reader should be in no doubt that Job is innocent.

But is Yahweh boasting? Why does he invite the Adversary to consider him? Scholars who interpret God’s and the Adversaries dialog as a bet or see the Adversary as an adversary by nature (not by function) usually understand it that way (Pope 1965: 11-12). I disagree. Is it not natural that God is pleased to find a perfect, upright man? Yahweh punishes the wicked, so why should he not praise the virtuous? It’s not the first time in the OT where God searches for a righteous man (Gen 6:8-9 and Jer 5:1-5).

The Adversary is the right person to ask if he has noticed Job because if anyone would have noticed Job then it would be “officer Satan”. But there is no reason to doubt that the Adversary would take pleasure in finding a honest and upright man. Just like any officer his work is to uphold justice and doubt. The best comparison to the modern time might be Starr. They both have in common to take their job very seriously.

Considered: Literally “have you set your (the) heart on my servant”. The thoughts were in the heart so God is asking the Adversary if he has considered Job, or better, if Job has caught his attention.

My servant: This is a title of honor and by this designation Job is in company with OT persons such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Isaiah and other prophets of God. The term designates the relation of the weaker partner to the stronger in a covenant. Job serves God well by doing his will and is therefore not God’s enemy but a loving servant.

1:9-10 Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
Murphy says that this is one of the most important questions in the Bible. Why do we love God? (1998: 762). This question has to be asked because it is the central issue of the book There are three possibilities for Job’s “virtuous” life. 1) Job knows that if he is good then God will bless him and therefore he lives a pious life, i.e. he does it to get something in return. 2) God has been good to Job and Job is simply thanking him for the blessings. He is a thankful and happy receiver. 3) Job’s love is genuine and pure.

The question is most likely not ill meant. The Adversary does not know Job’s true motive. He sees him as a man who has not been tested and therefore it would be wrong to say that he is perfect. As we will see later God agrees with the Adversary.“

Fear God for nothing: In the second Heavenly scene God will admit that he has destroyed him without cause. There the same word “hinnam” is used. It is interesting that God would use the same word. They are testing whether or not Job loves God for nothing but the first test is for nothing.

Fence around him: The image of the hedge is used to describe how safe Israel is in Canaan from surrounding enemies (Ps 80:12; Isa 5:1-7 and 2Sam 7:1, 10) and it is also used to describe the firmament that holds back the primal chaos, to prevent it from covering the earth again (Gen 1:6-9; Ps 104:5-9; 148:6 and Job 38:8-11). Job has been well protected!

You have: Some scholars interpret the emphatic on “you” as the Adversary criticizing God for making Job’s piety too easy but Clines rejects that and thinks that it is “to affirm the absolute security afforded Job” (1989: 26). I agree with him.

Blessed the work of his hands: A blessing from God in the OT is not an abstract or a spiritual thing but secular and down to earth. It is experienced in numerous descendants, land ownership, large herds, wealth, long life, and fertility of cattle and field. There was a close connection between blessing and obedience at the time of the OT. The righteous were granted blessing but the godless with misfortune (Wehmeier 1997: 277-279). Everything that Job did was successful, gave profit and flourished. He was not just promised a rose garden, he lived in it!

1:11 But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face”.
Job has never been tested and therefore the law of retribution is possibly not perfect. There might be a crack there that has to be fixed. This reminds me of the teachings of Jesus that it is not enough to do what is right, the motive behind it also has to be pure. The difference is that the God of the OT does not seem to know people’s motives, unlike the God of the NT. The only way to test Job’s motives is by change of fortunes, and that is exactly what the Adversary suggests. The Adversary is quite pessimistic toward mankind and seems to have little faith in it. He is convinced that Job (the perfect man) will fail the test.

Because of our Jewish/Christian/Islamic background we tend to read negative feelings into the Adversaries remark. The Adversary either hopes that Job will fail, or he is doing this to get a chance to make Job suffer, i.e. The Adversary is a sadist! We have to be careful when we read an ancient text like this not to let later characterization of the Adversary influence our reading. There is not much in the text that suggests that the Adversary has some hidden agenda. He is not bullying God and he is not making a bet. If this was a bet then the Adversary would appear again in the epilogue and admit his defeat. But that does not happen. He simply disappears after doing his job. There are serious crises in heaven and something has to be done. The doubter (the Adversary) doubts and God thinks that he might be right. Something has to be done and the Adversary has the best idea. It has to be put to the test and the best way to do it is to take everything away.

But stretch out your hand now and touch: Hand (yad) is one of the most frequently represented words in the OT, with 1618 occurrences. Hand or hands (dual) occurs 53 times in the Book of Job (van der Woude 1997: 497-498). Hand is a symbol of God’s power or strength (Exod 3:20; 9:15; 13:3; Deut 4:34; 1Chr 29:12). To put forth the hand conveys two ideas. 1) to attack or 2) a yearning for the Lord (Alexander 1992: 363). “Touch” is the literal translation but the meaning is “smite”. The Adversary suggests to God that he takes everything away from Job. It is interesting that the Adversary does not ask for permission to do it himself.

Curse you to your face: Lit. the Hebrew says bless (brk in Piel). From the context one can see that the Adversary thinks Job will do something bad, anything else than bless God. Scholars don’t know why the author didn’t just write “curse” if that was what he wanted to say. All we have are just some educated guesses. One is that the author or later copyists “softened potentially blasphemous language” due to religious sensitivity about God’s name. It was considered as “disrespect and irreverence” to link the verb “curse” with God (Simundson 1986: 35). Now there are instances in the OT where God is the object of a verb “curse”, namely in the prohibitions (Lev 24:15 and 1Sam 3:13 txt?) so for some reason the Hebrews where not so sensitive there. But there is another problem with this explanation. Why would the writer (or the copyists) use the verb bless when he had many other verbs to choose from with a softer negative meaning like “reject”, “turn a way from” and so on?

Another suggestion is that this is just an irony, where one thing is said but something else is meant (Habel 1985: 90) or a wordplay (Cooper 1990: 76-77). There are 7 cases where “brk” (piel) is used in a negative meaning; 1 Kgs 21:10, 13; Job 1:5, 11; 2:5, 9 and Ps 10:3. Irony could possibly explain Job 1:11; 2:5 and 9, but it is difficult to see an irony or wordplay in the rest of the cases. There is for example no irony or wordplay in Jezebel’s false accusations against Naboth, saying that he had cursed God (blessed God). The fact that negative meaning of blessing is used elsewhere in the OT without irony or as a wordplay seems to me to indicate that there is some other reason for its use.

The third suggestion is that “brk” was used in taking leave, hence “bid farewell to” or “renounce”. Clines rejects this suggestion on the basis that it “is unsupported by clear evidence” in the OT. (1989: 4). There is no question that “brk” was used as a greeting, to bid farewell in Arabic, Ugaritic and Hebrew (Keller 1997 266-271), see for example Gen28:1; 32:1; 47:10; Josh 26:6-7 and 2Sam 13:25; 19:40. The problem is that all these places are positive and never in the meaning “to renounce” someone. If this third theory is true then these negative blessing texts would be the only places in the OT where they have that meaning.

In the end we have to admit that we really don’t know why “brk” is used in a negative meaning here. What we can be sure of is that the meaning is supposed to be bad and flagrant. The Adversary thinks that Job will not curse/reject/turn a way from God secretly in his heart but openly so God can see.

1:12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not stretch out your hand against him.” So Satan went out from presence of the LORD.
The Adversary is sent to do the dirty work, but in God’s name. So in reality it is God that does this. This we see in 2:3 and in the end of the book. God never excuses himself by putting the blame on the Adversary and Job and his friends never suspect anyone else acting than God. They know of other heavenly servants but they just do God’s bidding. The text never says that the Adversary took pleasure in or rejoiced God’s decision. Silence in a text can tell us just as much as statements. If the author wanted us to think that the Adversary took pleasure in Job’s suffering then I’m sure he would have stated that.

If God knew the outcome then he would be an unfeeling tyrant playing with his subjects just to prove his point. He didn’t even try to argue or reason with the Adversary. Most likely God did not know the outcome but he had to know and as Murphy put it “Is there any way of knowing that a love is genuine except by its being tested?” (1998: 763).

Is in thy power… stretch out your hand: Here we have the same word in Hebrew, i.e. “yad” (hand). See comment on previous verse.

Only do not stretch out your hand against him: God does not want to go all the way. Maybe we can see some kind of love in this. If Job would have been weaker and if Yahweh would have gone all the way in the beginning (touched his bone and flesh) then he would have made Job’s suffering more than was necessary (of course it can be argued that the loss of his children is worse than sickness but that is another story).

It is interesting that the Adversary only does what God commands, neither more nor less. He is only carrying out God’s command. Later though God will put some of the blame on the Adversary, when he says that the Adversary has “incited” him against Job “to destroy him for no reason” (2:3). But how much of an accusation is that? I think that one can find more regret on God’s part in this sentence than accusation against the Adversary. Or maybe there is no regret in these words at all; as Clines says (1989: 43):

In reminding the Satan that he “urged” Yahweh to “destroy” Job, Yahweh is by no means repudiating responsibility for Job’s former frail (Peake), nor giving him credit for instigating the experiment (Pope). Rather, Yahweh invites the Satan’s agreement to the apparent success of the experiment in which the Satan and Yahweh have together been indicated.

Here we have, once again, an example of how difficult it can be to read an old texts, especially when one of the characters has undergone a drastic change from a heavenly servant to an arch enemy. It is especially difficult when you don’t know where between these two extremes the character of this story is. I personally think that the Adversary did not have any hidden agenda in his suggestions. He had a reasonable doubt and that doubt was too serious to dismiss.

It is important to remember that we are not dealing with a story about what really happened but rather a fable or a fairytale. Some aspects of a fables or a fairytales are immoral but to emphasize them is totally wrong. Lets take an example. Cinderella is never asked if she wants to marry the prince. The prince simply gives the order that the woman who fits the shoe will be his wife. He just assumes that she wants to marry him! And why didn’t he send some description of her face? I mean, there have to be many girls in a big kingdom that use the same shoe size. A face description would be a better guide (or did he not remember her face???). And again, why didn’t he go himself. If he loved her so much then one would expect that he would not let his servants do the job.

Anyone who reads the story this way is of course missing the point. The same goes for the Book of Job. It is simply missing the point of the story to argue that is was morally wrong of God to kill Job’s children to test him. The story is about a perfect man who falls from the highest to the lowest. Who loses everything that is important. Take away the children and the drama is gone!

Just as I suggested in the beginning, there are many messages in the Book of Job but I think that the message of the first heavenly scene is that our love to God should not be business-like. If one keeps strictly to the law of retribution then there is a danger that to love God loses its meanings. It will simply be practical to “love” him. The “lover” will be like a salesman who puts on a smiling face (even though he might hate you) because he sees profits in you. God wants us to love him sincerely, not because we benefit from it.

The problem with the law of retribution is that if God is obliged to reward good with good then he can not test his subjects? He is stuck and forced to live in ignorance of mankind’s motives. That of course would not work and therefore God is forced to test man and women some time in their life. We could also look at it from another aspect. Do we always know how deep our love goes? Maybe the test is just as important to us as it is to God, so we know where we stand. If we find out that our house is build on sand then we at least get an opportunity to build our faith on a stronger foundation.

Is suffering then good for us? The answer to this is both yes and no. Nothing in the world grows without difficulties. I remember once when I went to the Icelandic Horticultural College in Hveragerði (in Iceland). There they grew bananas in a big greenhouse and in it they also had a coffee tree. I had noticed another coffee tree in another greenhouse that was not as warm as this one. That coffee tree had a lot of coffee beans but the one in the banana greenhouse had almost no coffee beans. I asked the guide for the reason for this and got the answer that the tree in the banana greenhouse was feeling too good! I think that the same goes for man. No adversity and too much adversity is not good for us. Of course we don’t experience difficulties as a blessing when they occur, but rather as a punishment just like Job in 7:17-18.

By saying this I’m not suggesting that we should go looking for trouble. Life has all the difficulties we need. I’m not either suggesting that all difficulties are good for us. Some people seem to get more than they can handle. But most often the difficulties we encounter can be a great lesson to us, if we try to solve it and learn from it.

Janzen says that it is “too rational and intellectual… and divorced from the dynamics of human development” to say that mankind ought to love God no matter what (1985: 40). But I wonder if it has to be one without with out the other. What if we ought to love God just like we love our friend or wife? We love them because of themselves, because they are loveable. We don’t love them or give them something (at least we should not) because we expect them to do something in return. We are simply in love and we want to express it. But here is the tricky part. We always get something in return, at least if they are our friends or if our wife loves us. But that was not why we did it; what we got in return was just a nice bonus.

I thinks that man’s love to God should be stronger and purer than his love to another human being. It should be like Abraham’s love, who was ready to sacrifice his dream for his love to God. There we have another example of God testing human motives. Just like Abraham our love to God ought to be absolute. We just can’t help it, we are driven by our love to God. As a nice bonus we get God’s blessings in return. A friend of mine once told me that this kept him awake at nights. How can we love God selflessly if we know already that God will bless us instead? I think that our love will never be 100% pure, there will always be some selfishness there but I think it decreases as our faith increases, and that is what is important. The author wants to point out that there are many reasons for difficulties (and the law of retribution is far from being the only one) but if we trust in God then our hardship might bring us closer to our Lord and increase our faith.

The heaven in the prologue is most likely the Syro-Palestinian heaven. The Adversary is just one of God’s servants who most likely has the responsibility to investigate mankind’s actions and give a report to God about their wrong-doings. He then had to return to earth to carry out God’s punishments or tests.

God and the Adversary are not gambling with Job. God needs to know why Job loves him. Job had never been tested and therefore it could very well be that he has just been using God. The God of the OT is not the all-knowing God of the NT. He is a passionate God who forms passionate relationships and demands passionate responses.

The author is telling us a parable about human suffering. Human suffering is not always a punishment, it is also sometimes a test to see how deep our love goes. If we go through this test in faith and trust in God it might be a blessing to us in the end. Like Job we just might say “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (42:5).

Alexander, Ralph L. 1992. “Yad” Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Volume 1. Pages 362-364. Edt. Harris, R. Laird. Moody Press, Chicago.

Brueggermann, Walter. 1997. Theology of the Old Testament. Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy. Fortress Press, Minneapolis.

Byrne, Brendan. 1992. “Sons of God” The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Volume 6, si-z. Pages 156-159. Edt. in Chief Freedman, Dacid Noel. Doubleday, New York.

Clines, David J. A. 1989. Job 1-20; Word Biblical Commentary Volume 17. Word Books, Publisher. Dallas, Texas.

Cooper, Alan. 1990. “Reading and Misreading the Prologue to Job” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 46. Pages 67-79.

Gibson, John C. L. 1985. Job. The Daily Study Bible (Old Testament). The Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh.

Haag, H. 1977. “ben” Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Volume II bdl-galah. Revised Edition. Pages 145-159. Edt. Botterweck, G. Johannes and Ringgren, Helmer. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Habel, Norman C. 1985. The Book of Job. A Commentary. The Old Testament Library. The Westminster Press. Philadelphia.

Hamilton, Victor P. 1992. “Satan” The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Volume 5, 0-sh. Pages 985-989. Edt. in Chief Freedman, Dacid Noel. Doubleday, New York.

Handy, Lowell, K. 1993. “The Authorization of Divine Power And the Guilt of God in The Book of Job: Useful Ugaritic Parallels” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 60. Pages 107-118.

Janzen, J. Gerald. 1985. Job. Interpretation. A bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. John Knox Press. Atlanta.

Keller, C. A. 1997. “brk pi” Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament. Volume 1 ’ab-hnp. Pages 266-276. Edt. Jenni, Ernst and Westermann, Claus. Hendrickson Puclishers, Massachusetts.

Murphy, Ronald E. 1998. “Job“ The International Bible Commentary. A Catholic and Ecumenical Commentary for the Twenty-First Century, Pages 758-778. Edt. Farmer, William R. The Liturgical Press. Collegeville, Minnesota.

New Revised Standard Version Bible. 1989. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Polzin, Robert. 1977. “Biblical Structuralism: Method and Subjectivity in the Study of Ancient Texts” Semeia Supplements. Fortress, Philadelphia.

Pope, Marvin H. 1965. Job. Introdution, Translation and Notes. The Anchor Bible. Doubleday & Company, Inc. New York.

Simundson, Daniel J. 1986. The message of Job. A Theological Commentary. Augsburg Old Testament Studies. Augsburg Publishing House. Minneapolis.

van der Woude, A. S. 1997. “Yad” Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament. Volume 2 hesed-siyyon. Pages 497-502. Edt. Jenni, Ernst and Westermann, Claus. Hendrickson Puclishers, Massachusetts.

Wanke, G. 1997. “Satan” Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament. Volume 3 slh-telapim. Pages 1268-1269. Edt. Jenni, Ernst and Westermann, Claus. Hendrickson Puclishers, Massachusetts.

Wehmeier, G. 1997. “brk pi” Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament. Volume 1 ’ab-hnp. Pages 276-282. Edt. Jenni, Ernst and Westermann, Claus. Hendrickson Puclishers, Massachusetts.

Whybray, R. N. 1996. “The Immorality of God: Reflections on some Passages in Genesis, Job, Esodus and Numbers” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 72. Pages 89-120.

url: http://thorkell.annall.is/2004-05-08/20.25.31/


Fjöldi 22, nýjasta neðst

Gunnlaugur @ 8/5/2004 21.21

Ég fagna því Keli að sjá þessa ritgerð á nýjan leik. Mér er minnistætt hve mjög dr. Daniel Simundson prófessor emerítus frá Luther Seminary í St. Paul, Minnesota, hrósaði henni í mín eyru. Ekki stóð til að gefa einkunnir fyrir ritgerðir í námskeiði hans haustið 1999 heldur aðeins ’staðið’ eða ‘fallið’ en Daniel sagðist gjarnan vilja fá að gefa einkunn fyrir þessa ritgerð og einkunnin var 10,0!

Þorkell @ 23/5/2004 22.25

Birgir segir á öðrum stað: “Í nútímanum gengur fræðimennska út á hrekja bábiljur og efla þekkingu á staðreyndum. Mér sýnist á ritgerð Þorkells að fræðimennskan gangi út á bókmenntalega analísu á bókum Biblíunnar. Það er allt í fínu með það, en eftir stendur að hvergi eru fullyrðingar ritsins um staðreyndir dregnar í efa eða hraktar. Það segir líka ýmislegt að innan þessarar deildar útskrifast menn bókstaflega sem fræðingar í bábiljunum sem þeir eiga að vera að hrekja og fá réttindi til að boða glundrið.

Ef fræðimennska guðfræðideildarinnar gengur mest út á bókmenntalegar túlkanir ætti hún heima sem sérkúrsar innan bókmenntafræðanna. Prestsiðnnámið á einfaldlega ekki heima innan veggja háskóla.

Þorkell @ 23/5/2004 22.31

Hér eru mín svör.

Birgir segir: “Í nútímanum gengur fræðimennska út á hrekja bábiljur og efla þekkingu á staðreyndum.”

Ég veit ekki betur en að ég sé að hrekja þá “bábilju” (þ.e. röngu túlkunarhefð) að þarna sé um sömu tvíhyggju og hugmyndafræði að ræða og síðar finnst í kristninni. Að sá Satan sem þarna finnst sé ekki sá Satan sem kristnir menn tala um í dag, heldur eitthvað allt annað. Ég bendi einnig á helling af “staðreyndum” máli mínu til stuðnings. Vísa í trúarhugmyndir nágrannaþjóða, rannsóknir um þróun hugmynda manna um Satan o.s.frv.

Þorkell @ 23/5/2004 22.37

Birgir segir: “Mér sýnist á ritgerð Þorkells að fræðimennskan gangi út á bókmenntalega analísu á bókum Biblíunnar.”

Nú veit ég ekki hversu mikið Birgir kann í bókmenntafræði en bókmenntafræði er þetta ekki. Ég beiti ekki einni einustu aðferð bókmenntafræðinnar. Ef svo sé mætti Birgir endilega benda mér á hana. Ég rýni hins vegar í textann sem liggur til grundvallar, en það eitt gerir þetta ekki að bókmenntafræði, ekkert frekar en að fornleifafræðingar eða sagnræðingar eru bókmenntafræðingar þegar þeir rýna í gamlan texta og reynir að átta sig á heimsmyndinni að baki. Hins vegar læra guðfræðingar einnig að greina rit Biblíunnar út frá bókmenntafræði og getur það vissulega verið hjálplegt á stundum. Þetta er hins vegar ekki dæmi um það.

Þorkell @ 23/5/2004 22.45

Birgir segir: “en eftir stendur að hvergi eru fullyrðingar ritsins um staðreyndir dregnar í efa eða hraktar.”

Ég held að það sé ljóst af skrifum mínum að ég tel þetta vera dæmisögu og að þessi atburður hafi í raun aldrei gerst. Ég tala einnig um ritið eins og það sé skrifað af manni, ekki Guði. Hins vegar er markmið mitt að útskýra upprunalega merkingu þessara versa, ekki að ræða um það hvort Guð eða Satan séu til. Það er einfaldlega efni í allt aðra ritgerð.

Þorkell @ 23/5/2004 22.52

Birgir segir: “Það segir líka ýmislegt að innan þessarar deildar útskrifast menn bókstaflega sem fræðingar í bábiljunum sem þeir eiga að vera að hrekja og fá réttindi til að boða glundrið… Prestsiðnnámið á einfaldlega ekki heima innan veggja háskóla.”

Ég hef svarað flestu hér að framan en vil bara benda á að ég hef ekki rétt til að starfa sem prestur þótt ég sé menntaður í guðfræði. Ég tók aðra braut innan guðfræðinnar. Það er því rangt að kalla guðfræðina prestanám eða eitthvað slíkt.

Þá eru þeir sem eru með embættispróf í guðfræði engu minni fræðimenn en þeir sem hafa t.d. B.A. eða M.A. próf. Að lokum vil ég benda á að réttindi til starfa innan kirkjunnar eru ekki sjálfgefin því þeir sem hyggja á störf sem djáknar eða prestar innan kirkjunnar þurfa að taka starfsþjálfun á vegum kirkjunnar.

Birgir Baldursson @ 24/5/2004 14.02

Hins vegar er markmið mitt að útskýra upprunalega merkingu þessara versa, ekki að ræða um það hvort Guð eða Satan séu til.

Ég biðst forláts, gaf mér að það væri bókmenntafræðilegt að taka dæmisögu og ráða í hana og túlka. En hvað sem því líður ertu að setja orð mín í rangt samhengi hér að ofan. Þú bentir mér nefnilega á þessa ritgerð sem dæmi um hve fræðilegt guðfræðinámið væri og það sem ég síðan sé er útlegging á einni af bókum Biblíunnar en ekki orð um grundvallarstoðir guðfræðinnar. Svör mín ber því að les í ljósi þess að ef fræðimennskan snýst aðeins um þetta, þá er ekki von til að þarna komist menn nokkurn tíma að hinu sanna um þær hugmyndir sem liggja fræðunum til grundvallar.

Þegar ég tala um að hvergi séu fullyrðingar ritsins um staðreyndir dregnar í efa á ég ekki við ritgerðina þína heldur námið þarna í heild sinni. Athugaðu að sá þráður fjallaði um hvort guðfræðin væri gamaldags og ég er allan tíman að ræða um hana sem fræðigrein…

Birgir Baldursson @ 24/5/2004 14.06

…en ekki að tala um ritgerðina þína.

Þá eru þeir sem eru með embættispróf í guðfræði engu minni fræðimenn en þeir sem hafa t.d. B.A. eða M.A. próf.

Jamm, fræðingar í túlkunum á Biblíunni. En fræðimennskan nær ekki til þess að meta og gagnrýna sannleiksgildi Biblíunnar og þeirra hugmynda sem liggja þar að baki. Það er einmitt það sem ég er alltaf að gagnrýna þegar ég segi deildina vera verndaðan vinnustað og úreltan. Það vantar þetta krúsíal atriði í fræðimennskuna.

Og það sýnir sig best á því að fræðingarnir úr guðfræðideildinni fara oftar en ekki og boða goðsögurnar sem sannleik, þótt þeir eigi að vita betur.

Þorkell @ 24/5/2004 15.01

Auðvitað er þetta bara ein tegund ritgerðar Birgir, þar sem reynt er að öðlast skilning á trúarhugmyndum hebrea fyrir tíma Krists. Guðfræðin er nefnilega vítt svið sem fæst við allt frá fornleifafræði til sálgæslu. Og þar á milli eru kúrsar þar sem rætt er um “sannleiksgildi Biblíunnar og þeirra hugmynda sem liggja þar að baki.”

Það eru nokkrir slíkir kúrsar en þeir eru nokkuð ítarlegir og get ég sagt þér það Birgir að margir trúmenn hafa misst trúna við að fara í gegnum þá. Þeir reyndu t.d. mjög á trú mína, þótt ég sé ekki kristinar trúar. Ástæðan fyrir því að þessir kúrsar reyna svona á trú manna er sú að oftar en ekki er trúin byggð á veikum stoðum, stoðum sem standast ekki fræðilega gagnrýni, stoðum sem koma í veg fyrir fræðileg vinnubrögð. Þessum stoðum þarf því að ryðja úr vegi. Annars finnst mér vera kominn tími á að þið sendið fulltrúa í guðfræðideildina í nokkra valda kúrsa (ég skal glaður mæla með nokkrum) og tjáið ykkur síðan um deildina að því loknu.

Birgir Baldursson @ 24/5/2004 16.07

Skoðum aðeins orð Frelsarans á Vantrú:

Til að útiloka alla gagnrýni á kristni virðist nú vera skilyrði að menn hafi full grænsápuréttindi til að tjá sig. Vissulega mega leikmenn og lærðir skrifa jákvæða umfjöllun þar sem gamlir leyfðir frasar eru endurteknir í sí og æ á barnalegan hátt. En sömu fræðimenn fá jafnvel kast þegar vegið er að ritningunni. Ásaka viðkomandi gagnrýnanda umsvifalaust um þekkingarleysi á “djúpvitrum” ritningartextanum. Þannig reynir kirkjan í nútímasamfélagi að breiða yfir heimskuna sem fylgir því að byggja alla sína trú á einni gamalli bók.

Það er ágætt að menn skrifi heilu bókaflokkanna um fornbókmenntir. En þegar tilgangurinn er sá að upphefja gamla blóðfórnartrú sem nútíma sannleik þá er því miður botninum náð í allri fræðimennsku.

Þetta er bæði satt og rétt. Hver sá sem fer í gegnum guðfræðideild ætti að komast að þessari sömu niðurstöðu; að óverjandi sé að hampa gömlum ranghugmyndum sem djúpum sannleika sem aðeins…

Birgir Baldursson @ 24/5/2004 16.14

…útvaldir geti höndlað og skilið. Slíkt er einfaldlega eðli Biblíutextans. En þegar kemur að þessu atriði virðist eins og slökkt sé á allri gagnrýninni hugsun og menn fara að hegða sér eins og æðstuprestar hjá frumstæðum þjóðflokkum. Guðfræðinámið er eins og leyniregla, launhelgar tignaðar og menn lítandi á sjálfa sig sem djúpvitra útvalda stétt helgra manna.

Hver sá sem skoðar helgiritin með gagnrýnu hugarfari sér í hendi sér að þeir eru einungis börn síns tíma, lýsa heimsmynd sem fáfróðir hirðingjar bjuggu að og boða í bland harðneskulegt þrælasiðferði.

Hvað veldur því að menn koma trúaðir út úr þessari deild?

Þorkell @ 24/5/2004 22.59

Birgir segir: “Guðfræðinámið er eins og leyniregla, launhelgar tignaðar og menn lítandi á sjálfa sig sem djúpvitra útvalda stétt helgra manna.”

Auðvitað mega og geta allir túlkað trúarrit en er ekki líklegra að þeir sem hafa hlotið menntun í slíkum fræðum hafi réttara fyrir sér en ómenntaður eða illa lesinn einstaklingur, rétt eins og á við um öll fræðasvið. Myndir þú t.d. frekar treysta menntuðum sálfræðingi, sagnfræðingi eða fornleifafræðingi en áhugamanni eða grúskara Birgir?

Og auðvitað lýsir Biblían heimsmynd sem er “barn síns tíma”. Þú færð fáa guðfræðinga til að neita því Birgir.

Birgir Baldursson @ 25/5/2004 00.17

Ég get alveg treyst guðfræðingum til að vera með uppruna og merkingu sagna í Biblíunni á hreinu já. En á ég að treysta því að guðfræðingar hafi réttara fyrir sér en aðrir um t.d. líf eftir dauðann? Eða hvernig heimurinn er í raun samsettur? Hvernig í ósköpunum getur það verið skynsamlegt? Ekki reyna að segja mér að guðfræðin snúist ekki um slíkt, því þessir hlutir eru einmitt það sem fræðingarnir úr guðfræðideild telja sig vita og boða miskunnarlaust, þótt þeir eigi, í krafti fræðimennsku sinnar, að vita betur.

Meira um þetta hér.

Þorkell @ 25/5/2004 00.39

Kæri Birgir. Ég get fullvissað þig um að ég lærði aldrei neitt um þessa hluti í guðfræðinámi mínu. Hins vegar lærði ég ýmsar sköpunarhugmyndi, bæði í Biblíunni sem og í öðrum trúarbrögðum. Ég lærði einnig um hugmyndir hinna ýmsu trúarbragða um lífið eftir dauðann, þ.m.t. hebrea (Gamla testamentið) og kristinna manna (Nýja testamentið). Hins vegar var mér aldrei kennt að ein þessara kenninga væri réttari en önnur eða sannleikur yfir höfuð.

Það er sem ég segi. Þið þurfið að fara að skrá ykkur í guðfræðina og kynnast henni af raun.

Birgir Baldursson @ 25/5/2004 01.03

Þorkell segir:

Það eru nokkrir slíkir kúrsar en þeir eru nokkuð ítarlegir og get ég sagt þér það Birgir að margir trúmenn hafa misst trúna við að fara í gegnum þá. [...] Ástæðan fyrir því að þessir kúrsar reyna svona á trú manna er sú að oftar en ekki er trúin byggð á veikum stoðum, stoðum sem standast ekki fræðilega gagnrýni, stoðum sem koma í veg fyrir fræðileg vinnubrögð.

Og svo segir hann:

Hins vegar var mér aldrei kennt að ein þessara kenninga væri réttari en önnur eða sannleikur yfir höfuð.

Er það ég, eða stangast þetta á? Af hverju missa menn trúna í guðfræðideildinni ef sannleiksgildi kenninganna er ekki gagnrýnt? Hvað er þá gagnrýnt svo mjög?

Þorkell @ 25/5/2004 01.42

Það ert þú Birgir. Nei, þetta stangast ekki á.

Ég var að segja þér að sannleiksgildi kenninga er gagnrýnd. Í Gamla testamentisfræðum er t.d. bent á að það eru margar ólíkar sköpunarsögur í Gamla testamentinu. Þar er t.d. bent á heimsku þess að trúa sköpunarsögum ritsins bókstaflega. Þá er bent á að margt í Gamla testamentinu er á engan hátt frábrugðið átrúnaði nágrannaþjóða Hebrea, svo eitthvað sé nefnt.

Hvað líf eftir dauðann varðar, eða tilvist Guðs, þá eru það þættir sem er einfaldlega ekki hægt að sanna eða afsanna. Þess í stað læra nemendur á hlutlausan hátt ýmsar kenningar trúarhópa um líf eftir dauðann sem og sannanir og afsannanir á tilvist Guðs. Þeirra er síðan að velja eða hafna.

Birgir Baldursson @ 25/5/2004 09.55

“Þar er t.d. bent á heimsku þess að trúa sköpunarsögum ritsins bókstaflega.”

En Nýja testó? Er mönnum ekki bent á hve óskynsamlegt er að trúa á kraftaverka- og upprisusögur þess? Þær brjóta þó öll þekkt náttúrulögmál. Eða er trú manna bara pakkað inn í bómul, eins og við höfum haldið fram?

Ég spyr aftur: Af hverju missa menn trúna unnvörpum í guðfræðideildinni ef sannleiksgildi trúarinnar er ekki gagnrýnt? Ef það hins vegar er gagnrýnt, af hverju koma menn þá trúaðir út úr þessari deild?

Þorkell @ 25/5/2004 10.07

Kannski stendur trúin bara á sterkari (og örðum) grunni en þú heldur Birgir. Og ég sagði aldrei að fólk “missti trúna unnvörpum”. Ekki leggja mér orð í munn Birgir.

Hvað Nýja testamentið varðar (það er óþarfi að uppnefna) þá er það tekið sömu tökum og Gamla testamentið. Þar stöndum við samt frammi fyrir sama vanda. Sumt er hægt að sanna eða afsanna, annað ekki.

Ólafur Tryggvi @ 25/5/2004 10.11

Mjög góð spurning Birgir. Ég skil þetta ekki sjálfur. Maður kryfjar og analýserar trúargrundvöllinn fram og til baka, samt trúir maður áfram. Merkilegur asskoti.

Birgir Baldursson @ 25/5/2004 17.45

Jamm, eftir allt þvargið standa eftir þessi gömlu sannindi að þar sem skynseminni sleppir tekur trúin við.

Hvað getur maður sagt? Auðvitað er öllum frjálst að koma sér upp óvitrænni heimsmynd ef það fróar þeim. En að boða hana er annað mál. Ég tel það siðlaust af guðfræðideildinni, þar sem fræðimennska á að vera ástunduð, að leggja blessun sína yfir að fræðimenn úr deildinni gerist töfralæknar. Sú atvinnugrein sæmir aðeins mönnum eins og Gunnari í Krossinum, mönnum sem hunsa allt fræðastarf ef það gengur í bága við heimsmynd þeirra.

Torfi @ 25/5/2004 18.21

Gott mottó þetta: “þar sem skynseminni sleppir tekur trúin við.”

Bara ein spurning. Hefur guðfræðideildin lagt blessun sína yfir að fræðimenn úr deildinni gerist töfralæknar?

Hafsteinn @ 25/5/2004 18.24

Það er nú vonandi að sérhver finni einhvers konar fróun í sinni heimsmynd og sé (ef sú heimsmynd er sæmilega ígrunduð og byggð á reynslu) vonandi sæmilega sáttur við þau svör sem hún býður upp á við þeim spurningum sem á hann leita. Þetta gildir jafnt um pósitívista sem póstmódernista, kristna menn sem búddhista.

Lokað er fyrir athugasemdir.

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