Job and Covid John Walton Livestream

I appreciated some new perspectives, but have the following questions:

  1. Dr. Walton said that after listening to God, Job knew what God wants of us. Is it more than mere submission? To fall on his face and worship God (perhaps mainly for his mystery and his power). Is that love or is that fear (in a fearful sense).

  2. Can we know what “good” is to God? This is a “loving” Father God who sent us the flood, the Assyrians, the Babylonians and Abraham being asked, as a test, to sacrifice his son. None of those are in any sense similar to what we would conceive of loving or the acts of a father. So, in the end, what can we pray? I look at Matt. 7 and its discussion of good gifts and ask and it will be given, but we can’t know what those good gifts might even be. Even praying “thy will be done” implies trusting that the will of God is loving in a positive sense - but will it lead to Assyrians or a heaven where we believe that what we think of good things will be present.

How does this lead to peace, rest and coherence?


Great questions!

For those who didn’t get to catch it, you can view it here:

It will also be produced into a normal podcast audio version on Thursday. I hope you will join in the conversation then about these things also!

It is simple trust in God and who he is. We may not know what God is doing or leading us but we know that it is for our own good. I may not understand why God is allowing the current virus to ravage the world? God could very easily stop it in its tracks but for some reason within God’s Wisdom and Providence, he has allowed for now the virus to go its course.

I really appreciated hearing Walton’s discussion on Job - and especially his answer to MIddleton’s question about the (two!*) speeches God replies to Job with. Even though I’ve read Job many times, somehow the fact that there were two speeches always escaped me - much less the significant difference Walton notes in each. (about 39 minutes in I think)

The first speech is about the smallness of Job … “where were you when …” and so forth. And this speech is enough to shut Job up. “I know nothing … I’ll just stop talking now.” But this isn’t enough … Job needs to be brought to a second realization too. God’s second reply brings home to Job his (or our) inability to tame Leviathan. We can’t do it, and yet, God created Leviathan! And so do we suppose (here it is … wait for it!) that we can domesticate God, when we can’t even tame some of the creatures here? Can we really bind God within our transactional systems that require things done according to our liking after we pay our dues?

So the book isn’t about answering why God lets terrible stuff happen; instead it’s about how do we view God when terrible stuff happens! Do we trust God?

Here is the link to the podcast thread also!

I think this is right, but I also think @Craig_Meurlin’s question #2 is entirely fair. It seems to me you can go one of two ways – neither of which is very attractive to many people. 1) is the way Craig suggests, that we can’t ultimately know what is good from God’s perspective. That calls into question moral intuitions in ways I find problematic. Or 2) the way Eric Seibert does in his Disturbing Divine Behavior, that the things you mention as coming from God, didn’t really come from God. The OT authors said they did, but they’re just importing their own views on things, and ultimately Jesus came and set them straight about the nature of God. This approach calls into question our view of Scripture: when it says “God did this or that…” what we have to read is “this community said God did or that…”

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I’ll admit, I’ve been leaning toward that latter choice recently, though it has not been lost on me that there is significant dissonance between where Job goes (or where his friends are described as going, rather) and where I (and a few others) are currently going over in the “Universalist” thread. Over there I am making much of how “God’s goodness” is a very fundamental faith commitment, and yet nearly all of us, over there, I think are sounding a whole lot like Job’s friends, even in our dickering about it. I think I could still make a distinction between what Job’s friends are about and what I’m about as I insist on God’s benevolence. But teasing out such distinctions and defense are provoking good reflection for me right now.

One reason I have no problem re-evaluating what scriptures so often attribute to God is that the apostles freely do that. In the old testament, God is commonly said to bring both blessing and calamity (evil). In the New Testament, the attribution of evil and calamity to God seems significantly curtailed, if not outright denied. So if we want to re-evaluate ancient expressions of how God works in light of newer revelation, then I do think we’re in pretty good company.


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