Podcast: John Walton | Coronavirus and the Book of Job

For those of you that may have missed, the Language of God hosted a video podcast episode recording earlier this week with John Walton. You can now listen to the studio/audio version. Hope you enjoy!

John Walton is an Old Testament scholar and he leads us through the book of Job with an eye toward our current situation. Walton walks through three elements of the story of Job that might help us today: rest (our ability to rise above tumultuous circumstances), peace (freedom from our feelings of fear), and coherence (finding order among confusion). The episode was recorded digitally with a live audience and so we were also able to take questions from the audience, which you’ll hear throughout.

Here is also a link to the discussion around John’s first appearance on our podcast:

Here is a link to the thread from the night of the livestream, if you’d like to join the discussion there:
Job and Covid John Walton Livestream

I finally got to listen to this one today while working in my yard. I guess I could see this whole book as just a fictional tale or see it as a real historical tale. I see patterns of both. Some of it definitely seems centered on Job’s paradigm and not reality such as the two sea monsters but Job may also have believed in them and God simply did not correct him to drive home his point.

The efforts to make a distinction between Satan ( as a general being in that story ) to Satan ( as the personalized being in the gospels) was interesting to me. I think it’s the same being we meet in the gospels. But unlike a presumably most in here I don’t believe Satan fell until after he tried to kill Jesus through Herod and Jesus saw him fall like lightening. So prior to that, I do believe that one of the jobs of some angels were to test mankind.

Listened today also. It was interesting to see the links back to Genesis, even with Satan. The discussion impressed how Satan in Genesis was also in the role as Challenger or prosecutor rather than the embodiment of evil we tend to be taught in evangelicalism. I need to study that aspect and how Satan is dealt with in the New Testament.
I liked what Dr. Walton said about order and disorder.

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I think it’s a interesting subject for sure. In Judaism Satan is not evil. He’s an angel that is carrying out a mission that concerns humanity just like we see angels working out a plan in heaven to deceive Ahab or the angles that bring die destruction on humanity.

In the Torah you essentially don’t read anything about demonic possession outside of spirits God sent to people on purpose contrasting them autonomy and pursuit of evil we see in the gospels.

Though we do see contentions rising up between angels as the princes of nations. I believe that goes back to the heavenly hosts governing mankind and some wanting to do this or that with their nations. Over time the issues compact until there seems to be these angels under michael and these angels under Satan. But they are still not completely at war until as rev 12 states that a war broke out over Satan trying to kill Jesus and I believe thats hyperlinking back to mary and Joseph being warned to flee.

I created a new topic on Who is Satan? if anyone is interested in continuing the discussion about Satan, so as to keep this post uncluttered.

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Another part of the interview I found interesting was the the themes of finding "rest, peace, and coherence " within the story. I think that also describes a lot of what BioLogos’ role is in dealing with people who are confused and filled with anxiety over the science-faith intersect. Finding coherence is certainly high on my list when coming here, and is something I think is lacking in many Christian worldviews

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Just listened to this and I wanted to correct what seems to me to be a complete mischaracterization of Christian Hedonism. As far as I know, John Piper is the one who coined the term and he derived it from the concept that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” This means that we ought to worship God for who he is and that the Good News is that our relationship with Him is restored, not that we worship Him in a mercenary way for worldly gifts.

Welcome to the forum, @Aaron_Warren. It is good to have your thoughts and input. I had to review the transcript as it had been a while, but assume your comment is directed to Walton’s statement:
“The people who did the hedonism kind of thing were trying to put things on a right path, but it still has its dangers. There are undoubtedly benefits that we receive by being people of God, by being Christians. Undoubtedly benefits we receive. But our benefits can’t be our motivation. It’s God who should be our motivation.”

I think that he is not saying that Christian hedonism is transactional in concept, but rather it is subject to our human failing and we tend to make it so in our sinful nature. Piper has some excellent observations, though I tend to not share his more Calvinistic views.

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Hi Aaron. Thanks for your comments. I don’t recall if I responded in the podcast to the comments Walton made. But I read Piper’s book on the topic back in the day, and find myself disagreeing with how he frames the topic. Specifically it relies on the (usually unstated) premise that we ought to do whatever brings us the most satisfaction (or pleasure, or whatever you put in there); then he claims that we get the most satisfaction when we do what God wants of us, and so generates the conclusion that we ought to do what God wants of us.

No argument with the conclusion, but I don’t think we should motivate that by what is best for ourselves. I’d rather say we ought to do what God wants of us, and then note that it turns out things usually go best for us in those circumstances.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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