Bildad, the most black and white of the friends, doubles down on his theory that evil people suffer.
The thing is it works one way: evil leads to being cut off from God. But it doesn’t work backwards: if you seem cut off from God, you must be evil.
It is completely false in Job’s case, we know from chapter one he was chosen to suffer because he was so righteous and loved God so much.
It means that what Bildad says is horribly unjust. Job lost 10 sons in an accident, and that is attributed to his evil. He has a horrible skin disease, ditto. He’s being kicked when he is down, its cruel.
It’s easy to dismiss Bildad, but it’s harder to have a sensible theology of sin, evil and hell.
I’m mixed up about it, but in some respects in a good way because the old testament has such conflicting rhetoric about it. One minute everyone but the chosen people are as good as dead, and probably most of the chosen people are too. The next minute all nations are dancing on a highway to blessing though the desert blooming with crocuses.
Hellfire and brimstone are pretty out of fashion as preaching topics. I do believe warnings are needed, Christianity does exist partly to call out evil, corporate and individual.
Beyond the injustice we see around us however, the cosmic consequences of evil, the specifics, which people, which evil, what punishment, seems to go fuzzy.
The consequences of personal immorality and unethical living, Jesus’ ‘unforgivable sin’ It’s a project for when I get back to the new testament to figure out how that impacts on daily life for me.
The barista at work is someone who’s been through the salvation army mill, in recovery from addiction, now a keen attender. He got a denture to replace his four upper teeth the other day. I noticed and he said how he had hated going out with the top teeth missing.
They were evidence of his ‘poor life choices’ as the Salvos like to call them, and he felt judged. And rightly so, I judged him. It branded him as someone with an uncontrolled past. A brawler. Its not fair, some of the least evil looking people can be as evil as all get out.
The Anglican Synod wanted to ban Aboriginal smoking ceremonies on church properties, because of links to paganism or some such. Where do you start? Should we ban christmas and easter too? How about Aboriginals ban churches from being built on stolen land? Job wasn’t christian, not even jewish – how did he even make the bible cut?
I was excited by the idea that seemed to be in chapter 14 that sin shows us we are not God. Its a big part of Jesus’ teaching: use sin, learn from sin.
Had a couple of more positive days at work, feeling more cheerful.