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Justice for the Innocent Job!

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image of Biblical Interpretation

Job's final theophany is puzzling. In fact, far from being a display of God's omnipotence, it is a confession of divine weakness: God needs Job/the human to fight evil in creation—the latter is here de-moralized, only restrained but ever threatened by inhuman forces, at times monstrous). The persistence of evil torments the innocent (Abel, Job, Jesus, the martyrs of the Shoah ...). Job's theme is highlighted from the outset in 1:8-12 where God's insecurity is manifest, depending as it is on an unpredictable human response (1:9). The central point is that there is no deus ex machina as there is no human robot. Job's insistence on this becomes subversive as it routs the principle of distributive justice and promotes one of disinterested righteousness. When Job realizes that his former complaints were a miscarriage of justice toward God, he repents. That is, he realizes that his claimed surplus of justice implied a deficiency of love. At this point, Job proves that he, at least, reveres God without expecting any reward (see 1:9). The satan is defeated and God comes out vindicated by his creature.

Affiliations: 1: The Chicago Theological Seminary


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