"THE BOOK OF JOB" The Great Debate: Third Cycle Of Speeches (22-31) OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS SECTION 1) To examine the conclusion of the "great debate", and the feeble efforts of Job's friends to convince him that he is deserving of his great suffering 2) To observe how Job maintains his claim to innocence while stating his complaint that God is not hearing him SUMMARY Eliphaz once again takes the initiative, rebuking Job for his claims of innocence. Accusing Job of great wickedness, for the first time he specifies sins of which he believes Job must be guilty to have suffered so greatly. Charging Job of cherishing wicked ways and trusting that God doesn't see it, Eliphaz ends with another appeal for Job to return to God that he might enjoy renewed prosperity (22:1-30). Job's response is to once again express his longing to find God so he can present his side. While maintaining his claims of integrity and how he has treasured God's words, he admits he is awed by God's dealings. He wonders why the wicked often sin with impunity, but then says what he thinks should and will eventually happen to them. He concludes his response to Eliphaz with a challenge to show him where he has spoken falsely (23:1-24:25). Bildad's third speech is short, adding little. Speaking briefly of God's greatness, he posits how anyone can be righteous before God (25:1-6). Job replies with questions which imply that he considers Bildad's counsel to have been of no help. Perhaps to illustrate how they have not been much help, Job demonstrates his own ability to describe God's greatness (26:1-14). Zophar remains silent in this third cycle of speeches, so Job continues with his discourse. Though he feels that God has taken away his justice and made his soul bitter, he refuses to accept his friends' counsel and maintains his innocence. He accuses them of nonsense and describes what God will do with the wicked (27:1-23). Job then says where true wisdom is to be found, that it comes from God Who has revealed it to man (28:1-28). As his words draw near to their end, Job recounts how it was in the past when he blessed by God and respected by men (29:1-25). In contrast, the present finds him being mocked by others, suffering in pain, with God not answering his plea to be heard (30:1-31). He concludes by listing various sins, which if he had committed them, he agrees he would have been guilty of punishment. In this way he again maintains his claim to innocence and not deserving his great suffering (31:1-40). For Job and his three friends, this ends the "Great Debate". OUTLINE I. ELIPHAZ SPEAKS AND JOB RESPONDS (22:1-24:25) A. ELIPHAZ'S FINAL RESPONSE (22:1-30) 1. He rebukes Job again for his claims of innocence (22:1-3) a. He affirms that God is self-sufficient, needing nothing from man b. Therefore Job's claim to be blameless is no way enhances his standing before God 2. He accuses Job of great wickedness (22:4-11) a. God is not punishing Job because he fears God b. It is because of Job's great iniquity, of which Eliphaz gives examples c. For such reasons Eliphaz says Job is being punished 3. He charges Job of cherishing wicked ways, trusting that God doesn't see it (22:12-20) a. How can Job say that God does not see what he is doing? b. Will Job continue to keep to the ways of wicked men? c. Yet the righteous rejoice when the wicked are cut down 4. He exhorts Job to return to God and enjoy renewed prosperity (22:21-30) a. Acquaint yourself with God, receive instruction from Him, you will be at peace b. Return to Him, and He will bless you, be your delight, answer your prayers c. Job's plans would then be successful, and able to save others (cf. 42:7-10) B. JOB'S REPLY (23:1-24:25) 1. He reasserts his longing to find God and present his case (23:1-9) a. Heavy with bitter complaint and groaning, he wished he could find God b. He desired to speak his case before God, confident that he could reason with Him c. But God is nowhere to be found 2. Maintaining his claims of integrity, he is awed by God's dealings (23:10-17) a. He has not turned aside from God's way b. He has treasured the words of God c. But the manner of God's dealings with him have terrified him 3. He wonders why the wicked often sin with impunity (24:1-17) a. The wicked often oppress the poor and helpless, forcing them to live off the land b. God does not seem to answer the cry of the oppressed, and punish the wicked c. There are those who use the darkness to carry out their misdeeds 4. What Job thinks should happen to the wicked, and will eventually happen (24:18-24) a. They should be punished and remembered no more b. He expresses confidence that God will eventually take the wicked away -- Job concludes with a challenge to show were he has spoken falsely (24:25) II. BILDAD SPEAKS AND JOB RESPONDS (25:1-31:40) A. BILDAD'S FINAL RESPONSE (25:1-6) 1. He proclaims the greatness of God (25:1-3) a. Dominion and fear belong to Him, He makes peace in His high places b. His armies are innumerable 2. Can anyone be righteous before God? (25:4-6) a. No one can be pure in God's sight b. If the moon and stars pale in God's sight, how much more man, who is no more than a maggot or worm in comparison to God B. JOB'S REPLY (26:1-31:40) 1. He declares that Bildad's counsel has been worthless (26:1-4) a. Bildad (and the others) have not helped him b. Have they been speaking to someone with no wisdom? 2. He demonstrates his own ability to describe the greatness of God (26:5-14) a. By depicting God's greatness over the dead, and over the creation b. Such greatness is but the "mere edges" of God's ways c. No one can understand the true greatness of His power 3. As he continues his discourse, he maintains his integrity (27:1-10) a. Though God has taken away his justice, and made his soul bitter b. He will not speak wickedly, but he still claims innocence c. He knows that there is no hope for the wicked or hypocrite 4. He will teach his friends what God will do to the wicked (27:11-23) a. As a rebuke to his friends for what they have said to him b. The families of the wicked will suffer the consequences c. The wealth of the wicked will be consumed by others d. God will eventually remove the wicked from his place 5. He gives a discourse on the true source of wisdom (28:1-28) a. Precious minerals may found through diligent mining b. But true wisdom and understanding comes only from God, who has declared it unto man 6. As he continues his discourse, he recalls the good days of his past (29:1-25) a. When God watched over him, and blessed him b. When he had the respect of others, and administered justice for the poor, the fatherless, the widow, the blind and lame c. When he looked to the future with hope d. When others kept silence to hear his counsel, and he was like a king 7. He then reflects upon his present condition (30:1-31) a. He is now mocked by the sons of those he once disdained b. His is now their "taunt-song", their byword, as they abuse him c. He bemoans his agony and the treatment he feels the Lord has given him d. Would God not remember how he wept for others in trouble? e. But all he sees is evil and days of affliction 8. One last time, Job maintains his integrity (31:1-40) a. He has made a covenant with his eyes, not to look upon a young woman 1) For he knows the ultimate end of the wicked 2) For God does see and knows all that he does b. He is willing to accept just punishment, if he has ever... 1) Been deceitful 2) Committed adultery 3) Mistreated his servants 4) Neglected the poor, widows, and fatherless 5) Put his trust in gold, or worshipped the heavenly bodies 6) Rejoiced over the demise of his enemies, or cursed them 7) Not cared for the stranger 8) Tried to hide his iniquity c. He makes his final cry 1) That God would answer him and tell him what he has done wrong 2) Willing to accept punishment if he has misappropriated his land or stolen it from others REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THIS SECTION 1) Of what wickedness does Eliphaz accuse Job? (22:6-9) - Taking pledges from his brother for no reason - Stripping the naked of their clothing - Not giving the weary water to drink; withholding bread from the hungry - Sending the widows away empty; crushing the strength of the fatherless 2) What does Eliphaz accuse Job of saying? (22:13-14) - What does God know? - Thick clouds cover Him so that He cannot see 3) What does Eliphaz ask Job? (22:15)From Mark Copeland.... "THE BOOK OF JOB" The Great Debate: Third Cycle Of Speeches (22-31) - Will you keep to the old way which wicked men have trod? 4) What does Eliphaz counsel Job to do? (22:21-22) - Acquaint himself with God, receive instruction from His mouth 5) What does Eliphaz promise Job if he will repent? (22:23) - He will be built up, and iniquity will be far removed from him 6) What does Job ask for as he begins his response to Eliphaz? (23:3) - To find God that he might present his case to Him 7) What is Job's response to Eliphaz' charge of wickedness? (23:11-12) - I have kept His way and not turned aside, I have not departed from His commandments 8) And yet what does Job feel God has done to him? (23:16) - Made his heart weak, and terrified him 9) In Bildad's final speech, how does he respond to Job's claim of innocence? (25:4-6) - How can a man be righteous before God, who is no more than a worm in comparison? 10) In replying to Bildad, what does Job ask him? (26:3) - How have you counseled one who has no wisdom? 11) As Job continues his discourse, what does he steadfastly maintain? (27:5-6) - His integrity, righteousness, and clear conscience 12) What does he then describe to his three friends? (27:13-23) - The true portion of a wicked man with God 13) As his discourse describes the difficulty of finding wisdom, to what does Job attribute its true source? (28:20-28) - It comes from God, who has revealed it to man 14) As he described the days gone by when he was respected by all, what things had he done? (29:12-17) - Delivered the poor and fatherless; caused the widow's heart to sing for joy - Put on righteousness and justice like a robe and turban - Provided eyes to the blind and feet to the lame - Was a father to poor and searched out their case - Broke the fangs of the wicked and plucked the victim from his teeth 15) In the present, though, who mocks him? (30:1) - Young men whose fathers Job had disdained to put even with the dogs of his flock 16) As he draws near to the end of his discourse, what does Job cry out to God? (30:20-21) - I cry out to You, but You do not answer - You have become cruel to me; You oppose me with the strength of Your Hand 17) In summarizing his plight, what sort of things does he say? (30:26-31) - I looked for good, evil came to me; I waited for light, then came darkness - My heart is in turmoil and cannot rest; days of affliction confront me - I go about mourning, I cry for help - My skin grows black and falls from me; my bones burn with fever 18) What kind of covenant had Job made with his eyes? Why? (31:1-4) - Not to look upon a young woman - Does God not see his ways and count all his steps? 19) List the things that Job says would make him deserving of God's punishment (31:1-40) - Walking with falsehood, or hastening to deceit - Heart enticed by a woman, or lurking at his neighbor's door - Despising the cause of his servants when they complained against him - Keeping the poor from their desire - Causing the eyes of the widow to fail - Eating morsels so that the fatherless could not eat of it - Seeing anyone perish for lack of clothing, or the poor without covering - Failing to help the fatherless when it was in his power - Making gold his hope and confidence; rejoicing over his great wealth - Worshipping the sun or moon - Rejoicing at the destruction of him who hated him - Not providing food and opening his doors to the traveler - Trying to hide his transgressions - Eating off the land without compensation, causing its owners to lose their lives 20) What is Job's final request as he ends his words? (31:35) - That he had someone to hear him - That the Almighty would answer him - That his Prosecutor had written a book
"THE BOOK OF JOB" The Great Debate: Second Cycle Of Speeches (15-21) OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS SECTION 1) To observe the progress of the "great debate", in which Job's friends are unable to convince Job that he is some great sinner who deserves his suffering 2) To note how Job continues to vent his complaint, and while losing hope for anything in this life, he does reveal his faith in a Redeemer and in seeing God after death SUMMARY The second cycle of speeches continue in the same format, with the three friends speaking and Job responding to each one in turn. The speeches are shorter, and it appears their tempers are becoming short as well. Eliphaz begins with an attack on Job, ridiculing his wisdom. Like Bildad, he too appeals to the wisdom of others as he repeats his main thesis: suffering comes to the wicked, therefore Job must be wicked (15:1-35). Job's response to Eliphaz begins with a reproach of his friends as "miserable comforters". Job continues to view his suffering as an attack by God for reasons unknown to him. Wishing there was someone who could plead for him, he cries out for relief as he resumes his complaint. With no wisdom from his friends, he is losing hope for anything in this life but death (16:1-17:16). Bildad angrily wonders "how long" will Job keep speaking this way, and why does he regard his friends as beasts and stupid? In what appears as an attempt to get Job to confess he is a sinner, Bildad provides a lengthy description of the suffering of the wicked (18:1-21). Job responds by asking "how long" would they continue to torment him? While they accuse him of being a great sinner, they have yet to point out his errors. As Job resumes directing his complaint to God, he bewails his loneliness and abandonment by friends and family. And yet, while Job feels God is treating him as an enemy, he affirms his faith in a Redeemer who would one day stand on the earth and in seeing God after his death (19:1-29). Zophar speaks in what will be his last contribution to this "great debate". While he offers little that is really new to the discussion, he does describe the short-lived triumph of the wicked, to whom the sweetness of sin becomes a bitter curse and whom God will sweep away into darkness. The only problem is that like his friends, he assumes that such is always the case in this life (20:1-29). Job's rebuttal provides examples in which some wicked do prosper in this life, and die an easy death. Therefore his friends' words have proven to be empty and without comfort (21:1-34). OUTLINE I. ELIPHAZ SPEAKS AND JOB RESPONDS (15:1-17:16) A. ELIPHAZ'S REBUTTAL (15:1-35) 1. Eliphaz attacks Job, rebuking his behavior and ridiculing his wisdom (15:1-16) a. Job is reasoning with unprofitable talk, his own mouth condemns him b. Job attempts to limit wisdom to himself, disregarding the wisdom of others c. Job cannot be as pure and righteous as he claims; if angels and the heavens are not pure in God's sight, how much less one who "drinks iniquity like water"? 2. Eliphaz repeats his main thesis: suffering comes to the wicked (15:17-35) a. Appealing to what he has seen, and what wise men have said b. He then offers a lengthy description of how the wicked one suffers (is he trying to describe Job?) B. JOB'S REPLY (16:1-17:16) 1. He reproaches his friends (16:1-5) a. They are "miserable comforters" b. He could do what they do, but would offer true comfort if they were in his place 2. He describes God's treatment of him (16:6-17) a. Whether he speaks or remain silent, there is no relief b. God is wearing him out, shriveling him up, gnashing at him c. God has turned him over to the ungodly, who gape at him and strike him reproachfully d. God has shattered him, shaken him, and broken him with wound upon wound 3. He hopes his cry will be heard (16:18-22) a. That it not be buried in the dust of the earth, that it be seen in heaven b. Scorned by his friends, his eyes pour out tears to God c. He wished there was one who would plead for him with God, for he knows his time is short 4. Job asks for relief (17:1-5) a. He is broken, the grave is ready for him, and mockers are with him b. His friends have no understanding, can't God help him? 5. He resumes his complaint (17:6-9) a. He is despised by others, even as he grows weaker b. Upright men are astonished by him, the innocent are stirred up against the hypocrite (is Job saying that is how they view him?) c. The righteous holds to his way, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger (perhaps Job is referring here to his friends, and speaking with sarcasm) 6. With no wisdom from his friends, he is losing hope (17:10-16) a. His days are past, his plans are broken, and all his friends can do is say "the light is near" when all is dark b. If death and the grave is all that lies ahead, where is his hope? II. BILDAD SPEAKS AND JOB RESPONDS (18:1-19:29) A. BILDAD'S REBUTTAL (18:1-21) 1. He is incensed at Job (18:1-4) a. "How long" will Job keep speaking? - cf. 8:2 b. Why does he consider his friends as beasts and stupid? c. Should the earth be moved because he is angry? 2. He too provides a lengthy description of the suffering of the wicked (18:5-21) a. The light of the wicked will go out b. He is cast down, ensnared c. Terrors frighten him on every side d. Destruction comes his way, others will take what is his e. The memory of the wicked will perish from the earth, there will be no posterity f. Such will happen to the wicked, to those who know not God B. JOB'S REPLY (19:1-29) 1. He responds to his critics (19:1-6) a. "How long" will you torment my soul? - cf. 18:2 b. They continue to reproach him, but have not pointed out his error c. While they magnify themselves against him, he feels God has wronged him! 2. Job again directs his complaint to God (19:7-12) a. God does not seem to hear his cry for justice b. God has broken him down, uprooted any hope that he had c. God treats him as an enemy 3. He bewails his loneliness (19:13-22) a. Abandoned by relatives, close friends, even his servants b. He is repulsive to both wife and children, those he loves have turned against him c. He cries for pity from his friends 4. He affirms his faith (19:23-29) a. In his Redeemer who lives, and who shall stand at last on the earth b. In that after death, in the flesh, he shall yet see God (i.e., the resurrection?) c. In the judgment, in view of which he warns his friends III. ZOPHAR SPEAKS AND JOB RESPONDS (20:1-21:34) A. ZOPHAR'S REBUTTAL (20:1-29) 1. He describes the short-lived triumph of the wicked (20:1-11) a. Irritated by Job's reproof, Zophar responds b. What joy or triumph the wicked experience is only momentary c. The wicked will soon be no more, their children dependent upon the poor 2. The sweetness of sin will become a bitter curse (20:12-19) a. It will be like the poison of cobras, making him vomit b. What he has gained through oppression, he will not be able to enjoy 3. God will sweep away the wicked into darkness (20:20-29) a. The wicked will not be at peace, his well-being will not last b. God's anger will come upon him, like an iron weapon c. Losing all, terror and darkness is the portion God has appointed for the wicked B. JOB'S REPLY (21:1-34) 1. The wicked don't always suffer, but often prosper in this life (21:1-16) a. Job asks that they listen carefully, and then continue their mocking b. Some wicked do prosper in this life, even though they reject God and His ways 2. The wicked often die in comfort (21:17-26) a. They don't always experience God's wrath in this life b. Some even say that God lays up the iniquity of the wicked for his children (though Job wishes God would recompense the wicked one directly) c. The fact is, some people die at ease, while others die in bitterness 3. He rejects their answers as false (21:27-34) a. They've asked him "Where is the dwelling place of the wicked?" b. He asks them "Have you not asked those who travel?" (implying that the wicked are everywhere) c. Job understands that the wicked are reserved for the day of doom and wrath (i.e., the day of Judgment) d. So his friends' words have proved to be empty and without comfort REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THIS SECTION 1) How does Eliphaz view Job's attempts to justify himself? (15:2-3) - Empty knowledge, unprofitable talk 2) In rebuking Job, what does Eliphaz ask of him? (15:9) - What do you know that we do not know? 3) In responding to Job's claim of innocence, how does Eliphaz describe man? (15:16) - Abominable and filthy, who drinks iniquity like water (possibly directed at Job) 4) In his description of how the wicked suffer, what point is Eliphaz making? (15:17-35) - That suffering comes to wicked; i.e., if you are suffering, you must be wicked 5) As Job responds to Eliphaz, how does he describe his three friends? (16:2) - Miserable comforters 6) What does Job say he would do if they were in his place? (16:4-5) - Strengthen them with his mouth, relieve their grief with comforting words 7) How does Job feel God has treated him? (16:7-14) - Worn him out, shriveled him up, tears him in His wrath, gnashes him with His teeth - Delivered him up to the ungodly, shattered and shaken him to pieces 8) For what does Job cry out? (16:21) - That one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleads for his neighbor 9) What does Job say God has made him? (17:6) - A byword of the people, one in whose face men spit 10) While Job has not lost his faith, what has he lost? (17:11,15) - Any purpose or hope pertaining to this life 11) When Bildad responds, how does he feel Job has regarded them? (18:3) - As beasts and stupid in his sight 12) In his second speech, what does Bildad provide? (18:5-21) - A lengthy description of the suffering of the wicked, similar to what Eliphaz has done 13) In response to Bildad's second speech, what does Job ask him? (19:2) - How long will you torment my soul, and break me in pieces with words? 14) As Job resumes his complaint to God, what does he say God has done? (19:7-11) - God has stripped him of his glory, broken him down on every side, uprooted his hope like a tree, kindled His wrath against him 15) Who else does he feel has now forsaken him? (19:13-19) - His brothers, relatives, close friends, servants, even his wife and young children 16) What does Job ask of his friends? Why? (19:21) - Have pity on him. For the hand of God has struck him. 17) While suffering, in what three things does Job affirm his faith? (19:25-29) - That his Redeemer lives and will one day stand on the earth (i.e., the Messiah) - That after death he will in his flesh see God (i.e., the Resurrection) - That there will be a judgment (i.e., the Judgment Day) 18) As Zophar begins his second speech, what troubles him? (20:2-3) - Having heard the reproof (of Job) that reproaches him 19) What does Zophar then describe? (20:1-11) - The short-lived triumph of the wicked 20) What does Zophar believe concerning the wicked? (20:12-29) - The sweetness of evil will become like a bitter curse, like cobra venom - He will not be able to enjoy what he has accumulated 21) In response to Zophar, what does Job say about the wicked? (21:7-26) - The wicked don't always suffer - The wicked often die of old age and have an easy death 22) While they may prosper in this life, what does Job know concerning the wicked? (21:30) - They are reserved for the day of doom, they shall be brought out on the day of wrath (i.e., the Judgment Day) 23) As the second cycle of speeches ends, what does he say concerning his friends? (21:34) - How can you comfort me with empty words, since falsehood remains in your answers?
"THE BOOK OF JOB" The Great Debate: First Cycle Of Speeches (4-14) OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS SECTION 1) To examine the counsel of Job's friends, what their observations were, and upon what they based their conclusions regarding Job's suffering 2) To consider Job's response to his friends, how he took their "advice", and how he continued to vent his complaint over his suffering SUMMARY Following Job's outburst in which he cursed the day of his birth and wondered why those who long for death continue to live, his three friends begin offering their counsel. Eliphaz the Temanite starts with expressing his view that the innocent don't suffer, the wicked do. As support for his position, he refers to a vision that he had. Chastening Job, Eliphaz then directs Job to seek God's forgiveness, reminding him of the blessings that would come if Job repented (4:1-5:22). Job defends his rash words as being prompted by his grief, and again expresses his desire for death. Reproaching his friends as being a "deceitful brook", he challenges them to show him where he has sinned. He then resumes his complaint, asking God a multitude of questions (6:1-7:21). Bildad the Shuhite now steps in and rebukes Job for his strong words. Maintaining that God is just, he implies that Job's sons died because of their own transgressions, and if Job were only pure and upright he would be blessed by God. Appealing to wisdom of the ancients, he contends the wicked are without support, and that God will not cast away the blameless. If Job would only repent, God would fill him once again with laughter and rejoicing (8:1-22). Job basically agrees, but wonders who can really be righteous in God's sight in view of His wisdom and strength. He then complains of God's inaccessibility, and maintains his own integrity while concluding that God destroys the blameless along with the wicked. Feeling hopeless, Job bemoans the lack of a mediator between him and God. Once again, he gives free course to his complaint as he lashes out with more questions directed toward God (9:1-10:22). Finally, Zophar the Naamathite enters the dialogue with his own rebuke of Job for his rash words. Indicating that Job has actually received less suffering than he deserves, he reproaches Job trying to search out the deep things of God. Instead, Job should be putting away iniquity and wickedness, for then he would abide in brightness, security and hope (11:1-20). In response, Job chides his friends for their attempt to impart wisdom but succeeding only in mocking him. Affirming the wisdom of God, Job says the advice of his friends has been of little help. He calls them "forgers of lies" and "worthless physicians" who have only given him "proverbs of ashes" and "defenses of clay". Confident of his own integrity, Job again expresses his desire to speak with God to ask Him what he has done to deserve such suffering. Once again despairing of hope, he longs for death (12:1-14:22). OUTLINE I. ELIPHAZ SPEAKS AND JOB RESPONDS (4:1-7:21) A. THE COUNSEL OF ELIPHAZ (4:1-5:27) 1. Introductory remarks (4:1-6) a. Though he does not wish to weary Job, he cannot refrain from speaking b. Job has strengthened others in the past, now he needs strengthening c. Is Job not trusting in his own confidence and integrity? 2. Eliphaz's view: The innocent don't suffer, the wicked do (4:7-11) a. When have the innocent ever perished? b. But I have seen the wicked perish by the blast of God, just like the lions 3. In support of his view: Eliphaz appeals to a vision (4:12-21) a. A terrifying vision, in which he heard a voice b. A revelation that man cannot be more righteous than God c. If angels can be charged with error, how much more so men of clay? d. Note: Eliphaz is appealing to "subjective revelation" 1) His example shows the error of appealing to such to determine truth 2) "Nothing is more essential than testing experience by an objective standard of reality. When God has spoken concerning a matter, that is decisive for all the issues involved. His word must be the court of appeal for all thoughts, impressions, and views." (Newton Wray) 4. Eliphaz warns Job (5:1-7) a. There is danger in the anger of a foolish man b. Such a one will see his sons crushed and his harvest depleted c. Affliction comes because man is born to trouble 5. Eliphaz directs Job (5:8-16) a. Seek God and commit your cause to Him b. For God does great things, catching the wise in their own craftiness, saving the needy and giving hope to the poor 6. Job reminded of God's blessings on those who accept His chastening (5:17-26) a. Happy is the man God corrects; don't despise His chastening b. God will make him whole, and protect him in times of trouble c. God will give him peace, many descendants, and long life -- Eliphaz's conclusion: "This we have searched out; it is true. Hear it and know for yourself." (5:27) B. JOB'S REPLY (6:1-7:21) 1. He justifies his rash words (6:1-7) a. They are prompted by his heavy grief b. He is experiencing the poisonous arrows and terrors of the Almighty c. Animals don't complain when well fed; but food has become loathsome to him 2. He longs for death, while his integrity is still intact (6:8-13) a. He wishes that God would go ahead and crush him b. Then he would have some comfort in knowing that he had not concealed (or denied) the words of God c. How long can he hope to endure? 3. Job reproaches his friends (6:14-23) a. They should have shown proper kindness b. They have been like a deceitful brook, that disappoints those who come to it c. They have been afraid of what they have seen d. He had not asked for their assistance 4. He challenges them to show him where he has sinned (6:24-30) a. Show him his error and he will be quiet b. Reproving him with no proof is of no benefit, it is like overwhelming the fatherless and undermining one's friend c. Look at him again and treat him justly, there is no injustice in him 5. Job now resumes his complaint (7:1-10) a. His life is one of hard servitude, with months of futility and wearisome nights b. The condition of his flesh makes him toss all night c. His days swiftly go by with no hope of ever seeing good again d. He expects to descend to the grave and soon forgotten 6. Job speaks out in the anguish of his soul (7:11-21) a. Why does God terrify him with dreams and visions, so that he longs for death? b. Why is God testing him every moment? How long will this go on? c. Why can't God just leave him alone? d. How has he sinned? What has he done to become a target for God? e. If he has sinned, why doesn't God pardon his transgression? f. As it is, he will just go ahead and die, and then God won't have to bother with him anymore (the sort of foolish statement for which Job later repents, 42:3,6) II. BILDAD SPEAKS AND JOB RESPONDS (8:1-10:22) A. THE COUNSEL OF BILDAD (8:1-22) 1. Introductory remarks (1-7) a. He rebukes Job for his words b. He maintains that God deals justly c. If Job's sons sinned, they were killed for their transgression d. Restoration would occur if Job would only seek God and repent 2. Bildad appeals to the wisdom of the ancients (8-18) a. Heed what others have already learned, for our time is short b. The wicked are like the papyrus with no support, for they soon wither c. God will not cast away the blameless, nor will He uphold the evildoers (the implication is "Job, you are not blameless") d. God will yet restore Job (assuming he repents) B. JOB'S REPLY (9:1-10:22) 1. He agrees with Bildad, but who can truly be righteous before God? (9:1-13) a. No one can contend with God, He is too wise and strong b. Job provides numerous examples of God's power 2. Because of such power, Job's complains of God's inaccessibility (9:14-20) a. Even if he were righteous (perfect?), Job would be unable to answer God b. For even now God multiplies his wounds without cause c. His own mouth would condemn him under the weight of God's strength 3. Maintaining his claim to innocence, he concludes that God destroys the blameless along with the wicked (9:21-24) a. Job professes to be blameless, but has lost his will to live b. He knows of no other conclusion but that God looks lightly at the plight of the innocent 4. Feeling hopeless, Job bemoans the lack of a mediator (9:25-35) a. His days go by, with no good to be seen b. Why even try, if God has chosen to condemn him? c. He knows there is no way to reason with God, and there is no one to mediate between them d. If God would only take His rod from him, but such is not the case 5. In pain, Job gives free course to his complaint (10:1-22) a. God, why do You condemn Me? Tell me why! b. Does it seem good for You to despise the work of Your hands? c. Are You having to search for my iniquity, like a mortal man? d. Have You made me, just to destroy me? e. Whether I am wicked or righteous, Your indignation increases toward me! f. Why then did You let me be born? How I wish I had died at birth! g. Can't You leave me alone so I can have a little comfort before I die and enter the "land of darkness"? III. ZOPHAR SPEAKS AND JOB RESPONDS (11:1-14:22) A. THE COUNSEL OF ZOPHAR (11:1-20) 1. Affirms that Job has received less than he deserves (11:1-6) a. The multitude of Job's words call for refutation b. Job claims innocence; if only God would speak and show his true guilt c. God has exacted less from Job than he deserves 2. Reproaches Job for desiring to search out God's hidden ways (11:7-12) a. Can Job find that which is beyond his ability to know? b. God cannot be hindered, and considers the wickedness of man c. A not-so-subtle rebuke of Job as a foolish empty-headed man 3. Promises restoration upon repentance and confession of sin (11:13-20) a. Seek the Lord and put away sin if you wish to be pure and steadfast b. You would forget your misery and abide in brightness, security and hope c. But the wicked will not escape, and their only hope is loss of life B. JOB'S REPLY (12:1-14:22) 1. He chides his accusers (12:1-12) a. Mocking their wisdom, he also has wisdom b. Though just and blameless, he has been mocked; meanwhile the wicked prosper c. Wisdom is not limited to Job's friends; all nature testifies of wisdom and it comes with age 2. He affirms God's own wisdom and strength (12:13-25) a. God can do what He wants, and none can stop Him b. He can overpower the wise and mighty, even the nations 3. The advice of his friends has been no help (13:1-12) a. He already knows what they know; he desires to reason with God b. They claim to speak for God, but they are worthless physicians and forgers of lies c. Their platitudes and defenses are worthless 4. Confident of his own integrity, Job again wishes to speak with God (13:13-19) a. Let him speak, for he is willing to take what comes b. Even if God slays him, he will continue to trust Him c. He desires to defend himself before God, he cannot remain silent 5. Job appeals to God for an audience (13:20-28) a. Upon the conditions of removing His hand and not overwhelming him with dread, Job would speak with God b. He desires to know where he has sinned, and why God regards him as an enemy c. Why has God so punished him? 6. He expresses hopelessness in this life (14:1-12) a. Life is brief and troublesome, his days are numbered b. Cut down a tree, and it will sprout again; but when man dies, he is no longer here as long as the heavens last 7. He longs for death (14:13-22) a. That God would so hide him from His wrath until it is past b. Man's hope is slowly eroded as he goes through life, until he knows no more of this life REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THIS SECTION 1) Which of his three friends first responded to Job? (4:1) - Eliphaz the Temanite 2) What was his main argument? (4:7-8) - Who ever perished being innocent? - Those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same 3) To what did he appeal in support of his argument? (4:12-13) - A dream or vision 4) What does he encourage Job to do? (5:8) - To seek God and commit his cause to Him 5) What does he encourage Job not to do? (5:17) - Despise the chastening of the Almighty 6) How does Job justify his rash words? (6:2-3) - They were prompted by his troubles and heavy grief 7) For what does Job long? (6:8-9) - That God would go ahead and crush him (i.e., he longed for death) 8) How does Job describe his friends? (6:14-15) - Like a deceitful brook 9) What challenge does Job give his friends? (6:24) - Show him his error and he will be quiet 10) As Job resumes his complaint, what does he say has been given to him? (7:3,5) - Months of futility and wearisome nights - Flesh caked with worms and dust, skin which cracks and breaks afresh 11) How does he describe his days? (7:6) - Swifter than a weaver's shuttle, spent without hope 12) In such anguish, what does Job say he will do? (7:11) - Complain in the bitterness of his soul 13) What does he ask of God? (7:20-21) - Have I sinned? What have I done to You? - If so, why don't you pardon my transgression? 14) Who is the second person to respond to Job? (8:1) - Bildad the Shuhite 15) For what does he rebuke Job? (8:2) - His strong words 16) What does he counsel Job to do? (8:5-7) - Earnestly seek God and be pure if he desires restoration 17) To what did he appeal in support of his argument? (8:8-10) - Things discovered by their ancestors (i.e., the wisdom of the ancients) 18) What does Bildad conclude concerning God? (8:20) - God will not cast away the blameless, nor uphold the evildoers 19) How does Job initially respond to Bildad? (9:2) - He basically agrees, but how can one be righteous before God? 20) What does Job bemoan? (9:32-33) - The lack of a mediator between him and God 21) As Job gives continues his complaint, what does he ask of God? (10:1-2,18,20) - Show him why He contends with him - Why did God bring him out of the womb? - Why can't God just leave him alone and let him die? 22) Who is the third person to respond to Job? (11:1) - Zophar the Naamathite 23) What does he affirm concerning Job? (11:6) - He had received less than his iniquity deserved 24) For what does he reproach Job? (11:7) - Trying to search out the deep things of God 25) What does Zophar say would be true of Job if he repented? (11:13-16) - He would be pure, steadfast, free of fear and misery 26) How does Job mock his friends? (12:2) - By saying that wisdom will die with them 27) How did Job feel he was being treated by his friends? (12:4) - That they were mocking him 28) How does Job describe his friends? (13:4) - As forger of lies and worthless physicians 29) How does Job describe their speeches? (13:12) - As proverbs of ashes, and defenses of clay 30) What two things does Job request if God should grant him an audience? (13:20-21) - For God to withdraw His hand far from him - For God not to make him afraid 31) What does Job wish God would reveal to him? (13:23-24) - How many are his iniquities and sins - Why God hides His face and regards Job as an enemy 32) How does Job view the life of man? (14:1-2) - Of few days and full of trouble - Like a flower that soon fades away, as a fleeting shadow that is quickly gone 33) From his earthly perspective, how does Job compare himself with a tree? (14:7-12) - There is more hope for a tree, for a tree cut down will rise again 34) What request does Job make again? (14:13) - That God would go ahead and allow him to die
"THE BOOK OF JOB" Job's Soliloquy (3) OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS SECTION 1) To consider Job's soliloquy, which starts the "great controversy" between Job and his friends 2) To appreciate the depth of Job's complaint, why he wished that he had never been born 3) To note the questions he raised as he sought to understand the problem of suffering SUMMARY Having sat in silence for seven days in the presence of his friends who had come to comfort him, Job finally speaks. In the form of a soliloquy, he begins by cursing the day of his birth and the night of his conception for failing to prevent his sorrow (3:1-10). He then bemoans why he did not die at birth or even be stillborn, for then at least he would be at rest, just like those who were great in their lifetime, or like those who had been oppressed (3:11-19). Job also wonders why the suffering who long for death are allowed to linger. He concludes by stating that what he most greatly feared has now come upon him: trouble, from which there seems to be no rest (3:20-26). OUTLINE I. JOB'S CURSE (3:1-10) A. HE CURSES THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH... 1. Not just the day of his birth, but also the night of his conception 2. Because of the sorrow that has come his way -- I.e., he wished he had never been born B. IN THIS HE RESEMBLES JEREMIAH... 1. Who had an unpopular ministry - Jer 20:14-18 2. Who experienced much suffering like Job C. AN IMPORTANT POINT TO REMEMBER... 1. Both expressed a desire never to have been born 2. Yet neither Job or Jeremiah for a moment considered the possibility of suicide 3. They might have questioned the Lord's wisdom, but they did not dare take the precious gift of life with which He endowed them (Wayne Jackson) II. JOB'S QUESTIONS (3:11-19) A. WHY DID HE NOT DIE AT BIRTH? 1. Then he would have been at rest 2. He would be with those who were great and powerful in their lifetime B. WHY WAS HE NOT STILLBORN? 1. Then he would have been at rest, free from those who trouble him 2. He would be like those at rest, who were troubled in their lifetime C. JOB VIEWS DEATH AS AN ESCAPE FROM EARTH'S MISERIES... 1. Job's view of death applies only to those who die in the Lord - cf. Re 14:13 2. For the wicked, death is no rest! - cf. Lk 16:19-31 III. JOB PONDERS THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING (3:20-26) A. WHY THE SUFFERING ARE ALLOWED TO LINGER... 1. Why is life given to those who linger in suffering? 2. Even to those who long for death? B. WHAT JOB FEARED HAS NOW HAPPENED TO HIM... 1. He dreaded the suffering that has come to him 2. And now he is troubled and no longer at ease REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THIS SECTION 1) What are the three main points of this section? - Job's curse (3:1-10) - Job's questions (3:11-19) - Job ponders the problem of suffering (3:20-26) 2) As Job begins his soliloquy, what two things does he curse? (1-3) - The day of his birth - The night of his conception 3) Why did he did he curse the day of his birth? (10) - Because it did not keep him from experiencing sorrow 4) Why did he wish he had died at birth? (11-15) - Then he would be at rest, just like those who had been great in their lifetime 5) Why did he wish he had been stillborn? (16-19) - Then he would be at rest, like those who had been oppressed in their lifetime 6) As Job ponders the problem of suffering, what does he ask? (20-21) - Why is life given to those who suffer and long for death? 7) What had come upon Job? (25) - That which he greatly feared and dreaded (i.e., trouble and suffering)
A Question About Muslim Birthrates
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
“How significant is birthrate among Muslims to the spread of Islam?”
Studies show that the Muslim population is growing at a faster rate than all other groups combined. In the U.S. alone, Muslims will go from less than 1% of the nation, to 1.7% in 2030—an increase from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million. Though 64.5% of U.S. Muslims today were born outside the United States, that percentage will fall to 55% in 2030 as more Muslims are born in the U.S. (Grossman, 2011; “The Future…,” 2011; cf. “The Future…,” 2015).
The significance of these facts is that the Founders of our great Republic set up the country so that the people govern themselves, i.e., they select their political leaders. The Republic they envisioneddepends on the majority of the people believing in and being self-governed by the moral and spiritual principles of Christianity. [For example, examine the 15 proclamations the Continental Congress issued to the entire country during the Revolutionary War, in which they repeatedly reiterated the essentiality of Christianity to the perpetuation of the Republic, including these remarks given on October 20, 1779, thanking God in that “he hath diffused the glorious light of the gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer, we may become the heirs of his eternal glory” and beseeching Him to “grant to his church the plentiful effusions of divine grace, and pour out his holy spirit on all ministers of the gospel…and spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth;…that he would in mercy look down upon us, pardon our sins and receive us into his favor, and finally, that he would establish the independence of these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue” (Miller, 2009, p. 36, emp. added). They insisted that the establishment of American independence as a new nation was based on Christianity.]
Observe that, with the origin of America being dependent on this national foundation, if a non-Christian group were to become sufficiently numerous that they were able to exert political control over the civil and educational institutions of the country, they obviously would alter the country’s way of life—including her religious institutions. In the case of Islamic domination, American constitutional law would be supplanted by Sharia law.
The Founders feared this very scenario, but felt hopeful that Americans would never allow such to happen. Contrary to the claim in recent years that the Founding Fathers of America advocated “pluralism” and equal acceptance of all religions, ideologies, and philosophies, the truth is that they feared for the future of the nation should its Christian foundation ever be compromised. Founding Father and Supreme Court Justice James Iredell, who was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President George Washington, reflected this concern in the debates over the wording of the U.S. Constitution in 1788. He felt reassured that Islam would never be allowed to infiltrate America: “But it is objected that the people of America may perhaps choose representatives who have no religion at all, and that pagans and Mahometans may be admitted into offices.... But it is never to be supposed that the people of America will trust their dearest rights to persons who have no religion at all, or a religion materially different from their own” (Elliott, 1836, 4:194).
While America generally has welcomed all nationalities of people to her shores regardless of their personal beliefs, alternative ideologies and religions never were intended to be given credence or encouragement and allowed to transform her into either an irreligious or non-Christian society. Nor was it intended that American civilization be adjusted to accommodate religious principles that contradict the original foundations of the nation. America welcomes people to live in freedom within her borders—as long as they do so peaceably (see Miller, 2013, 33:32). But to adjust social parameters in public life to accommodate divergent religions will weaken, not strengthen, the ability of America to sustain herself.
Founding Father Noah Webster articulated this indisputable fact in a letter to James Madison on October 29, 1829: “[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government.... and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence” (as quoted in Snyder, 1990, p. 253). The “Father of American Geography” Jedidiah Morse succinctly stated: “Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them” (1799, p. 9, emp. added). And Declaration of Independence signer John Witherspoon declared: “[H]e is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion [i.e., Christianity—James 1:27], and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind” (1777, pp. 16,33, emp. added).
It would seem self-evident that if Muslims succeed in transforming America into an Islamic nation, America will be no different from, and will look exactly like, all the other Islamic nations on Earth. What true-hearted American (or Christian) has a desire to move to such a nation?
Elliott, Jonathan (1836), The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Washington, D.C.: Jonathan Elliot).
“The Future of the Global Muslim Population” (2011), Pew Research Center, January 27,http://www.pewforum.org/2011/01/27/the-future-of-the-global-muslim-population/.
“The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050” (2015), Pew Research Center, April 2, http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/.
Grossman, Cathy (2011), “Number of U.S. Muslims to Double,” USA TODAY, January 27,http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-01-27-1Amuslim27_ST_N.htm.
Miller, Dave (2009), Christ and the Continental Congress (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Miller, Dave (2013), “Were the Founding Fathers ‘Tolerant’ of Islam? [Part I],” Reason & Revelation, 33:26-28,32-35, March.
Morse, Jedidiah (1799), A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America (Hartford, CT: Hudson and Goodwin),http://www.archive.org/details/sermonexhibiting00morsrich.
Snyder, K. Alan (1990), Defining Noah Webster: Mind and Morals in the Early Republic (New York: University Press of America).
Witherspoon, John (1777), The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men (Philadelphia, PA: Town & Country),http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Dominion_of_Providence_Over_the_Pass.html?id=HpRIAAAAYAAJ.
“Christianity Could Not Possibly Be True”
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
What did atheistic author Mike Davis allege was the “smoking gun” that proved to him once and for all that “Christianity could not possibly be true”? What “sealed the issue” and led him to believe “Jesus was wrong...and no more deserving of our belief than any other guy”? When did the case against the Bible and Christianity become “closed”? In chapter one of his book, The Atheist’s Introduction to the New Testament: How the Bible Undermines the Basic Teachings of Christianity, Davis explained that Matthew 24:34 was the deciding factor.
In Matthew 24:34, Jesus stated: “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” According to Davis, since “Jesus tells his listeners that the judgment day will come before the generation he’s speaking to passes away,” and since that generation passed away 1,900 years ago, Jesus “could not have been divine” and the Bible is “untrustworthy” (2008, pp. 1-2). In actuality, what Davis confesses ultimately “proved” to him that the Bible and Jesus are unreliable is nothing more than a misinterpretation of Scripture. Jesus was not mistaken in His comments in Matthew 24:34—Jesus’ generation did not pass away prior to witnessing the things Jesus foretold in Matthew 24:4-34. But, Jesus did not foretell in those verses what Davis assumes He foretold. Davis and many others believe that, prior to verse 34, Jesus was describing events that would take place shortly before Judgment Day at the end of time. The fact of the matter is, however, Jesus was prophesying about the coming destruction upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and not the final Judgment.
When the disciples went to show Jesus the temple buildings (Matthew 24:1), Jesus said, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (24:2). Later, when Jesus was on the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked Him three questions, beginning with “when will these things be?” (24:3). In verses 4-34, Jesus revealed several signs that would indicate Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem, including the temple, was near. [NOTE: “The fall of the Hebrew system is set forth in the sort of apocalyptic nomenclature that is characteristic of Old Testament literature, e.g., when the prophets pictorially portray the overthrow of Jehovah’s enemies (cf. Isaiah 13:10-11; 34:2ff; Ezekiel 32:7-8)” (Jackson, n.d.); cf. Matthew 24:29-31; see Miller, 2003.] In verses 35-51 (and all of chapter 25), Jesus answered the disciples’ last two questions: “what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). To summarize, in Matthew 24:4-34 Jesus foretold of the coming destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, while in 24:35-25:46 He commented on His future return and final Judgment of the world.
How sad it is that so many atheists and skeptics believe they have disproven the Bible and Christianity, when, in reality, they have simply twisted the biblical text to mean something God never intended (cf. 2 Peter 3:16). The fact that Mike Davis highlights Matthew 24:34 as the verse that once and for all proved to him the Bible is unreliable should tell us something about the extreme weakness of the skeptic’s case against Christianity.
Davis, Mike (2008), The Atheist’s Introduction to the New Testament (Outskirts Press: Denver, CO).
Jackson, Wayne (no date), “A Study of Matthew 24,” http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/19-a-study-of-matthew-24.
Miller, Dave (2003), “There Will Be No Signs!” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1838.
“Abiogenesis is Irrelevant to Evolution”
|by||Jeff Miller, Ph.D.|
The Law of Biogenesis tells us that in nature, life comes only from life of its kind (Miller, 2012). Therefore, abiogenesis (i.e., life arising from non-living materials) is impossible, according to the scientific evidence. How then can atheistic theories like Darwinian evolution be considered acceptable? There is a growing trend among evolutionists today to attempt to sidestep the problem of abiogenesis by contending that evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life, but rather is a theory which starts with life already in existence and explains the origin of all species from that original life form. However, this approach is merely wishful thinking—an effort to avoid the logical import of the Law of Biogenesis.
Historically, evolutionists have recognized that abiogenesis is a fundamental assumption inherent in evolutionary theory, and intuitively must be so. In 1960, British evolutionary physiologist, G.A. Kerkut, listed abiogenesis as the first assumption in a list of non-provable assumptions upon which evolution is founded. “The first assumption is that non-living things gave rise to living material, i.e., spontaneous generation occurred” (Kerkut, 1960, p. 6). Evolutionary theory is an attempt to explain the origin of species through natural means—without supernatural Creation. Logically, unless you concede the existence of God and subscribe to theistic evolution in order to explain the origin of life (a position that has been shown to be unsustainable, cf. Thompson, 2000), abiogenesis must have originally occurred in order to commence the process of Darwinian evolution. Abiogenesis is required by evolution as the starting point.
Further, atheistic evolutionary geologist, Robert Hazen, who received his doctoral degree from Harvard, admitted that he assumes abiogenesis occurred. In his lecture series, Origins of Life, he says, “In this lecture series I make a basic assumption that life emerged by some kind of natural process. I propose that life arose by a sequence of events that are completely consistent with natural laws of chemistry and physics” (2005, emp. added). Again, evolution is an attempt to explain life through natural means, and abiogenesis must go hand-in-hand with such a theory. Hazen further stated that in his assumption of abiogenesis, he is “like most other scientists” (2005). It makes perfect sense for atheistic evolutionists to admit their belief in abiogenesis. Without abiogenesis in place, there is no starting point for atheistic evolution to occur. However, many evolutionists do not want to admit such a belief too loudly, since such a belief has absolutely no scientific evidence to support it. It is a blind faith—a religious dogma.
It is also true that atheists themselves use the term “evolution” as a generalized catchall word encompassing all materialistic origin models, including those dealing with the origin of the cosmos, not just the origin of species. A simple Google search of the keywords, “cosmic evolution,” illustrates that contention. Consider, for example, the title of Harvard University astrophysicist Eric Chaisson’s Web site: “Cosmic Evolution: From Big Bang to Humankind” (2012). Consider also the comments of NASA chief historian, Steven Dick: “Cosmic evolution begins…with the formation of stars and planetary systems, proceeds…to primitive and complex life, and culminates with intelligence, technology and astronomers…contemplating the universe…. This story of the life of the universe, and our place in it, is known as cosmic evolution” (2005). If atheism were true, in this mythical story of how the Universe evolved from nothing to everything, abiogenesis must have occurred somewhere along the way. Thus, abiogenesis is a fundamental, implied phenomenon of evolutionary theory. Creationists are merely using atheistic evolutionists’ terms in the same way they use them.
The truth is, one cannot logically commence a study of Life Science or Biology—studies which are intimately linked with the theory of evolution by the bulk of the scientific community today—without first studying the origin of that life which allegedly evolved from a single-celled organism into the various forms of life on Earth today. Biology and Life Science textbooks today, with almost unanimity, include a discussion of biogenesis, abiogenesis (ironically, discussing the work of Pasteur, Spallanzani, and Redi, who disproved the theory of abiogenesis), and extensive discussions of evolutionary theory. The evolutionists themselves inevitably couple Biology and Life Science with evolution, as though they are one and the same. But a study of life—biology—must have a starting point. So, evolutionists themselves link the problem of abiogenesis to evolution. If the evolutionary community wishes to separate the study of biology from evolution—a position I would strongly recommend—then the evolutionist might be able to put his head in the sand and ignore the abiogenesis problem, but not while the evolutionist couples evolution so intimately with biology.
The reality is that abiogenesis stands alongside evolutionary theory as a fundamental plank of atheism and will remain there. The two are intimately linked and stand or fall together. It is time for the naturalist to forthrightly admit that his religious belief in evolution is based on a blind acceptance of an unscientific pheonomenon.
Chaisson, Eric (2012), “Cosmic Evolution: From Big Bang to Humankind,” Harvard College Observatory, https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/~ejchaisson/cosmic_evolution/docs/splash.html.
Dick, Steven J. (2005), “Why We Explore: Our Place in the Universe,” NASA,http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/whyweexplore/Why_We_13.html.
Hazen, Robert (2005), Origins of Life, audio-taped lecture (Chantilly, VA: The Teaching Company).
Kerkut, George A. (1960), The Implications of Evolution (London: Pergamon).
Miller, Jeff (2012), “The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 32:2-11, January,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1018&article=1722.
Thompson, Bert (2000), Creation Compromises (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
"Not Under Bondage"
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
“But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace” (1 Corinthians 7:15).
A current misconception with regard to divorce and remarriage is the notion that 1 Corinthians 7:15 is a “later revelation” that “modifies” or “clarifies” Matthew 19:9. It is argued that 1 Corinthians 7:15 permits the Christian, who is deserted by a non-Christian mate, to remarry on the sole ground of that desertion. On the other hand, it is suggested, Matthew 19:9 (which permits remarriage only on the ground of fornication) applies strictly to a Christian married to a Christian, and therefore is not to be considered applicable to the Christian who is married to a non-Christian. Several factors make this position untenable.
First, the context of Matthew 19 is divorce (Matthew 19:3), while the context of 1 Corinthians 7 is notdivorce but the propriety of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:1ff.). Jesus applied God’s original marriage law (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6) to the question of divorce and remarriage (Matthew 19:9). But Paulapplied God’s marriage law to several different questions that related to celibacy and the legitimacy of marriage for widows/widowers, Christians/non-Christians, and singles.
Second, it is incorrect to hold that if 1 Corinthians 7:15 pertains to a Christian married to a non-Christian, then Matthew 19:9 must refer exclusively to a Christian married to a Christian. Matthew 19:9 was uttered in context to a group of Jews seeking an answer to their question concerning Jewish divorce (Matthew 19:3). Jesus gave them an answer that was intended for them, as well as for those who would live during the Christian age. He appealed to Genesis 2, which resides in a pre-Jewish context and clearly applies to all people—i.e., the totality of humanity. Genesis 2 is a human race context. It reveals God’s ideal will for human marriage for all of human history—pre-Mosaic, Mosaic, and Christian.
Though divorce and remarriage for reasons other than fornication was “permitted” (epetrepsen—Matthew 19:8, though not endorsed) during the Mosaic period, Jesus made clear that the Jews had strayed from the original ideal because of their hard hearts. He further emphasized (notice the use ofde—“but” in Matthew 19:9) that the original marriage law, which permitted divorce and remarriage for fornication alone, would be reinstated and would be applicable to all persons during the Christian age. Prior to the cross, ignorance may have been “unattended to” (huperidon—Acts 17:30), that is, God did not have a universal law, like the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16), but with the ratification of the New Testament, all men everywhere are responsible and liable for conforming themselves to God’s universal laws of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. God’s original marriage law was, and is, addressed to all people (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). Christ’s application to the question of divorce was implied in the original law, and is addressed to all people (Matthew 19:9). Paul’s application to questions of sex, celibacy, and non-Christian mates is addressed to all people (1 Corinthians 7). Scripture harmonizes beautifully, and God treats all impartially. Thus the phrase “to the rest” (1 Corinthians 7:12) cannot be referring uniquely or solely to non-Christian marriage relationships, since Jesus already referred to all marriages (whether Jew or non-Jew, Christian or non-Christian).
Third, 1 Corinthians 7 does not address different “classes” of marriages. The Corinthian letter was written in response to correspondence previously sent to Paul by the Corinthians (cf. 1:11; 5:1; 7:1; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1). Thus, 1 Corinthians amounts to a point-by-point response to matters previously raised by the Corinthians themselves. When Paul referred to the general question of sexual activity/celibacy (7:1), he was alluding to the method by which he organized his remarks in direct response to questions asked by the Corinthians. Thus, “to the rest” (7:12) refers to the rest of the matters or questions about which the Corinthians specifically inquired (and to which Jesus did not make specific application while on Earth). These matters (not marriages) are easily discernible from what follows. The “rest” of the questions would have included the following:
- Should a Christian male who has a non-Christian wife sever the relationship (vs. 12)?
- Should a Christian female who has a non-Christian husband sever the relationship (vs. 13)?
- Are Christians somehow ceremonially defiled or rendered unclean by such relationships (vs. 14)?
- Are children born to such relationships ceremonially unclean (vs. 14)?
- Is a Christian guilty of sin if their non-Christian mate severs the relationship (vs. 15-16)?
- Does becoming a Christian mean that one should dissolve all conditions and relationships that were entered into before becoming a Christian (vss. 17-24)?
- What should be the sexual and/or marital status of virgins and widows in light of the current period of distress (vss. 25-40)?
All of these questions may be answered in light of, and in harmony with, Jesus’ own remarks in Matthew 19. Jesus did not specifically make application to these unique instances (vs. 12—“to the rest speak I, not the Lord”). He did not address Himself to the application of God’s general marriage law to every specific situation (specifically to the spiritual status of a Christian married to a non-Christian). Yet, His teaching applies to every case of marriage on the question of divorce.
Fourth, the specific context of 1 Corinthians 7:15 relates to the person who becomes a Christian, but whose mate does not. The unbeliever now finds himself married to a different person (in the sense that his mate underwent a total change and began to live a completely different lifestyle). The unbeliever demands that his mate make a choice: “either give up Christ or I’m leaving!” Yet to live in marriage with an unbeliever, who threatens departure if the believer does not capitulate to the unbeliever (i.e., compromise Christian responsibility or neglect divinely ordained duty), is to be involved in slavery (i.e., “bondage”). But neither at the time the marriage was contracted, nor at the present time (the force of the perfect indicative passive in Greek), has the Christian been under that kind of bondage. God never intended nor approved a view that regards marriage as slavery. Christians are slaves only to God—never to men or mates (Matthew 23:10; Romans 6:22; Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 3:24; Philemon 16; 1 Corinthians 7:15). So Paul was saying that although a believer is married to an unbeliever (and continues to be so), the believer is not to compromise his or her discipleship. To do so, at the insistence of the unbelieving mate, would constitute slavery that was never God’s intention for marriage.
To suggest that dedoulotai (“bondage”) refers to the marriage bond is to maintain that in some sense (or in some cases) the marriage bond is to be viewed as a state of slavery. But God does not want us to view our marital unions as slave relationships in which we are “under bondage.” We may be “bound” (1 Corinthians 7:27,39; Romans 7:2), but we are not “enslaved” (1 Corinthians 7:15). So Paul was not commenting on the status of a believer’s marital relationship (i.e., whether bound or loosed). Rather, he was commenting on the status of a believer’s spiritual relationship as a Christian in the context of marital discord that is initiated by the non-Christian mate. Paul was answering the question: “How does being married to a non-Christian affect my status as a Christian if he or she threatens to leave?” He was not answering the question: “How does being married to a non-Christian affect my status as a husband/wife (and the potential for remarriage) when the non-Christian departs?” Jesus already answered that question in Matthew 19:9—divorce and remarriage is permitted only upon the basis of sexual unfaithfulness. Paul, too, spoke more directly to this question earlier in the chapter when he ruled out remarriage: “Let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband” (vss. 10-11).
To summarize: although God’s marriage law is stringent (for everybody), and although God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), nevertheless, there are times when an unbelieving mate actually will force the believer to make a choice between Christ and the unbelieving mate. To choose the mate over Christ would be slavery (i.e., “bondage”). Yet, the believer is not now, and never has been, in such enslavement. Thus, the believer must let the unbeliever exit the relationship in peace. The believer must “let him depart”—in the sense that the believer must not seek to prevent his departure by compromising his loyalty to Christ. Of course, the Christian would continue to hold out hope that the marriage could be saved. If, however, the non-Christian forms a sexual union outside of marriage with another, the Christian is permitted the right to exercise the injunction of Matthew 19:9 by putting away the non-Christian on the sole grounds of fornication, and may then marry another eligible person.
One final factor needs to be addressed. Verses 17-24 cannot be requiring an individual to remain in whatever marital state that person is in at the time of conversion. Paul used the examples of slavery and circumcision to show that merely because a person becomes a Christian, he or she is not absolved of pre-Christian circumstances. If a person is a slave prior to baptism, that person will continue to be a slave after baptism, and should not think that becoming a Christian gives one the right to shirk legal status as a slave. This is why Paul instructed Onesimus to return to his position of servitude (Philemon 12). Thus Paul was encouraging the person who becomes a Christian, but whose mate does not become a Christian, to remain in that marriage rather than think that becoming a Christian somehow gives him or her the right to sever the relationship with the non-Christian mate. Being married to a non-Christian mate is not sinful in and of itself (see Miller, 2002).
Paul was not placing his stamp of approval upon relationships, practices, and conditions that weresinful prior to baptism; nor was he encouraging Christians to remain in those relationships. Such would contradict what he later told the Corinthians concerning unequal yokes (2 Corinthians 6:17) and repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-10). Rather, he was referring to relationships and conditions that werenot sinful prior to baptism, and was telling Christians that they still had the same obligation to conduct themselves appropriately (i.e., according to God’s laws) within those situations, now that they were Christians. Such instructions apply to any relationship, practice, or condition that was not sinful (i.e., in violation of Christ’s laws) prior to baptism. But it does not apply to any practice or relationship that was sinful prior to baptism (i.e., adultery, homosexuality, evil business practices, etc.; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
May God grant us the humility and determination to conform our lives to His will concerning marriage—no matter how narrow it may seem (Matthew 7:14). May the church of our day be spared any further harm that comes from the promotion of false theories and doctrines that are calculated to re-define God’s will as “wide” and “broad” (Matthew 7:13). May we truly seek to please, not men, but God (Galatians 1:10).
Miller, Dave (2002), “Be Not Unequally Yoked,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1802.