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Some say what comes around goes around, meaning that if you do something bad, eventually it will come back around to you. The question at hand is “what do people deserve for doing “good” or “bad” things?” In The Book of Job, the main character Job has to endure physical as well as mental pain that God had put upon him. This was a test that tested Job’s faith in God and belief that his actions were just. God believed that Job valued him more than the possessions he owned in his human life. He wanted to prove to Satan that faith was true and that Job was dedicated to him. Socrates once said something along the lines that “it is better to endure and receive harm than to inflict it upon someone else” This means that you are better off in this world if you receive pain rather than to inflict it on someone else. So why was God inflicting pain onto Job? Did this form of action make God a bad person?
Not necessarily so. The pain was not pain from the whip in the hand of God but the pain from extracting pride from Job. The pain that Job had endured had two reasons behind it. One was to extract the pride that Job held, and to show God’s greatness and glory. Now why do bad things happen to good people? If something bad does happen to someone good, were they really good in the first place? I argue this to be false. I disagree that there is ALWAYS a mean to end. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people because that is just the way life is; it is the natural human world.
How do we know that things just happen without any means? Let’s look towards our health. Are all good people healthy and are all bad people dying? The answer is no. God does not throw cancer onto someone who has done wrong and he does not give someone a disease because they have sinned. God’s plan for Job was to refine and fix Job’s righteousness. In the real world, someone isn’t going to lose everything they had and suddenly get everything they once lost back, but better. It simply just doesn’t happen in human nature. The lesson in The Book of Job was basically that God has a plan for you. It may have not applied to the real world necessarily though. In the real world, you don’t get second chances at life. You have one life to live and it’s up to you to decide on how you live it. This book also references how the man (humans) are weak and just mortal beings. This is shown again, from how God brings that suffering to Job to “refine his righteousness.”
Evidence to back up that God can’t be divinely the one in control of what is bad and good in our lives is shown throughout life itself. Do people in the war die because they’re bad people? No, they die BECAUSE of bad people, and sometimes those bad people get to live. When it comes to things like war, it’s hard to understand why things are happening the way that they are. If God is truly good and is always looking to do the best things for us, then why do bad things happen? This is a reoccurring question that does not have one right answer to it. How does murder play into this equation? Let’s say a murder kills a good person, the murder does not get caught and continues to live a lavish and long life, while the victim of the family forever mourns their child. This is a controversial topic but it needs to be addressed in order to have a good argument. If bad people deserve bad things yet good people are receiving a life of suffering, were they really good at all? There is a connection in the book between the desires that Satan wants to play out on humans and the things that God lets him do. Satan was the real cause of Job’s pain that he endured although God did have a hand in it.
The book is saying that although God’s hand played into his suffering, it didn’t mean that he didn’t care about Job and what he went through. The book is trying to say that God doesn’t inflict pain for the fun of it or to let Satan take a stab at mankind, but to show that he is all might, to show discipline, order, and renewal. He simply does not harm for the wrong reason. In the book, Job is suffering for his own good and not just because of the randomness of human nature. Job has three friends that come to him to try and sympathize with him. When they come, Job asks, “If I have sinned, show me.” His first friend Eliphaz tries to convince Job to confess his sin and lay them all out to god. Eliphaz tries to tell Job that he is foolish for thinking that he has not sinned. He means that it in unwise to pretend like he doesn’t know what he did. Living your life like it was perfect, without looking deeper into it, led him to his pain and suffering. Eliphaz wanted Job to see that God would heal him and bring back prosperity once he revealed his sins and laid them out not only to God but to himself. Bildad, Job’s other friend had other thoughts in mind. Bildad believed that God was neither unjust nor unfair. He claimed that all of Job’s suffering was a result from all of his sins and his faults alone. Bildad said that Job needed to repent himself before he could be saved by God’s grace. His friend thought that Job was evil and that he needed to repent in order to get all of his lost joys and pleasures back. Bildad also believed that since Job was a sinner and he was evil, he needed to be punished by God. Through the whole conversation, Job was unable to agree with his friend because Job still believed that he was a righteous man and that the evidence that was presented before him was false and accusing. The attack on Job continued with his friend Zophar. Zophar thought that he had an understanding of God’s wisdom. He believed that Job was too caught up in his materialistic way of life to understand God and the deeper meaning behind his actions. That is why Job couldn’t understand why he was being punished even though he believed that he was a righteous man that did not harm and sin. Job simply did not understand the concepts behind good and evil.
What makes a person good? What makes a person bad? A person’s actions, duties, and services do not make someone a good person. You can do anything in life and label it as “good” but it will not truly be “good” unless you have the right intention and motivation. For example: Two sisters are always competing with one another, both caught up in trying to one up the other. These sisters are wealthy and prosperous. Each sister holds a fundraiser for the poor, one sister makes more than the other. The other sister sees that she made less money, and holds another fundraiser to out beat her sister. Now is this what a good person is? From an outside perspective, you see two generous sisters holding fundraiser and helping the poor. The deed that they are explicitly carrying out may be labeled as good, but they are not good in the soul. Now turning back around to Job, his actions may have been in the right place, but was his heart? One could argue different perspectives of the situation. In the end, God claimed that Job was truly righteous. Job had endured great suffering. He may have questioned God’s motives and reason for his suffering, but he never gave up the faith that God knew he had. Towards the end, God pretty much said that he will be just to all of the creatures he has created in the world. God always has a reason to his actions whether it be discipline, order, or refining of the soul. Nobody regulates justice BUT God himself. God is not obligated to anything whether it be nature, the world, even man.
The book is trying to show that God teaches through discipline and suffering will only make you better and stronger. In the end, no one deserves anything at all really. Man cannot expect that if they do something good, they will get good back in return. Everyone is at their knees to God and we all answer to him. We are not the determiners of our own reward and our punishment and the soon we realize that the sooner we will all be closer to God.
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