James Kellenberger's Characterization of Job-Like Beliefs in the Face of Evil

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November 27, 2009

James Kellenberger’s Characterization of Job-Like Beliefs in the Face of Evil

How does James Kellenberger characterize a believer’s “Job-like” belief in the face of evil? Does such belief make sense as a response to the problem of evil? Why or why not?

Before exploring James Kellenberger’s characterizations of the Job-like believer’s beliefs in the face of evil, it is important that we first examine and understand exactly what is meant by “Job-like” – and to do that, we must consider the story of Job as it is written in the Hebrew Bible. Essentially, Job is a religious man who also happens to be a very prosperous individual. God approaches Satan seeking his opinion of Job, as he appears to quite clearly be a pious man. Satan then answers that Job is only so devout as a result of his prosperity and wealth. As a result, God offers Satan the freedom to essentially pull apart Job’s life – removing/destroying his possessions and family. Job’s wealth is taken away, his possessions are destroyed, and the house of his firstborn is knocked down by a wind, killing every one of his offspring who were gathered for a feast. Much to Satan’s surprise, Job does not falter in his faith to God despite all these sufferings. God then grants Satan permission to directly affect Job’s health in hopes that he will break in his devoutness, so long as he does not take his life. Job is smitten with boils and illness, but his only response is to scratch them away with broken pottery, still remaining strong in his faith. His wife asks him to “curse God, and die” but Job simply replies with “You speak as one of the foolish speaks. Moreover, shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 1.9-10) It is in this that Job reveals his true faith in that the actions of God, be they good or evil, they are regardless a part of God’s creation or domain – and as such, should not be seen as a reason to break faith. Job’s friends accuse him of...
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