Three Radical Ideas
The Book of Job discusses several radical ideas regarding human suffering and God. First, the Book of Job focuses on questioning the so-called “rules” that were created before Job’s existence. Regardless, no rulebook could help understand those rules. Even though Job starts questioning the fairness of the world, he does not ignore the fact that certain rules do exist. The fact is, Job chooses to challenge the existing rules due to the visible unfairness of his suffering (Harris 203). This is why Job starts to doubt God. On a bigger scale, this is a direct link to the authors’ distrust towards tradition. These Job’s thoughts reflect a serious philosophical implication relating to the problem of suffering (Harris 203). Another radical idea of the Book of Job is that pain is (and should be) an irreplaceable aspect of human existence. The authors of the Book of Job provide us with explicit examples of different types of pain and imply that no one can evade pain. Job is exposed to physical pain (rash and blisters), emotional pain (the deaths of almost all Job’s close ones), and spiritual pain (as Job questions the reasons for punishment and tortures himself on the inside) (Harris 204).
Overall, the question that is raised by the Book of Job is whether we know how to react to the pain that is associated with divine loyalty (Harris 206). The last radical idea is the perception of death. In the Book of Job, almost everyone dies. Regardless, the book itself does not concentrate on the process of destruction and does not normalize death. The key aspect of this idea consists in the fact that physical destruction is closely related to the philosophical side of the question (Harris 206). Ultimately, the deaths of people from Job’s “society” elicit the thoughts regarding the meaning of human life and its fragility.
Leviathan, God, and Job
After God shows Leviathan to Job, He asks him if the latter can retort. This is where Job realizes that he is not righteous and there is no reason to persist and prove his righteousness to God (Hobbes 221). Nonetheless, this situation presents God perfectly. He is not cruel; He is rigid. God’s struggle with Leviathan leaves no chance to Job as he has countless questions without an equal number of answers.
God says to Job that he has to be courageous and answer His questions if he has nothing more to say to God. Further, He asks Job if the latter can be equal with God. Job demands justice for himself because he considers himself righteous and expects to be treated fairly by everyone (including God) (Harris 206). Job believes that the wicked should be punished, but he cannot punish them himself. This is why God rigidly rejects Job’s protest. The fact of accusing God will not establish Job’s righteousness. God hints at the fact that righteousness cannot exist without Him and Job virtually has no right to sue a certain right to righteousness from God. Leviathan gives the idea of a symbol of dark forces that cannot be defeated by man alone (Hobbes 221). The representation of nature is a hippopotamus lying in the water, which has no concern for people, whether they are righteous or sinners. God ultimately outlines His struggle with Leviathan and His attitude towards Job’s accusations by saying that there is no sense to address nature because one will achieve nothing from it. In the face of natural powers, righteousness does not stand a chance as only God’s direct intervention can help.
Harris, Stephen L. Understanding the Bible. McGraw-Hill, 2013.
Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Continuum, 2005.