Saturday, January 3, 2015

Job 37:6-13 comments: Is God involved?

6 ¶  For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. 7  He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work. 8  Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places. 9  Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north. 10  By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened. 11  Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: 12  And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. 13  He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.

Here, Elihu overthrows much of even contemporary Christian thought about natural events. The implication here is that God is involved in the execution of what we have been taught to believe are automatic, natural process, things that just happen based on conditions, without direction. But, any study of meteorology will show you that weather conditions can suggest certain events might happen but the exact location or the intensity of the event is virtually unknowable except by probability and computer model. Volcanologists will tell you that even if they have measuring instruments on a volcano they expect to be active they have no certainty when the event will happen or if it will even occur above the surface at all. Those who study hurricanes as well deal with existing conditions, probability, and statistics and try to project the path of a hurricane but always speak in terms of likelihood of direction and intensity. The seismologist cannot tell you for sure when an earthquake will happen or what its intensity will be only relay the warning signs and the likelihood based on where the expected quake should occur. In fact, there is a great deal of uncertainty in all predictions of natural phenomenon.

With regard to forces on the subatomic level, the naked eye has never seen the particles that are talked of in volumes of scientific literature even through magnification because we are talking about things too small for such observation. It is only the effects that are measured and assumptions made about the nature of the particles based on the effects they cause. But, the one thing about all of these predictions and assumptions and theories is that they represent a way of understanding our world that excludes supernatural forces and entities. In fact, one aspect of modernity is that it cannot bear the thought that anything exists apart from the natural world or the randomness of events. As the popular Dr. Tyson is reported to have said on the TV series, Cosmos, “The Cosmos is all there ever was, all there is, and all there ever will be.” Theoretical science is based, in fact, due to the worldview of many of its adherents, has to be based, on the absolute belief that there is nothing else but the physical universe.

They will acknowledge that there is not enough mass in the universe to account for gravity as they believe it to be so some invisible thing is holding it all together. They must postulate Dark Matter and Dark Energy, unseen, invisible but perfectly natural and without a personal will, to explain why things consist. But, a true Bible-believer knows that it is Christ, the Word of God, God Himself, who holds it all together.

Colossians 1:16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

It should give the Christian pause as he or she examines their most basic beliefs about day-to-day reality.

On one level, verse 7 is thought to be a reference, unapproachable to mankind before its discovery for unique, personal identification purposes in the latter half of the 1800’s, the 19th century, to fingerprints. On another level, understandable by God’s people for thousands of years prior to that discovery, is from the context. When the weather was overpowering and awful, men were unable to perform their work. They were prevented from pursuing the means of their livelihoods and professions, forced to give pause to consider God’s handiwork, of course, until recently when even God’s people stopped believing He had a hand in the storm. The beasts of field and forest also tried to stay out of the elements.

Verse 9, on one level, is thought to be a reference to the hurricanes and typhoons that afflict the warmer climates with extreme cold the bane of the northern. The next couple of verses impress upon Job God’s direct hand in extreme weather. Verse 13 has been referenced by some conservative preachers as a statement of God’s using the weather as a judgment upon America for challenging modern Israel’s right to and safety in the land given to them thousands of years previously by God. It is an interesting and intriguing thought regarding the meaning of these verses and it may very well be true, although Elihu himself could not have understood it that way. From the first George Bush and for the presidents that succeeded him there have been devastating weather events that accompanied the signing of agreements where an America pressured Israel surrendered territory, from the famous, “Perfect Storm,” of movie fame to Hurricane Katrina.

Still, I am not trying to turn this into a study of prophecy, which while very interesting, is very subjective. The point of these passages is Elihu’s proclamation of God’s direct involvement in natural events. American Christians have been brainwashed far too long in the idea of a watchmaker God winding it up and walking away, who, paradoxically, they will pray to for a parking space close to the doctor’s office but who has nothing to do with earthquakes and can’t preserve the words He wants us to have. It does seem kind of odd that you would think God would care about whether or not the day you plan on a picnic is sunny or rainy but that a typhoon slamming into the Philippines is something He has no part in unless someone brings it to His attention that people are in danger.

We have created a senile, doddering God who we go to for protection from forces He had nothing to do with, a God whom the saved and the unsaved can resist at their discretion, and a God who is seemingly unaware of a volcanic eruption unless we alert Him to it.

The God presented by the Bible is not so.

No comments: