Thursday, January 8, 2015

Job, chapter 38, 4-11 comments: God affirms His rule over nature

4 ¶  Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6  Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7  When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8  Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 9  When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, 10  And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 11  And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?

There are several ways of looking at what verse 4 actually says but generally only one meaning. God is saying to Job, “where were you when I created the earth?” It is a challenge showing God’s knowledge superior to Job’s as the Creator of the very earth he is standing or sitting on. In historical scholarship there is what is called a primary source. That is usually a first-hand eyewitness account or an interview with an eyewitness. The book of Genesis represents an eyewitness account of creation and the first half of human history by the one who created and oversaw it, with Moses as the interviewer or the amanuensis, secretary. It is a primary source in contrast to what 19th century preacher, DeWitt Talmage, whom my grandfather was named after, called in a sermon, “The Guess of Evolution.”

It would be easy to view this as poetic language, talking about the earth’s foundations and its corner stone, as this is comparable to how we discuss building a building. As we know it has already been said that the earth hangs in empty space there can be no misunderstanding that God is talking about the earth sitting on something. See chapter 26, verse 7. It may be tempting to talk about the earth’s mantle, on which the earth’s crust sits, as being its foundation but I think it would be more reasonable to view this as a figurative argument with references to building a building as metaphorical descriptions. It is not God’s purpose here to give a science lesson but to make a point about His sovereignty and Job’s ignorance.

Verse 7 reveals something interesting. The terms, “morning stars,” and the, “sons of God,” are synonymous, perhaps? Jesus Christ is, “the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:16). He is the Son of God, uppercase S. (Mark 1:1).

We became the, “sons of God,” when we believed on Christ (John 1:12). Perhaps we will replace those beings that left, “their first estate.” (Jude, verse 6). Angels, as appearances of the sons of God, is a word that is used interchangeably with that phrase.

Genesis 6:2  That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose...4  There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

These supernatural beings which became natural beings are awaiting their final judgment now.

2Peter 2:4  For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment...

While the following verse may be a reference to future events, if it is a reference to past events then, by cross referencing one might assume that chapter 12 of Revelation is a summary of spiritual events in history.

Revelation 12:3  And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4a  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth...

Of course, this raises as many questions as it answers but helps explain why human history appears, as some have said, to be the autobiography of a madman with the reptilian cherub, Satan, and the rebellious sons of God influencing mankind in every way.

But, in the beginning the morning stars, the sons of God, patterned after THE Son of God, as we will be one day (1John 3:2) rejoiced.  

Again, in verses 8 through 11 we have poetic metaphor mentioning the sea that came from out of the earth as in Genesis 8:2. Those who study these things believe that there exists now more water in the earth’s mantle, the foundation if you will permit me, perhaps as much as in the oceans above the crust. (39). The point here is that there is order on the earth, natural limitations to what we see around us. The idea here is staggering. The sea stays in its place by God’s command and, therefore, the opposite must be true, that when there is a tsunami, such as in 2004 on the day after Christmas, or a tidal wave that washes over a city like Japan’s Fukushima in 2011, that it was by God’s permissive will that these disasters occurred.

This goes against the thinking of modern Christians of God as being a benign bystander watching a building catch fire and then responding to the screams of some by rushing in to carry them to safety. It suggests that God built the building, placed the people in it, set the fire or gave permission for it to be set by Satan, and then saved whom He chose. We have a huge problem with God’s sovereignty and the activity of our Creator in every function of and aspect of life because we wish so much to believe that we are gods and we demand to be the measure of all things and the judge of right and wrong.

God has enlightened Job somewhat to His sovereign authority and dominion and rule over nature and, indeed, over all creation.

(39) Becky Oskin, “Rare Diamond Confirms that Earth’s Mantle Holds an Ocean’s Worth of Water,” Scientific American, March 12, 2014.

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