T Nation

Book of Job - Why?

First, I should say that I’m not tremendously religious. Up until about 4 years ago, I used to say that I was “officially undecided”, when asked what religion I was. But now I go to church 2 or 3 times a month, and I skim through the bible on occasion.

I’ve always been interested in the Book of Job, how a man can hold fast to his convictions through horrible suffering and trials. But there’s always been one point I couldn’t wrap my head around. Why did he have to suffer in the first place?

It seems to me that Job’s suffering was the result of, essentially, a bet between God and Satan. In the beginning of the Book, God and Satan have a conversation which I interpret as basically:
Satan: I bet Job will curse you if he sufffers enough.

God: I bet he won’t. Go 'head. Make him suffer, just don’t kill him. He’ll still love me.

Satan: Fine. You’re on.

It just seems as though God put Job through all these problems simply to prove to Satan that Job’s love would hold fast. And that doesn’t seem like a loving thing to do.

Can anyone explain this?

[quote]Minotaur wrote:
And that doesn’t seem like a loving thing to do.[/quote]

Let me answer your question with a question: having read the Old Testament, do you really still have that image of a LOVING God?

I’ve read it many times, and I honestly do NOT get the image of a loving God, at least not during The Law (Old Testament times). At all. I believe that’s basically some fluffy marketing image that is stuck on some people’s minds.

Hey, you don’t see Jews running around shouting “GOD LOVES YOU!”, do you?

Anyway, to actually answer your question, here’s a quote from Wikipedia’s article on this that I believe to be probably the most objective way anyone can answer your question:

"
The Book of Job is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. The name Job or Yob (“Yobe”) means Hostility in Hebrew. Job is a didactic poem set in a prose framing device.

According to the Testament of Job, another name for Job is Jobab. The Septuagint identifies Job as Jobab, a descendent of Esau, a king of Edom mentioned in Genesis 36:33.

The Book of Job has been called the most difficult book of the Bible. The numerous exegeses of the Book of Job are classic attempts to reconcile the co-existence of evil and God (for which Leibniz coined the term theodicy). Job appears ambiguously as an invocation to righteousness, as a cynical outlook on the idea of righteousness, and as a response to the problem of evil. Scholars are divided as to what the original intent of the poem was, and a few even suggest it was meant as a satire against more puritanical upholding of religion.
"

[quote]hspder wrote:
Minotaur wrote:
And that doesn’t seem like a loving thing to do.

Let me answer your question with a question: having read the Old Testament, do you really still have that image of a LOVING God?

I’ve read it many times, and I honestly do NOT get the image of a loving God, at least not during The Law (Old Testament times). At all. I believe that’s basically some fluffy marketing image that is stuck on some people’s minds.

Hey, you don’t see Jews running around shouting “GOD LOVES YOU!”, do you?

Anyway, to actually answer your question, here’s a quote from Wikipedia’s article on this that I believe to be probably the most objective way anyone can answer your question:

"
The Book of Job is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. The name Job or Yob (“Yobe”) means Hostility in Hebrew. Job is a didactic poem set in a prose framing device.

According to the Testament of Job, another name for Job is Jobab. The Septuagint identifies Job as Jobab, a descendent of Esau, a king of Edom mentioned in Genesis 36:33.

The Book of Job has been called the most difficult book of the Bible. The numerous exegeses of the Book of Job are classic attempts to reconcile the co-existence of evil and God (for which Leibniz coined the term theodicy). Job appears ambiguously as an invocation to righteousness, as a cynical outlook on the idea of righteousness, and as a response to the problem of evil. Scholars are divided as to what the original intent of the poem was, and a few even suggest it was meant as a satire against more puritanical upholding of religion.
"[/quote]

I’m glad you posted that. I personally don’t take things in the Bible as flatly as “the tower of Babel was a real tower”. I think that it stands for more than that. The same goes for the book of Job. I think it was meant to rationalize evil being present in the face of a more powerful “good”. I also wouldn’t gather from that there being a blatant wager between God and the Devil. My dad was a preacher. It was always my understanding that evil can not occur without the knowledge of God. I also gathered from this story that in spite of the negative that occurs in your life, struggling through it with a positive mind set will leave you stronger in the end and more well off. I think people who try to dissect the Bible word for word as if everything was a literal translation are a little petty. I feel the message was much deeper than that.

‘Satan’ in the Book of Job is not ‘the devil’ as later Christian tradition would seem to suggest.

Satan is, instead, an ‘accuser’ or ‘adversary’ (a kind of advisor) to God. This is an early work, and contrary to later tradition, God is much more anthropomorphized, instead of being the more abstract, ethereal being of later tradition. As such, God is presented as a more literal king of creation, without concern for problems like omniscience, predestination, etc.

The wager, then, is just a dramatic tool to provide the initial conflict to the story.

The Book of Job was also a poem, and was probably not viewed as literal truth when it was written. This is a separate question from it being an inspired text; its value as a work of instruction is separate from its value as a work of history.

Theodicy is a misleading concept to get into Job. That’s because theodicy begins from the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” Job is wrestling with a more basic problem; what is the good of worshipping God, if there are no earthly rewards for one’s pains? Job doesn’t have the idea of a rewarding afterlife, instead seeing death as a world of shadows. At this stage of belief, the covenant with God promises material, tangible benefits to the chosen people and their posterity.

But once earthly rewards are removed (while heavenly ones are unknown), one must ask to what end worship (and goodness) ought to be embraced. This problem is echoed in Plato’s Republic, which asks (among other things) if a man should be good if he is punished for it, if he could be bad and be rewarded for it.

The book also contains a stern caution against those who would equate earthly suffering with punishment for wickedness.

I think it’s important to honestly engage any work of philosophy (which I believe tBoJ is) as a work that might actually teach us something about how to live. The problem most people have when engaging the Old Testament is that they want to address it purely in terms of what might be a humanly rewarding experience, as opposed to an exploration of what might be good, simply.

[quote]hspder wrote:

Let me answer your question with a question: having read the Old Testament, do you really still have that image of a LOVING God?

I’ve read it many times, and I honestly do NOT get the image of a loving God, at least not during The Law (Old Testament times). At all. I believe that’s basically some fluffy marketing image that is stuck on some people’s minds.
"[/quote]

God never changes and did not change from the Old Testament to the New. Try this, next time you read through the Old Testament, take note of each time God forgives the Jews for their horrendous sin, and covers their iniquity. Of course, He is only able to do this because of the redemptive work of Jesus actually covers the sins of God’s chosen people in the past as well as the future.

The major problem though is how people view God’s revelation of Himself in the New Testament. They get their fluffy theology from bumper stickers, Christian t-shirts and the odd verse used out of context. God’s love for us is only ever spoken of in terms of the cross. That is how he loves us.

Here are some passages for those who think God somehow ceased to be wrathful towards sin, and a righteous and just judge in the New Testament:

Jesus Said in Mathew 10-28: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (The Him in this passage is God)

Jesus also said in Luke 13:22-28:
And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”

And He said to them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.

Acts 2: 1-11

"But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”

She said, “Yes, for so much.”

Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things."

Romans 2: 5-11
“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness?indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.”

I am currently taking a philosophy class and this was one of our major discussions. Why would a loving, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god allow evil? The cliche answer is that we have “free will” but why would god give humans like hitler the free will to kill millions of people and thus take away their free will? If god is all powerfull why doesn’t he destroy the devil?

[quote]pitbull314 wrote:
I am currently taking a philosophy class and this was one of our major discussions. Why would a loving, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god allow evil? The cliche answer is that we have “free will” but why would god give humans like hitler the free will to kill millions of people and thus take away their free will? If god is all powerfull why doesn’t he destroy the devil? [/quote]

Because there would be no point in having CHOICE if there was only “the right choice” to make. How would we even acknowledge pleasure if we had no concept at all of pain? Angels have already been created from the aspect of The Bible. Our purpose isn’t the same.

[quote]pitbull314 wrote:
I am currently taking a philosophy class and this was one of our major discussions. Why would a loving, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god allow evil? The cliche answer is that we have “free will” but why would god give humans like hitler the free will to kill millions of people and thus take away their free will? If god is all powerfull why doesn’t he destroy the devil? [/quote]

It’s hard to wrap your mind around, if you can’t entertain the idea that the world was not made for our personal pleasure.

Prof X is correct that it makes little sense to posit a bounded “free will.”

[quote]pitbull314 wrote:
I am currently taking a philosophy class and this was one of our major discussions. Why would a loving, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god allow evil? The cliche answer is that we have “free will” but why would god give humans like hitler the free will to kill millions of people and thus take away their free will? If god is all powerfull why doesn’t he destroy the devil? [/quote]

A synopsis of part of the book of Adam and Eve.

God made the angels and he won’t destroy them and he gave them free will. He also did the same for humans.

[quote]Minotaur wrote:
First, I should say that I’m not tremendously religious. Up until about 4 years ago, I used to say that I was “officially undecided”, when asked what religion I was. But now I go to church 2 or 3 times a month, and I skim through the bible on occasion.

I’ve always been interested in the Book of Job, how a man can hold fast to his convictions through horrible suffering and trials. But there’s always been one point I couldn’t wrap my head around. Why did he have to suffer in the first place?

It seems to me that Job’s suffering was the result of, essentially, a bet between God and Satan. In the beginning of the Book, God and Satan have a conversation which I interpret as basically:
Satan: I bet Job will curse you if he sufffers enough.

God: I bet he won’t. Go 'head. Make him suffer, just don’t kill him. He’ll still love me.

Satan: Fine. You’re on.

It just seems as though God put Job through all these problems simply to prove to Satan that Job’s love would hold fast. And that doesn’t seem like a loving thing to do.

Can anyone explain this?[/quote]

I think the most important thing to consider here is God’s character, seeing as though your question asks “Why does God allow this to happen?”

One characteristic of God that is especially prevalent throught the OT is God’s concern about how His people relate to Him and how faithful they are in obeying the way of life He set out for them. One great example of this was when after having led Israel out of slavery in Egypt, through the Dead Sea and across the desert He told them to cross the Jordan river and take the land of Canaan that He had promised to them. However they baulked at this because they were afraid of fighting the inhabitants of the land, they did not trust God. As a result they were banished to the desert until all of that generation had died out. The next generation were given another chance and they took it, resulting in finally being given a land that Israel could call its own.

Job could be viewed as being similar, Satan is challenging the faithfulness of one of God’s people and God obviously wants to prove him incorrect. Job survives the ordeal with his faith in God stronger, and his reward is that he receives even more blessings than before, and Job’s faith in God is proved to Satan.

It is also important to note that God had control over what Satan could do to Job, this wasn’t a case of two “gods” fighting between each other.

I think this book has parallels with the life of the Christian. In the NT there are many passages warning Christians to expect sufferring as a result of their faith, but they are encouraged to keep their eyes firmly fixed on the ultimate reward of eternal life with God and to not sway from the way of life God wants for them.

Hope this helps,

Ben

[quote]JPBear wrote:
hspder wrote:

Let me answer your question with a question: having read the Old Testament, do you really still have that image of a LOVING God?

I’ve read it many times, and I honestly do NOT get the image of a loving God, at least not during The Law (Old Testament times). At all. I believe that’s basically some fluffy marketing image that is stuck on some people’s minds.
"

God never changes and did not change from the Old Testament to the New. Try this, next time you read through the Old Testament, take note of each time God forgives the Jews for their horrendous sin, and covers their iniquity. Of course, He is only able to do this because of the redemptive work of Jesus actually covers the sins of God’s chosen people in the past as well as the future.

The major problem though is how people view God’s revelation of Himself in the New Testament. They get their fluffy theology from bumper stickers, Christian t-shirts and the odd verse used out of context. God’s love for us is only ever spoken of in terms of the cross. That is how he loves us.

Here are some passages for those who think God somehow ceased to be wrathful towards sin, and a righteous and just judge in the New Testament:

Jesus Said in Mathew 10-28: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (The Him in this passage is God)

Jesus also said in Luke 13:22-28:
And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”

And He said to them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.

Acts 2: 1-11

"But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”

She said, “Yes, for so much.”

Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things."

Romans 2: 5-11
“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness?indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.”
[/quote]

JP,

Excellent post! I am in agreement as to the teaching of the entire Bible. It is indeed difficult to fathom how and why God allows “good people” to suffer, but study His Word and the answers are right in there.

Some points to consider:

(1) Job was spoken of by the prophet Ezekiel (Ezk. 14:14,20 and by James in the N.T. James 5:11) as a literal, historical figure. Therefore the Bible presents Job and what happened as a literal story, albeit poetic in nature. There is nothing in the text that demands that we take this in any other way, but literal.

(2) “Why does God allow good people to suffer.” This is always a difficult question, but we need to examine what God’s Word says about “good people.” Consider this:

a) Psalm 14:1-3 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. ?The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. ?They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy?: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

b) Psalm 53:1-3: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. ?God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. ?Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

c) Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”

d) Isaiah 64:6: “But we all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…”

We could go on and on and on. The point is that because of the Fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, we are all born sinners and the stain and curse placed for that sin is transmitted to us all.

We should never look at the difficulties that were guaranteed to fallen man as something to blame God for. The fact that God doesn’t consume the whole lot of us now, is a testimony to His love and grace. The fact that He delivers any of us from our difficulites and trials – as He did Job – is also a testimony to His infinite love and care of us.

As to why God gives us a choice to love Him or not, to this I say we need to look at the picture that the Bible portrays as His relationship with us. The relationship between God and man is that of a Father and Son. Do any of you Fathers want your son to love you because you make them love you? Would you feel good if they, like a robot, would come to the door when you come home and chant “Daddy I love you,” “Daddy I love you…” in a monotone robotic voice? Or do you prefer that your kid loves you naturally because he wants to love you? Don’t you prefer if your kid comes to the door and runs and hugs you because he naturally wants to love you? Same thing with God. He could have made robots, but as Prof. X pointed out then we would have no choice at all and why would God, like a Father, want us to love Him because He made us?

It is our choice to love Him even though in this life we will have difficulties. The awesome aspect of God is that He has provided a means whereby we may be saved from the curse of sin and death, and even have hope during our most dark hours. That way is the atonement for sin made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the tree of Calvary. If any man places his or her complete faith in Him and Him alone – we too may have the peace of God and joy even through adversity. [b]

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Will you let Him into your life? [/b]

[quote]steveo5801 wrote:

JP,

Excellent post! I am in agreement as to the teaching of the entire Bible. It is indeed difficult to fathom how and why God allows “good people” to suffer, but study His Word and the answers are right in there.

Some points to consider:

[/quote]

Steveo,

Great post! There were some well though out explanations there.

Cheers,
Ben

PS: Glad to see one of your posts without frequent use of the caps lock key, LOL! In all seriousness, it does make it easier to read.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
pitbull314 wrote:
I am currently taking a philosophy class and this was one of our major discussions. Why would a loving, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god allow evil? The cliche answer is that we have “free will” but why would god give humans like hitler the free will to kill millions of people and thus take away their free will? If god is all powerfull why doesn’t he destroy the devil?

Because there would be no point in
having CHOICE if there was only “the right choice” to make. How would we even acknowledge pleasure if we had no concept at all of pain? Angels have already been created from the aspect of The Bible. Our purpose isn’t the same.[/quote]

That is a good point but it doesn’t exactly answer the question. For example, I do not need to be raped to know the concept of “good” or to know rape is wrong or evil. In addition you justified your argument with an assumption that god and angels exist instead of making an argument based on reason. A philospher named edward humes summed made a very good analysis of this problem: either god is all loving and all powerfull,and evil does not exist, or, evil does exist and god is not all loving and all powerfull.

[quote]pitbull314 wrote:
Professor X wrote:
pitbull314 wrote:
I am currently taking a philosophy class and this was one of our major discussions. Why would a loving, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god allow evil? The cliche answer is that we have “free will” but why would god give humans like hitler the free will to kill millions of people and thus take away their free will? If god is all powerfull why doesn’t he destroy the devil?

Because there would be no point in
having CHOICE if there was only “the right choice” to make. How would we even acknowledge pleasure if we had no concept at all of pain? Angels have already been created from the aspect of The Bible. Our purpose isn’t the same.

That is a good point but it doesn’t exactly answer the question. For example, I do not need to be raped to know the concept of “good” or to know rape is wrong or evil. In addition you justified your argument with an assumption that god and angels exist instead of making an argument based on reason. A philospher named edward humes summed made a very good analysis of this problem: either god is all loving and all powerfull,and evil does not exist, or, evil does exist and god is not all loving and all powerfull.[/quote]

You are doing this wrong.

You must start with the firm, unshakable assumption that God is all-loving and all-powerful (and with His existence, of course) and then paddle backwards from there.

If you try to build it from the ground up, using reason, there is no way you will get there.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
pitbull314 wrote:
I am currently taking a philosophy class and this was one of our major discussions. Why would a loving, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god allow evil? The cliche answer is that we have “free will” but why would god give humans like hitler the free will to kill millions of people and thus take away their free will? If god is all powerfull why doesn’t he destroy the devil?

It’s hard to wrap your mind around, if you can’t entertain the idea that the world was not made for our personal pleasure.

Prof X is correct that it makes little sense to posit a bounded “free will.”[/quote]

And yet it is bound in so many ways, and all those ethical dilemmas take place in a moral area that we are actually able to conceive.

So we can only make moral decisions on a certain playingfield, what if this playing field is rigged?

[quote]pitbull314 wrote:
Professor X wrote:
pitbull314 wrote:
I am currently taking a philosophy class and this was one of our major discussions. Why would a loving, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god allow evil? The cliche answer is that we have “free will” but why would god give humans like hitler the free will to kill millions of people and thus take away their free will? If god is all powerfull why doesn’t he destroy the devil?

Because there would be no point in
having CHOICE if there was only “the right choice” to make. How would we even acknowledge pleasure if we had no concept at all of pain? Angels have already been created from the aspect of The Bible. Our purpose isn’t the same.

That is a good point but it doesn’t exactly answer the question. For example, I do not need to be raped to know the concept of “good” or to know rape is wrong or evil. In addition you justified your argument with an assumption that god and angels exist instead of making an argument based on reason. A philospher named edward humes summed made a very good analysis of this problem: either god is all loving and all powerfull,and evil does not exist, or, evil does exist and god is not all loving and all powerfull.[/quote]

The analogy of being raped doesn’t work if society doesn’t consider the act “bad”. Being raped in and of itself is the basic act of being forced to have sex when you don’t want to. I am sure many wives have experienced that but it wouldn’t hold up in a court of law as being “rape”. In fact, some people might even consider sex to be the duty of the spouse on either end. We as a society determine where that limit is.

Also, the rest of your post makes little sense. You wrote, “Why would a loving, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god allow evil?”. You asked a question based on the possible existance of God. That would mean your original question wasn’t based in “reason”. To justify acting as if you are applying reason and I’m not, you should never even worry about an answer from the aspect of there possibly even being a God and shouldn’t ask “why” in reference to him.

Further, your philospher’s point of view is limited in the eyes of a Christian. To a Christian, our life doesn’t end here. Regardless of what happens on this planet in terms of cancer, famines, or war, the ultimate reward outweighs it all. That is what we equate to love. Obviously, to an atheist who believes that life energy ends here and goes no further, this may be hard to comprehend. It was apparently difficult for Edward Humes as well.

[quote]orion wrote:

And yet it is bound in so many ways, and all those ethical dilemmas take place in a moral area that we are actually able to conceive.

So we can only make moral decisions on a certain playingfield, what if this playing field is rigged?

[/quote]

How is “free will” bound?

steveo:
My comment about the Book of Job being “literal truth” was in relation to the conversation between the satan and God.

[quote]orion wrote:
And yet it is bound in so many ways, and all those ethical dilemmas take place in a moral area that we are actually able to conceive.

So we can only make moral decisions on a certain playingfield, what if this playing field is rigged?
[/quote]

Our powers are limited, in a sense, but our wills are not, other than the causal/random issue which is a separate difficulty.

Our wills can extend our powers.

My point, agreeing with Rousseau, is that human beings were made for the world. We have changed the world, however, without changing human beings; we are no longer made for it.

Almost all of our ills can be traced from this.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
orion wrote:

And yet it is bound in so many ways, and all those ethical dilemmas take place in a moral area that we are actually able to conceive.

So we can only make moral decisions on a certain playingfield, what if this playing field is rigged?

How is “free will” bound?

[/quote]

I am playing with the idea that free will , when it comes to sinning and such, is only possible within certain limits, more or less our moral universe.

Our moral universe, the moral problems we had to deal with if we were say, intelligent ants, would be entirely different.

Related to that:

There are only so many basic moral dilemmas facing human beings and quite often our instincts contradict each other.

F.E. Most of us probably would want a serious relationship AND fuck every semi-legal college girl that is even slightly attractive.

I think that those urges co-exist for evolutionary reasons but if I believed a God had given them to me just to test my free will, I would feel that he is tilting the playing field to make it more likely people fuck up.

So lets say, assuming that there is a God, Jehova style, I think that the tiny letters on the back of the contract, the fine print, his code of commerce, does not exactly work in my favor, even if free will is technically not touched by that.