Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job

Hugh Ross


p 7 Tells the story of being warned about doing a commentary on Job lest he be caught up in some new experience of suffering. Relates the story of his heart surgery, the death of his and Kathy's fathers, and the stabbing attack on his son. Yet the grief experiences deepened his appreciation and insights into Job.

p11 Lists 5 reasons why he thinks it is harmful for Christians to ignore teaching on the creation.

  1. "It thwarts our mission ..to make disciples of all peoples. In a world abounding with skeptics, one of the best ways to persuade people that the God of the Bible exists is to demonstrate the necessity of a transcendent Creator."
  2. "It establishes a dangerous precedent. It communicates that controversies are to be avoided rather than resolved."
  3. "It obscures foundational Christian doctrines. According to the Bible, the world of nature reveals not only God's existence but also his righteousness and other aspects of his divine nature and attributes."
  4. "It discourages systematic theology. The integration of truth as revealed in the sixty-six books of Scripture with what is revealed in nature's "book" (i.e. the data available across all scientific disciplines) is invaluable to developing a consistent and comprehensive theology of the Christian faith."
  5. "It rewards immature behavior. It sends the message that if a person makes a big enough fuss he or she can control what is and is not worthy of significant discussion."

p13 "believers need never be fearful of 'irreconcilable differences' between the book of nature and the book of Scripture."

Ch 1. Answers for Today's Issues

In Chapter 1 he argues that Job offers essential clues for interpretation of other Bible passages on creation. Initiates the discussion of soulish animals. Touches on evil and suffering but refers off on that. This book is more devoted to the science and faith issues of the 21st century.

p18 Points to the abundant discussion of creation in Scripture by listing the 8 books of the Bible which have chapter-length or longer accounts of God's involvement in the realm of nature. This makes it unique among the world's "holy books". The Appendix lists the creation narratives in the Bible, including 12 books which have creation stories with 27 specific passages.

p19 Discusses how Job can be a potent tool among skeptics and aid the interpretation of Genesis 1-11.

Ch 2. Gathering of the Greatest Minds

p26 Job dialog as debate between great minds - draws parallel to a professional conference. "transcript of one of humanity's all-time most important debates"

p28 Discusses status of the debaters. Ezekiel 14:14,20 recognizes Job, Noah and Daniel

p29 Discussion of the younger Elihu as the record keeper.

p30 More on Elihu - refers to Job 32

p30 Discusses location and date. Closely resembles the period of the Patriarchs, 660yr before Moses.

p31 Evidence of predating Genesis:

  1. Job as family head offers sacrifice, whereas a priest did this in Moses time.
  2. No reference to Hebrew culture
  3. No reference to political or economic structure - in the time of city states
  4. Reference to Job the man and the book as early as 2000 BC.

p32 References to Job the man and the book in extrabiblical literature of about 2000 BC.

p32 "The fact that the Hebrew language did not yet exist in written form at the time of Abraham and the patriarchs may explain the poetic form in which the book of Job was recorded. Such a style characterizes many ancient stories because it facilitated memorization, a way to preserve the account's accuracy until Hebrew writing developed."

p32 Argues that an early presence of Job helps explain some of the gaps in Genesis and Deuteronomy - plausible gaps if they could presume knowledge of Job when these books were written. "gaps .. Genesis .. are not really gaps at all if the content of Job was familiar to the original recipients of Genesis. Why would Moses need or want to repeat what was already widely understood from Job's epic poem?"

p33 Job, rather than Genesis, is the biblical text where the discussion of creation and evolution should rightly begin." Good section on "Deuteronomy Foreshadowed". Refers to Appendix for list of creation accounts in the Bible. Job as a book of questions - over 200 questions plus over 80 in response by God. The earliest revelation on the nature of creation, the earliest revelation on the problem of evil, to "redeem man humanity from the fatal illusion of spiritual autonomy."

p34 Job as "Bible's premier question-and-answer book".

Ch 3. Answers to Timeless Questions

p36 Uses Phil 2:6-9 to introduce his list of universal questions.

p37 First introduction of the idea that God is both immanent and transcendent and discusses some examples of immanence in Job

p38 Discusses some ideas of transcendency in Job, and uses Flatland to illustrate both transcendence and immanence.

p40 "Humans alone have a capacity - and a compulsion - to consider the meaning, value and purpose of life and to ponder existence beyond the grave." gives scripture references.

p40 Short lifetime as a limitation of evil.

p43 Paradoxes of blessing the wicked and the troubles of the righteous.

p46 God's hidden goodness, Job's implication of Rom 8:28 , developing faith in God's hidden agendas.

p48 Seemingly "bad" acts of God - Tsunamis, storms, etc

p48 Job 14 Job recognizes 2nd law of thermodynamics

p49 Job surprisingly balanced in recognizing that storms, etc, harm bad and good people alike.

p51 Box on beneficial effects of storms.

Ch 4. Answers to New Questions

p 54 Addresses "bad designs" in nature.

p 56 Expansion of universe addressed in Job. With Bildad in Job 25 there is a clear break from ANE mythology in that it ascribes all creative power to one God.

p 58 Theory of Everything addressed

p 60 Mystery of darkness gives him opportunity to discuss dark matter and dark energy, box on p62

p 62 Global warming guidelines.

Ch 5 Answers to Creation-Day Controversies

p82 Good description of opaque atmosphere becoming transparent. Interesting is assertion that creatures of days 1-3 needed light only while days 4-6 creatures needed navigational and clock/calendar features of sun, moon, stars.

p83 Emphasizes Job's specification of a dark earth in 38:4,9 as resolving the day 4 dilemma.

p83 The Belgic Confession

p84 Scriptures affirming that nature is a reliable source.

p84 Creation miracles concealed or revealed? Interesting discussion.

p85 Lists discoverable creation miracles with a table

p86 I liked this page of attributing to rural and natural men particular insight and giving example dialog from Job.

Ch 6 Answers to More Genesis Controversies

p90 Interesting summary of the kind of criticisms that he and Reasons to Believe get from Christians.

p90 Job 37:5-12 on rest and the seventh day ideas.

p92 Discussion of flood

p93-94 Evidence from Job and Psalm 104 that flood was not global.

p94 Other scripture passages suggesting that flood was non-global.

p100 Animal death before Adam section

Ch 7 Unique Attributes of Humans

p107 Thoughtful section on "Image of God" and distinctions between man and animal.

p108 Social cognition as one of the research-based uniquenesses of humans

p109 Uniqueness of humans in good and bad senses. Good chapter of reference on difference between human and animal.

Ch 8 Origin of Soulish and Spiritual Qualities

This chapter was more interesting than I expected, continuing the theme of the differences between man and animal and relating some recent research on "forward looking" and symbolic thought.

p120 Job 12:7-10 "ask the animals ..know that the hand of the Lord has done this" This appealed to my early farm experience and my youthful perception that the birth of animals and the sprouting of seeds was from the hand of the Lord.

p121 Quotes Davies and Orgel

p122 Box on "Transcendent Miracles"

p123 Time frames for creation

p123 "asah" vs "bara" creation

Ch 9 To Serve and Please



Ch 10 Top Ten Nepesh



Ch 11 Lessons from the Animals



Ch 12 Answers to Dinosaur Questions



Ch 13 Answers to the Problem of Suffering



Ch 14 Answers to Our Greatest Need



Ch 15 Help With the Hard Part



p 225 Appendix: List of Major Biblical Creation Accounts

Reading Reference
Reading ReferenceR Nave
Go Back