Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ellison on Suffering

I'm reading a lot of stuff about the Wisdom Literature in the Bible at the moment, and came across this great quote on Job, and suffering, which kind of ties in with various comments on the blog...

For quick reference, the book of Job is basically a poetic exploration of questions about God and suffering, based around a guy called Job who suffers a lot. (There is a debate among Christian academics over whether or not he actually existed - it's possible the story is a kind of God-inspired poetic dialoguey parable, but that's a different discussion.)

This explains the apparently unsatisfactory climax in which God does not answer Job's quesitons or charges, but though he proclaims the greatness of his all-might, not of his ethical rule, Job is satisfied. He realises that his concept of God collapsed because it was too small; his problems evaporate when he realises the greatness of God. The book does not set out to answer the problem of suffering but to proclaim a God so great that no answer is needed, for it would transcend the finite mind if given; the same applies to the problems incidentally raised.
H.L. Ellison, writing in the New Bible Dictionary

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