Thursday, October 18, 2018

What was Job thinking?

According to Alvin Plantinga:

There are at least two ways to understand Job. On the one hand, it seems that his problem is intellectual: he can't see what reason God could have for permitting this suffering (or visiting it upon him); he infers that probably God doesn't have a reason. But the point is that Job's suffering comes to him for reasons entirely behind his ken, reasons having to do with the relation between God and creatures he knows nothing about. 

Alternatively, we could understand Job like this. He doesn't really doubt that God has good reasons for what he does or permits; after all, being omnipotent and omniscient and all that great stuff, he would have good reasons, wouldn't he? But Job simply hates what God is doing (or permitting) and becomes furious with God: "why did I have to suffer for those no doubt dandy ends of yours?…I don't give a fig for your reasons, and I loathe what you are doing!" Here Job doesn't really doubt that God has good reasons, but he doesn't care; he mistrusts God, is wary of him and his no doubt magnificent aims and ends. He hates what these aims and ends require of him; he feels like rebelling against God, telling him off, telling him to go fly a (no doubt splendidly magnificent) kite. Alvin Plantinga, "Reply to Tooley's Opening Statement," Knowledge of God (Blackwell 2008), 182-83. 

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