Sunday, June 26, 2005

Job, Adam and Eve, Noah: Proof of God's Infallibility?

God is infallible. I wonder.

Job 42:11: "...they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him..."

Aside from the fact that Job's brothers and sisters were a tad slow in coming to him and comforting him, the key phrase here is the "evil that the Lord had brought upon" Job. Part of the connotation of infallible includes the concept of good. The corollary is that error includes evil not good. For example, in an effort to mitigate the horrible result of one person erring against another, people often say, "his intentions were good." But this is sophistic. It only makes the offender and those who stood by feel better. Somehow it just doesn't comfort the victim. At least the writer of Job states what the Lord did bluntly and truthfully, and in doing so, brings into question our absolute assertion that God is infallible.

Genesis 1:26: "Then God said, 'Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness...'"

Genesis 3:11: "...Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"

God created both serpent and humans. He knew and knows our natures intimately. He knew that we are curious, and he knew that in our infancy as a creation, we were innocent, lacking in experience, easy prey to temptation. This combination of inexperience and curiousity God must've known was bound to lead to giving in to temptation. Although Eve thought about what the serpent said and tried to counter his arguments, she ultimately was no match for the slippery tongued creature. Adam just went along lemming like with the winner of the argument he had just witnessed. How could God put temptation in the way and not know what would happen? It's interesting that millennia later Jesus included in the prayer he taught us, "And lead us not into temptation."

Genesis 6:5: "The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart."

So God wiped out humankind, saving only Noah, and because of Noah's goodness, Noah's family as well. But having created a clean slate as it were, God once again allowed humans to flourish on the earth unchanged. Usually when something fails, the creator tinkers or changes the design, knowing that if he does not, the same flaws will crop up again. Sure enough, our flaws are back, and God ain't too impressed with us, but because he promised not to drown us en masse again, he has to put up with them and the same "thoughts of their hearts."

One definition of infallible is "unfailing, sure to succeed." So far, it seems that God has not succeeded with His creation. Or is it because we are just in the middle of the story, only able to see the trees at their bases and not the whole forest, that we are unable to see how God's creation of us is succeeding?

I'm sure this is heresy wondering about God's infallibility, and even worse, writing about it on a Sunday. But I don't think we can ever fully understand our own nature if we never think about God's. There are plenty of clues and outright statements about God's nature in the Bible to keep us occupied for years. God blessed Job in the end and called him His friend because Job engaged God. And God likes that.

3 comments:

Lone Ranger said...

Hey there, you're well on your way to creating your own religion by misinterpreting Christian scripture. What are you going to call it? What will it cost? I hope you become wealthy, get plenty of babes and never have to force your congregation to drink grape Kool Aid.

talk talk talk said...

Being facetious is hardly a good counter-argument. You disagree with what I said, then present a good argument and/or evidence to prove God's infallibility. God gave us a sound mind, not to say stupid things when we disagree with someone, but to persuade them in a reasoned, effective manner to our point of view. Jesus never condoned attacking someone personally who disagrees with you. BTW for those who can only resort to personal insults, I put in my second-to-last paragraph a big clue as to how to prove God is infallible.

Furthermore...Great literature gives us something to chew on every time we read it. The Bible transcends all great literature. So if you ever only read the top, superficial layer, just the "he said, she said" or the "he did, she did" you'll never see nor understand the good stuff. Those deeper layers are where the challenge is and where greater wisdom for our own lives can be found. The thing is people don't like being challenged cause it hurts to think.

talk talk talk said...

Holy Cow! Just saw on your profile you're a broadcast journalist. So why'd you get lazy and resort to personal insults? You should be able to write better than that! Well, at least there was a smidgen of humour.