- Book Notice
and the Theodicy Problem, part 4
- This Week’s Sermon from Rev.
Frank and Mary Hoffman
1. Book Notice
Marilyn Peterson is the
author of a new and helpful independently published book Vegan Bite By
Bite. It's a book that not only tells of the health benefits of a
vegan diet, but gives a step by step process to best transition
readers to a plant based diet.
Vegan Bite By
Bite has been
garnering a number of positive reviews, and it was one of Amazon.com's
Best Books of 2011-Editor's Pick for the Kindle. Both T. Colin
Campbell Ph.D., author of The China Study, and John Robbins, author of
Diet for a New America, have endorsed the book, saying it has answered
one of the most asked questions of those looking into veganism:
exactly how to make the dietary change. It also includes over 100
recipes of different vegan dishes to get someone started down the
To learn more, go to
2. Job and the Theodicy Problem,
In previous essays, I reviewed how Job, a blameless and
righteous man, suffered the greatest of calamities, raising questions
about God’s might and God’s goodness. Job demanded an explanation from
God, and in today’s essay we’ll explore God’s response.
speaking “out of the whirlwind,” declares, “Where were you when I laid
the foundation of the earth?” (38:4) In a long speech, God declares
God’s creative power and power over nature. Importantly, God does not
address Job’s challenge to God’s justice; rather, God asserts God’s
mightiness. Job cannot deny God’s power. God demands, “Shall a
faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him
answer it.” Job responds, “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I
answer thee? I lay my hand on my mouth” (40:2-4).
that he is small and weak, and he does not respond to God’s challenge
that he contend with God. However, God hasn’t answered Job’s challenge
to God’s justice, either. This failure on God’s part is smoothed over
in nearly all translations, which depict Job admitting error and
recanting. In God: A Biography, Jack Miles notes how modern
translations appear to have changed the meaning of Job’s crucial
response in 42:1-6. In particular, Miles notes that the Hebrew is
ambiguous where Job appears to recant, saying “therefore I despise
myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” In particular, he asserts, the
word “myself” is not supported by the original Hebrew text. He
continues that translations describing Job’s “repentance” reflects
Christian expectations that someone who has challenged God will
ultimately express self-abasement and contrition, and seek repentance,
but the translations are of dubious accuracy.
I find the notion of
Job’s repentance troubling, and I am relieved to find that other
interpretations are possible, or even preferable. Job did not sin, and
he did not deserve punishment. This story, then, sides with the
victim. Does God side with victims? This question, I think, goes to
the core of the question of whether God is good. I will explore this
question next week.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
3. This Week’s
Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Seeing the Truth When Others Don’t