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WHI-1197 | The Book of Job, Part 3

Posted by on in 2014 Show Archive
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On this program, we'll wrap up our three-part series through the book of Job by looking at that wonderful expression of faith in which Job declares, "I know that my redeemer lives." How does this hope in the future redeeming work of the Messiah comfort Job during his distress? How can a recovery of this Christ-centered focus help us when we suffer? We'll consider questions like this as we conclude our miniseries on Job.On this program, we'll wrap up our three-part series through the book of Job by looking at that wonderful expression of faith in which Job declares, "I know that my redeemer lives." How does this hope in the future redeeming work of the Messiah comfort Job during his distress? How can a recovery of this Christ-centered focus help us when we suffer? We'll consider questions like this as we conclude our miniseries on Job.


Hide Not Your Face
Michael Horton



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A Place for Weakness
Michael Horton

How Long O Lord?
D.A. Carson


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  • Guest - armk

    M. Horton on God's simplicity, love, and sovereignty (from The Christian Faith systematic theology):

    TCF p.228: "One implication [of the classical theological tradition and Reformed tradition teaching of God's *simplicity*] is that we cannot rank God's attributes or make one more essential to God than another. God is love when he judges; he is holy and righteous even in saving sinners; he is eternal even when he acts in time."

    TCF p. 229-230: "Simplicity reminds us that God is never self-conflicted. In God's eternal decree, even in the most obvious example of possible inner conflict (namely, the cross), justice and mercy, righteous wrath and gracious love, embrace. Just where we would expect to see the greatest inner conflict within God, we read that "in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself" (2Co 5:19). At the place where the outpouring of his wrath is concentrated, so too is his love. Neither overwhelms or cancels out the other. God is "just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Ro 3:26, emphasis added)... We do not worship any divine attribute; we worship the personal God who is simultaneously the being that his attributes indicate. God is love, but love is not God. Nor does the doctrine of simplicity allow us to speak of God "limiting himself," as Arminian theology has held and various forms of Hegelian kenosis have emphasized. Nor is God sovereign without also being at the same time good, just, and loving. God is never free to be not-God. None of his attributes can be suspended, withdrawn, diminished, or altered, since his attributes are identical with his existence."

    TCF p.266: "In the light of God's simplicity, we can never pit God's sovereignty against his love or his love against his sovereignty. It is especially in our day not a far stretch from "God is love" to "Love is God." However, as C. S. Lewis observed, when love itself becomes a god, it becomes demonic [fn to The Four Loves]. God always exercises his power, holiness, righteousness, and wrath--as well as his love and mercy--in conformity with his goodness. In fact, we could hardly affirm God's goodness if he did not uphold justice and the cause of righteousness against sin and evil."

    TCF p.266-267: "God's goodness is evident in creation and providence, of course, but the clearest evidence of the complete consistency between God's goodness and his sovereignty, justice, wrath, and righteousness is Christ's cross. There we behold the face of the God-Man who cries out, "It is finished." There, with unparalleled clarity, we see how far God is willing to go in order to uphold all of his attributes in the simplicity of his being. Human love is analogical of God's love, not vice versa. David Tracy reminds us that we must begin with the particular act of God in Jesus Christ rather than a "general conception" of love... If God's love could trump his other moral attributes, then the cross represents the cruelest waste. The cross is the clearest testimony to God's simplicity--that is, his undivided and indivisible character... [fn "13. One of the many examples of attempting to decode the inner being of God (including the Trinity) by making God's love alone definitive of his inner being is Stanley Grenz... First, this move renders God's wrath merely a subjective experience of unbelievers rather than an objective divine stance... which eliminates any concept of propitiation. Second this leads Grenz to assert that the essential unity of the Trinity is simply the love of each member for each other, since love "builds the unity of God"]."

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  • Guest - John Bauman


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  • Guest - Susan Vader

    Hello Dr. Horton!

    I was reading read St. Thomas on the "gifts" or virtues and discovered that at least one place in the OT where they number and kind are disclosed in in the book of Job.
    St. Thomas took some of his understanding by his reading of Gregory the Great's "The Book on the Morals or An Exposition on the Book of Blessed Job".

    "There were born to him seven sons" represent the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost or the seven virtues.

    Job three daughters represent the three theological virtues

    The four corners of the house( Job 1:19) signify the four cardinal virutes.


    Anyways, you probably know this already but I just learne it myself:)

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  • Guest - Susan Vader

    Oops, sorry about the spelling errors! ugh

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  • Guest - Paul Swift

    Susan Vader,

    I'm sure you don't need to be told that you will gain no traction at this site by promoting an allegorical hermeneutic! I'm sure Gregory the Great would feel much more at home in the little solo Scriptura bible studies where everyone sits around saying "this is what the verse means to ME!" Strange, because I thought you left to find something more substantive than that.

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  • Guest - Susan Vader

    Paul Swift,

    If I were still Reformed, and I came upon St Thomas Aquinas pointing out that this is what some fathers of the church understood, would I be told that an allegorical hermeneutic is wrong because it will just lead us all down the white rabbit's hole? If I were still Reformed I would ask, "why not?" and "says who?" and "how is it the Reformed hemeneutic know the stops and the Catholic Church doesn't?" By what authority is this hermeneutic off limits especially since the early church employed it and sucessfully so because it is still in use inside the Catholic Church to this day. What does a Reformed hermeneutic do with these numbers which must stand for "something"? It seems to me that if a theological system is going to squelch a potential way to do a holistic theology it could stand to miss important truths. The whole reason it is safe to understand this interpretation is because it is given by someone who was inside the Apostolic Church. Besides, Jesus spoke in parable and how do I know that the Reformed have correctly interpretated His allegory since there are multiple interpretations? I'm not here to gain traction, I'm here to ask how the Reformed Theologian understands other and older interpretations.
    Dialog is very important for unity. No need to be bristly.


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  • Guest - Susan Vader


    Another thing. I was addressing Dr. Horton. I'm sure this site doesn't want to known for being rude to fellow Christians. I'm inside the invisible church even if you believe I'm outside the visible one.

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  • Guest - Susan Vader

    Paul Swift,

    Oh and one last thing,I am sincerely asking questions of learned Reformed theologians here because I don't have a way to speak openly and friendly with Reformed theologians any longer. Not that my former pastor is hostile towards me but it's not like I can sit down and talk with him over a beer or cup of coffee. I care for him, his family and all of those dear dear people at my former church very much and it hurts to be separated.
    Please be aware of this when you address me, brushing me off and being unkind. Also please be mindful that my entire family is still Reformed and they are watching your interaction with me, their now Catholic wife and mother, whom they love.

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  • Guest - Paul Swift

    Susan Vader,

    Please allow me to attempt to convince you that I had no intent above of being bristly, rude, unkind, or of brushing you off. I do ask your forgiveness for not more carefully checking the ambiguous phrasing and editing errors which were construed offensively; again, try to accept, in the spirit of "be[ing] more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it", that they were never intended to be taken in the ways you detailed.

    First, my "gain no traction" comment was said in a very friendly voice with an implied wink at the end, meaning no more than "I'm not sure anyone will want to engage you on this", especially since your previous work paints a picture of your being sufficiently well-read to know the general reformed position on medieval allegory, your disagreement with the same, and that topic's unrelatedness to the subject under discussion. If it helps, it's what I would expect you to tell me if I visited an RC site where the topic was, say, social justice in contemporary southern France, and began describing research I had been doing on the authenticity of certain events at Lourdes.

    Second, I'm guessing that my second sentence, about Gregory, became offensive simply due to editing errors--residue from an earlier construct. Please re-read the sentence replacing both "I'm sure" with "I'm also sure", and more importantly, "would feel much more at home" with "would feel quite at home". This was simply brain freeze, but I can see how, your having been mentioned in the previous sentence, this wording somehow involves you in some sort of comparison. Again, no such thought was in my head; it was a haymaker aimed at the solo Scripturers, who would choke to realize they were mimicing (yes, badly) the practice of an ancient pope! If Gregory is offended by that, I'm sure he can handle it by now, but it was no reflection on you.

    Finally, to my last sentence. "You left" was probably ambiguous--in my mind it simply referred to what you've described elsewhere, your leaving a Reformed church. It certainly had nothing to do with your activity at this site, if that provided offense.

    Back to topic, I at least have no desire to discuss the historical trail that led to the early Reformers rejecting the practice of allegorical interpretation. I have elsewhere recommended Mathison, but you said you read him twice and I'm sure you implied that you reject his approach and conclusions, so you seem to have shut that door.

    To your point about your having addressed Dr. Horton, this is a public forum, and public statements are subject to public response; you can choose to respond or not, but I have no power of hindering your communication with Dr. Horton, and it is not normal protocol to call other commenters rude simply for joining an existing "conversation".

    Finally, you earlier stated "The mutual acquisition of the truth is my sole aim." I would encourage you to re-examine whether you are actually intending at all costs to acquire truth as embodied in the Reformed confessions, or--"mutual" being the sticking point--hoping to make users of this site acquire truth as embodied in the Council of Trent. It might help your readers if you could signal your intent more clearly, since it cannot be possible for both of those motives to be simultaneously true on certain issues. Just a friendly, non-bristly suggestion.

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  • Guest - Susan Vader

    Paul Swift,

    Ok, I'll accept your apology.Thanks for that and the explanation to your remarks that led me to wrongly believe that you were being less than charitable.

    Did I seriously stray off topic? oops:) It looked to me that there was disagreement about how Job is to be understood. I would have never thought to consult a commentary by an Father other than Augustine, but once I did I no longer had just a Reformed point of reference. And I do admit his insight is pretty darn remarkable, so I say "why the heck not take his interpretation?". I mean, if in a sola scriptura world there are many possibilities and no one knows absolutely, Gregory the Great's guesswork( even using an allegorical hermeneutic that was employed by many many others) is a smart and beautiful. So shoot me:)

    Anyways, henceforth I will do my best to keep my thoughts more focused. I actually do have a hard time making my points, so I believe your criticism in this regard is correct.

    If you would please indulge me a bit longer, even though you say you have no interest in discussing the history of the Reformation's anti-allegorical method; .....could you please provide me with a link or book recommendation that will explain how allegorical reading has been scratched from the interpreter's toolbox when it appear evident that allegory was the author's intent? I'm thinking primarily of The Song of Songs, but other scripture too. Are you saying that the science of hermeneutics is not really science but biased according to what group is doing the exegesis? Now you have me curious as to why Reformed theologians aren't just as concerned about the correct use of typology as they are about extended metaphor.

    I make no claim to be an expert(ha!) in biblical literature, but expertise wasn't needed for me to come to the conclusion that sola scriptura was untenable(proof: look at us) We fall into different groups already in existence or we split and make our own new community! Besides,knowledge of the different genres, or knowledge of Greek and Hebrew isn't necessary if perspecuity works just fine.

    If I am redundant or sound unlearned please forgive me and humor me.
    I wish I could ask whatever questions I wanted because believe me, I have many.

    Best to you!

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