The flood+Job: Suffering

An atheist gave me a few questions/arguments. He asked something on the lines of “Why would God kill babies and the unborn within the flood which had done no wrong”. Another thing he seemed confused about is that why did God do a bet with the devil and allow Job to suffer (this is what he claimed, I’m not 100% sure what it shows within the book of Job). Could you guys help this boy out with these things? :thumbsup:

To a materialist – for whom this life on earth is the only life that exists, such that “loss of life” is an absolute, and which is the greatest evil possible – every death is an injustice; therefore, for materialists (among whom are many atheists, although I don’t know if your friend is a materialist), every death is a demonstration of the way that God is ‘evil’ in His treatment of us.

For a Christian, though, this life is transitory; moreover, our focus in this life includes attainment of eternal life in heaven. Therefore, the death of any person – while it is sad and a cause of grief – is not the ultimate evil; rather, the ultimate evil would be eternal separation from God.

If we want to deal with the Noah story literally and on its face – which is what he seems to want to do – then we see that evil had overcome the earth: “the LORD saw how great the wickedness of human beings was on earth, and how every desire that their heart conceived was always nothing but evil” (Gen 6:5). I think that a reasonable person would conclude that, if wicked parents were to raise their “innocent children” in that wicked world, then those children would be corrupted in that experience. Therefore, (again, if we’re treating this strictly literally), I think that one could make the case that, by not allowing them to grow up and be corrupted, God is being merciful to the ‘innocents’, by “bringing them home” to Himself in heaven.

Another thing he seemed confused about is that why did God do a bet with the devil and allow Job to suffer (this is what he claimed, I’m not 100% sure what it shows within the book of Job).

Again, there’s the question about whether, and to what extent, we take the Job story as literal (as opposed to acting as a parable). Regardless, though, we’ve got the same materialist/Christian dichotomy in play here. If a materialist sees this life as all he has, then any suffering he experiences here is an injustice. To a Christian, though, suffering can be redemptive – it can lead us to recognize eternal truths and point us in the direction of our eternal destiny; suffering can be a good thing, both for us who suffer and those who witness suffering that is borne heroically and faithfully.

So, your friend needs to actually read the Book of Job. :wink: The entire arc of the story is that Job bears his suffering heroically, defying his family and friends who ask him to give in to the pain, to despair and therefore declare himself ‘cursed.’ Job refuses, and not only does he receive his “eternal reward” (as the people of that day would have understood it), but his witness to faithfulness in the face of trial is an object lesson to all who have heard the story. “Why does God allow Job to suffer,” then? Because, through that suffering, Job was redeemed and we are edified.

The other question, of course, is “why a bet with the devil?” I would assert that it’s a device within the narrative in order to frame up the action of the story. It’s the prologue, and it helps us understand what’s going on and what will happen. It acclimates us to the story: it’s not about what happens to Job, so to speak; it’s about the bigger story – that no amount of suffering implies that the sufferer is unjust or that God has condemned them.

Good answer. I do have one question though. With the babies, would one then be able to morally abort a child if one acceptable to abort a child which is within a evil family? An answer to this question are already is already in my mind(God can take life as he created everything that lives) but I would like to hear your answer to this.

I’m not sure how Christ would feel, but God the Father didn’t mind killing off infants during the Times of the Old Testament. (Numbers 16 and David’s adultery)

Since God is the master of this universe, he himself may abort babies without reprisal. He is benevolent anyway, so we can just trust him in that regard.

We human beings, however, cannot do it of our own accord. Naturally, it is not within our jurisdiction, but God the Father did indeed allow his people Israel to massacre the pagan nations, which would have included pregnant woman and babies, so killing another human being because God tells us to is morally acceptable. :hmmm:

Ever since Christ came down to Earth, God the Father’s hand of violence might have relented, and so most if not all human beings would never again be ordered by God to kill one another. God can do it himself via illness, automobile accidents, etc. anyway.

And I agree with post #2 from Gorgias. Atheists commonly view violence as innately evil, while we Christians view violence as essential to building up this world and its inhabitants, although sin may make violence more prevalent than God might have originally intended.

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