Divinity And Humanity

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Divinity and Humanity A fundamental question that has had philosophers and theologians puzzled for ages is exactly how we relate to our higher power. The search for this answer is so important to us because once it is known, we will all know how to better serve God and be righteous. With this knowledge, we will also attain a better understanding of the universe we live in and our exact place therein. There have been many interpretations taken from the Bible of what exactly the right answer is. Two different, conflicting viewpoints can easily be drawn from Genesis and The Book of Job regarding the relationship between God and human beings. In Genesis, God is presented as a superior being who s relationship with the human beings that he created is similar to a friendship. You pat my back, I ll pat yours is an underlying theme in many of the covenants and promises that he makes with Adam, Noah, Abraham, and other humans. By making covenants with humans, God essentially provides a framework from which people can easily understand how to lead a just life. To begin with, Genesis presents the story of Adam and Eve, who are given life in paradise on the one sole condition that they do not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When they break the one rule with which they were presented, God employs his sense of justice and banishes Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. With this, it is shown that God employs a system of actions based on set conditions. This is a very direct, logical relationship on both sides. While God shows his sense of justice by banishing Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, he also exhibits his ability to follow through with his promises of blessings in the story of the Great Flood. God tells Noah Go into the ark, you and all your household; for you alone in this generation have I found to be righteous. (Gen 7:1). Noah follows God s orders exactly, to ensure that life on earth would continue, but that generation of people, who were extremely corrupt, would not survive. After Noah goes through all the hardship of essentially keeping life on earth, God blesses him and his family and promises that he will never flood the earth again. This is the other side of God s justice presented in Genesis; when human beings follow God and his orders, they are rewarded greatly. God makes a similar covenant with Abraham. Abraham also follows God s exact orders by bringing him sacrifices when he is told, leaving his home country, and even gets ready to present his own son as a sacrifice to God. This last event is referred to as a test to prove his faith. Abraham comes so close as to strap his son to an altar and reach for his dagger, when the Lord stops him. In exchange for his unfaltering dedication to the Lord, Abraham is promised to have descendants more numerous than the stars in the sky. This relationship is the definition of a good friendship. Friends have faith in each other and do whatever they can for each other. Abraham constantly proves how much he is dedicated to the Lord and God in return blesses future generations to descend from Abraham. There is a complete understanding on both sides of this relationship. It makes sense that God would understand the relationship, since he is portrayed as omniscient. But Abraham, as a human, understands that by putting his faith into God, he will be rewarded in a just manner. He completely understands God s sense of justice and therefore will follow him. This is much different from the relationship portrayed in the book of Job. Job, like Abraham, was a devout follower of the Lord, doing all that he could to lead a righteous life. In his understanding, by following God, he should be blessed because of God s sense of justice. The Lord even says to the Adversary that, You will find no one like him on earth, a man of blameless and upright life, who fears God and sets his face against wrongdoing. (Job 1:8). But when God is presented with the idea that even the most devoted follower of God only practices such devotion out of only selfish motives, Job is put through many tests as well. These tests are not at all like those presented to Abraham. While Job started out very prosperous, having many sons and daughters, thousands of sheep, camels, and oxen, all of these are taken from him by either fire, thieves, or catastrophes. When this happens, Job takes all of it calmly, saying, The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord. (Job 1:21). After this test, the Adversary still suggests that the same motives are influencing Job; promises of splendor and self-indulgence. After this, the Lord plagued Job with painful sores on his feet, making his pain more physical than mental. Job s wife asks him after this, Why do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die! (Job 2:9). At first, Job verbally attacks his wife, and refuses to let go of his faith. After a week, however, Job gets so upset with his situation, that he does decide to curse the name of the Lord and regret his birth vehemently. Three of his friends ask him why he has changed his mind so drastically. Job in turn questions the nature of God, who has acted so bizarrely towards him after Job served Him so greatly. Job replies to the questions of his peers by cursing God and saying things like, I swear by the living God, who has denied me justice, by the Almighty, who has filled me with bitterness, that so long as there is any life left in me and the breath of God is in my nostrils, no untrue word will pass my lips. . . I shall not abandon my claim of innocence. (Job 27:2-5). The passages of questioning and speeches by Job and his friends is followed by God s answer to Job, which is full of elaborate poetry describing the awesome power and unfathomable wisdom of God. God explains to Job through these exquisite words that he should not even try to understand his motives, because they are impossible to understand. God questions Job, asking things like, Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades or loose Orion s belt? Can you bring out the signs of the zodiac in their season or guide Aldebaran and its satellite stars? (Job 38:31-32) and Have you an arm like God s arm; can you thunder with a voice like his? (Job 40:9). These questions serve like the popular catch phrase of modern culture: Don t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes. Yet this form of that statement goes far beyond that of human comprehension. It is quite impossible for any human to pass judgment upon God, for no one has ever created the universe. Job finally realizes this and submits to God that he has done wrong in trying to comprehend what has compelled God to issue such misfortune upon him. The Lord gives and takes away, but in a manner which we cannot understand. The story of Job is followed by an epilogue, which contradicts the moral that the story presents. Job s fortune is restored entirely and he is essentially redeemed. This restores the point established in Genesis; the friendship between God and humankind. If this were part of the original biblical text, it definitely does not fit within the context of Job. It makes little sense that God would put Job through so much in order to establish that his

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