30.02 Elaboration (pps.20-31)
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theodicies,80 we find, among other theodicies, one attributed to God and seeming to deliver a message of ultimate unfathomability. Job seems to accept this answer only because of its unrnediated Divine origin and the implied promise of ultimate good.81 Were it not for the Divine revelation out of the whirlwind, Job would continue to insist on the justness of his cause.82
It is unclear whether it is Job’s fate in particular which is unfathomable, or whether it is Job in particular who has no right to question his fate.83 Our study will later posit that when religious man finds himself in a vortex of suffering, it is not the appropriate time to commence moral protestations. In contrast, when man demands justice for others, as in the case of Abraham vis-a-vis the inhabitants of Sodom, moral protestations are most in order. Our study will also offer an alternative explanation for the Jobian finale one which falls within the realm of “intelligibility,” as opposed to “unfathomability.”Proponents of Group I theodicies, in any event, might cite the Jobian finale in support of their theses, as well as the events (exclusive of the finale) of the Akedat Yitzchk (Binding of Isaac) (Genesis 22: 1-1 0). However, the theodicy of “unfathomability” of the Jobian finale has been on the defensive through most of the Book of Job. It is, moreover, a theodicy which remains isolated from any rational structure, and is strongly contradicted by an impressive array of scriptural texts, prophets, and authoritative rabbinic theologians. (see below)
Group I. Finite man cannot comprehend infinite God’s ways:
The classic and possibly most commonly accepted theodicy is the finitelinfinite defense. Finite man cannot be expected to understand the ways of infinite God. A closely related defense is the “inscrutability of God” formulation, which implies that almost by definition man cannot understand God. Despite their widespread acceptance, both assertions require scrutiny.
These theodicies are open to the charge that the moral character of God’s actions is compromised in order to preserve
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80 See Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed, chap. 22.
81 Cf. Gordis, “The Temptation of Job,” in Glatzer, The Dimensions of Job, p. 84. “Job’s triumph lies in the fact that God speaks to him and does not ignore him. The confrontation of God is Job’s vindication.”
82 Cf. Greenberg, “Cloud of Smoke, Pillar of Fire,” p. 34. “Rather, what is meaningful in Job’s experience is that in the whirlwind the contact with God is restored. That sense of Presence gives the strength to go on living in the contradiction.”
83 Cf. Glatzer, The Dimensions of Job, p. 38. Kant believed that “Man’s intellect is subjective, finite, and therefore unable to know the unconditional, the infinite, the perfect-God.”
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