THE CALAMITY OF JOB AND THE MIND OF MAN
by Don Trest
Job is chosen by God for an unusual assignment. Satan is permitted to bring unprecedented pain and suffering to the life of Job. The troubles that come upon Job are not because of any personal sin or failing, but for the benefit of the heavenly counsel summoned by God for this purpose, and ultimately for all those who read his story in later times. Job maintains that he is innocent of any crime deserving of such treatment by God. The friends of Job place the blame for the calamity squarely upon Job and insist that he repent of whatever it is he has done to bring the calamity upon him and his family. Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and latter Elihu charge Job with guilt worthiness in the calamity of Job. They were mistaken. The Lord declares Job to be an upright and blameless man. “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? (Job 1:8).”
Job and his friends show the inability of the mind and heart of man to resolve the calamity of Job and the underlying philosophical and ethical problem of how to live the upright life in an imperfect world where good and evil exists in the plan of God. The dialogue between Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, Elihu, and Job, and the voice of God from the whirlwind, show that the mechanism of conscience-reason-wisdom in men is short-sighted and inadequate to fully measure the meaning and purpose of life in the plan of God. The ideas of men, philosophies and religions, ethics and mores, laws and customs, stemming from human conscience-reason-wisdom, and apart from Divine Disclosure, is a deficient measure of reality.
In the Divine Disclosure from the whirlwind the Lord makes clear to Job and his friends that He alone is the true source of wisdom and understanding, not the mind and heart of man. Divine Disclosure is the only reliable way to understand good and evil in an imperfect world and how best to live the upright in the plan of God. This sets the stage for further Divine Disclosure of the mind and heart of God to be written down in the Bible. The story of Job is an important apologetic for the Divine Disclosure of the inspired written Word of God in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments beginning with Moses and the Pentateuch. “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever.’ Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you (1 Peter 1:24-25).”
The paper will show the inability of human conscience-reason-wisdom to resolve the calamity of Job. The story of Job is in six parts: The calamity of Job (Job 1-2), an opening lament by Job (Job 3), the discourse between Job and his friends (Job 4-27), a summary and appeal by Job (28-31), a summary and appeal by Elihu (Job 32-37), and the Divine Disclosure by the Lord (Job 38-42).
The book of Job is a window through which to view the philosophical and religious world of the patriarchal period of Biblical history. The ancient world at the time of Job possessed no Bible as we know it today. Only the history recorded in the book of Genesis would potentially have been available to the people of that generation. However, there is no mention made to the stories and covenants of the Genesis record in the deliberations between Job and his friends. This is important because Job and his friends will discuss extensively their understanding of how best to live the upright life in an imperfect world where good and evil exists in the plan of God, and do so authoritatively, but without referencing the Bible.
These men were not shallow men, or evil men, but representative of the best and finest minds in the age of the patriarchs who sought the truth about God. They were not inferior theologians or philosophers. In some ways they surpass the generations of thinkers that come after them. But they were flawed in one point, as are all good thinkers. The anthropocentric core in the human faculty of conscience-reason-wisdom is inadequate to understand the meaning and purpose of life in the plan of God, apart from Divine Disclosure.
They have intuitive knowledge of God, which knowledge is available to all men everywhere at all times in the history of the world.
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20)…. Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them (Romans 2:15).”
It is this knowledge given to man in creation and in conscience that is the basis for the discussions in the book of Job.
Job and his friends lived and worshipped in the time prior to the ordinances, commandments, statutes, and judgments given in the Mosaic Law. “He reflected no knowledge of organized religion, Mosaic, Levitical, or otherwise.” In the 2500 years between Adam and Moses there is no Mosaic Law to define right conduct and evil conduct, and to regulate the social, religious, ethical life of men. The world before Mosaic Law reckoned righteousness largely according to the principle of divine retribution. Trouble and tragedy came upon the wicked for their evil deeds. Divine blessing and material benefit came upon the righteous for their good deeds. Each generation built upon the accumulated wisdom of the preceding generations to determine how best to live the upright life in an imperfect world, where good and evil coexists in the plan of God. This human wisdom is described as “a non-revelatory mode of thought that focuses on individual consciousness of truth and right conduct, displaying a humanistic orientation and a didactic drive to pass on its understandings to others.”
The human predisposition for philosophic and religious thought is a consequence of the fall of man and embedded in the nature of fallen humanity. This divinely endowed ethical awareness is the moral mechanism wherein fallen humanity creates various and sundry ethical and religious systems of thought and practice. Seeking to understand the meaning and purpose of life, and how best to live in society with other individuals and groups, is the ongoing endeavor of human conscience-reason-wisdom.
Satan insinuated that a change in the basic nature of Adam and Eve would take place if they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5).” Eve ate the fruit so that she could become wise. She looked at the tree and saw “a tree desirable to make one wise (Genesis 3:6).” So she took it to herself and ate it. She gave to her husband and he ate and “the eyes of both of them were opened.” The aptitude for “knowing good and evil” and becoming “wise” is the ethical apparatus in fallen man that compels him to think about good and evil in an imperfect world, and to devise various ethical and religious responses to his sense of guilt and moral inadequacy.
This moral compass in the hand of man puts man in the place of God, exercising the moral prerogative of God. This is what Satan meant when he told Eve that “your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.” Satan intimated in the temptation that man should have prerogative (be like God) to decide matters of good and evil, apart from God. “And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said… (Genesis 3:1).” The anthropocentric core in the human faculty of conscience-reason-wisdom constitutes its chief deficiency. The deification of the mind of man is the natural inclination of conscience-reason-wisdom. The Wisdom of Man tends to sit in judgment of the Word of God. The intellectual crime of the age is the anthropocentric “has God indeed said?” posture of postmodern philosophical, social, religious, and political thinkers. Postmodernism places the Word of God on the altar of sacrifice to the Mind of Man.
“With the waning of the Protestant neo-orthodoxy (palaeo-heterodoxy for Catholics), Protestantism has begun to spit the Bible out, and a parallel expectoration has been noticeable in the secular culture. James Barr writes that ‘younger Protestant clergy in both England and America are asking: Why should this collection of old books have any more influence over us than another lot of books, and why should it have more importance than all sorts of perceptions which we gain from other sources, both ancient and modern, written and unwritten?”
Trap Door to Nihilism
Adam and Eve began immediately to function “like God, knowing good and evil” in their new capacity for moral determination. They establish the first ethical code, which is still adhered to in many cultures today, although challenged by some so-called enlightened thinkers. They determine to cover their nakedness by putting on clothes. They make these clothes by sewing fig leaves together. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings (Genesis 3:7).” Making and then wearing fig leaf clothes to cover their shame, constituted living the upright life for Adam and Eve. They decide to do this independently of God and His Word: They felt shame. Nakedness made them ashamed. They cover their nakedness. The problem of shame is resolved, so they think.
Adam explained to the Lord that the reason they hid from Him was because they had become afraid at hearing the sound of His voice. They were afraid because they were ashamed of their nakedness, even though they wore the fig leaf garments they had made for themselves. The Lord attributed their shame (ethical awareness) to the fact that Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and their eyes were now open to know good and evil. “Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat? (Genesis 3:9-11).” It is significant that God disallows the fig leaf clothes of Adam and Eve and replaces them with clothes made from the skins of animals. No matter how well intentioned and sincere Adam and Eve may have been in trying to resolve their perceived moral dilemma, it was short-sighted and inadequate. It is only in Divine Disclosure will man find what he needs to live the upright life in an imperfect world where good and evil exists in the plan of God.
The Lord follows the incident of the fig leaf clothing with Divine Disclosure. He comes to the Garden of Eden to speak to man in Divine Disclosure. The Lord speaks. Man is to hear what God says and respond in faith. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel…. Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field (Genesis 3:15, 17-18).” The Lord reveals to Adam and Eve that they will live in an imperfect world where good and evil exists in the plan of God, and that God will one day redeem man and creation through the promised Seed of the woman.
They have a choice. They may live by faith in the Word of God or by faith in the newly acquired Wisdom of Man. They can live an upright life in dependence upon the Word of God, believing in His promise of coming redemption through the Seed of the woman. Or, they can live by human conscience-reason-wisdom and the dictates of human philosophical and religious thought, and decide matters relying on human reason, experience, and tradition.
The historical record in the Bible indicates that man chose the latter. Civilization plummeted to incredible depths of depravity of mind and heart at the time of Noah and the flood. This resulted in the chaos, confusion, and destruction that consumed the civilization of Noah’s generation. “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence (Genesis 6:5, 11).”
Postmodernism is traveling the same nihilistic broad road to destruction. Jesus said, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:37).” “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved… (Matthew 24:22).”
“Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history. In the 20th century, nihilistic themes–epistemological failure, value destruction, and cosmic purposelessness–have preoccupied artists, social critics, and philosophers. Mid-century, for example, the existentialists helped popularize tenets of nihilism in their attempts to blunt its destructive potential. By the end of the century, existential despair as a response to nihilism gave way to an attitude of indifference, often associated with antifoundationalism.”
Bankrupt and Broken
Job receives word in rapid fire succession that his possessions and persons have been stolen or destroyed. His wealth and his children have been taken from him. He is bankrupt and childless in one day. The manner in which this is done indicates that it comes from the hand of God, and intentional. Job maintains that while he is not deserving of such treatment, God has not acted unjustly in bringing such calamity to into his life. Job professes innocence of any crime deserving of such treatment. He acknowledges that what has happened to him comes from the hand of God. He refuses to ascribe any injustice to God for what has happened. The philosophical position of Job presents a horn of dilemma for him and the men of his generation.
“Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.’ In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong (Job 1:20-22).”
Job is afflicted with painful boils from head to toe. His heartbroken wife turns on Job in grief and anguish of heart. Job’s loss was her loss too. Her words indicate that she believes the calamity is from the hand of God and that Job is the reason for the calamity. “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:9-10).”
Job maintains that God is right in all He does, and that the wisdom, goodness, and power of God are in no way diminished by the calamity that devastated Job and his family. However, this does not mean that Job is at peace in mind and heart. He is terribly distraught. The words of his wife and three friends bring Job to the brink of utter despair. Job laments the philosophical predicament brought on by his calamity. He said, “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes (Job 3:25-26).”
Job 3 is an important and often misunderstood chapter. It should be noted that Job is not venting grief over the loss of family, possessions, and health, as much as recognizing the significance of the calamity that has befallen him. The good life that Job had lived had been negated by the judgment that had now come upon him. This is why Job cursed the day of his birth. In essence, Job declares that it would have been better if he had never been born than to have lived an upright life full of blessing and joy and to have it end in apparent disfavor with God and man.
Job had been a careful and conscientious student of the upright life. His philosophy and approach to life had served him and his generation well, so he thought. With the onset of the calamity he is cut loose from his philosophical moorings and set adrift on a sea of futility. Job is not asking “why” in this chapter. He is not bemoaning the loss of the good ole days. Job is decrying the absurdity now vested in his life because of the unexplained calamity. He recognizes that the divinely endowed faculty of human conscience-reason-wisdom is inadequate to deal with the perplexities of life.
When Friends Become Foes
The self-imposed task Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar of these three friends is to identify what Job did to bring these calamities upon him. For the troubles of Job to have cause other than sin and wickedness is outside the realm of their approach to the upright life. Job continues to proclaim his innocence throughout the discussions with these friends. He believes he has done nothing to merit the calamity that has befallen him and his family. “Now therefore, be pleased to look at me; for I would never lie to your face. Yield now, let there be no injustice! Yes, concede, my righteousness still stands! Is there injustice on my tongue? Cannot my taste discern the unsavory (Job 6:28-30)?”
Job understands the principle of divine retribution and might have responded as his friends did, if the roles were reversed, and he was the friend. The problem for Job is that he is not aware of any change in his behavior that might merit the troubles that came upon him. His life, as far as Job can tell, did not change during the prosperous period of his life when he experienced great blessing. The lifestyle that God blessed in times past is now the lifestyle that God curses. Job experiences the same philosophical tension as his friends, and calls out to God for God to speak and resolve the dilemma posed by the troubles of Job. “Oh, that I had one to hear me! Here is my mark. Oh, that the Almighty would answer me, that my Prosecutor had written a book! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, and bind it on me like a crown (Job 31:35-36)”
The words of these three friends to Job, no matter how well intended, only deepen the despair and agony of mind and heart for Job. He knows all too well the position of the three friends. It would have been his position prior to his calamity. Job said,
“I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Indeed, who does not know such things as these? (Job 12:3)…. Behold, my eye has seen all this, My ear has heard and understood it. What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you (Job 13:1-2)… I also could speak as you do, if your soul were in my soul’s place. I could heap up words against you, and shake my head at you; but I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief (Job 16:4-5).”
Since Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar persist in attributing the cause of the calamity to something Job must have done, they show the inadequacy of human conscience-reason-wisdom to resolve the calamity of Job, and the underlying philosophical and religious dilemma of how best to live the upright in an imperfect world where good and evil exist in the plan of God. They devalue and distort the upright life of Job that the Lord had said was “upright and blameless.”
Eliphaz and Job
Job 4-7, Job 15-17, Job 22-24
There are ten chapters devoted to three interchanges between Eliphaz and Job, four chapters to Eliphaz and six chapters to Job. “As the oldest and presumably the wisest of the three friends, Eliphaz has a special role to play. Age gives him the right and responsibility to speak first. Experience gives him the added authority of what he has seen, heard, and learned in his lifetime. The Wisdom School put a premium on the perspective of age and experience.”
Bildad and Job
Job 8-10, Job 18-19, Job 25-27
There are seven chapters devoted to three interchanges between Bildad and Job, three chapters to Bildad and four chapters to Job. “Bildad considers Job’s struggle over the justice of God as blasphemy and uses his erudition, his knowledge of ancient wisdom tradition, to prove to Job that his family got what they deserved and warns him about a similar doom.” Bildad says to Job, “How long will you speak these things, and the words of your mouth be like a strong wind? Does God subvert judgment? Or does the Almighty pervert justice? If your sons have sinned against Him, He has cast them away for their transgression (Job 8:2-4).”
Zophar and Job
Job 11-14, Job 20-21
There are six chapters devoted to two interchanges between Zophar and Job, two chapters to Zophar and four chapters to Job. Zophar was merciless in his condemnation of Job. Zophar treated Job-like an enemy, like one who deserved to die. “Do you not know this of old, since man was placed on earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment? Though his haughtiness mounts up to the heavens, and his head reaches to the clouds, yet he will perish forever like his own refuse; those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he? (Job 20:4-7).”
Summary and Appeal by Job
There are four chapters covering two speeches by Job in this section. The closing argument of Job begins with a poem about true wisdom in Job 28. In this poem Job contends that true wisdom is outside the range of human conscience-reason-wisdom. This is important because it shows that Job believed the Wisdom of God should be distinguished from the Wisdom of Man.
“But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living (Job 28:12-13)…. From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the birds of the air. Destruction and Death say, ‘We have heard a report about it with our ears.’ God understands its way, and He knows its place (Job 28:20-23).”
Job concludes that true wisdom is only available to men who humbly submit mind and heart to Him. “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding. (Job 28:27-28).” This perspective is important to understanding the Divine Disclosure that follows in Job 38-42.
Summary and Appeal by Elihu
There are four speeches by Elihu in six chapters. Elihu directs most of his first speech to Job in Job 32-33. His second and third speeches are directed primarily toward the three friends of Job in Job 34-35. In the fourth speech Elihu recites timeless truths about God in Job 36-37. In this he sets the stage for the Divine Disclosure in Job 38-42, which is the chief contribution of the speeches of Elihu.
Elihu is not one of the original three friends of Job. He was present during the verbal exchanges between Job and the three friends and heard all that was said between them. Elihu assumes the position of arbiter between the three parties: Job, his three friends, and the (up to this point) silent Lord. “Andersen (Job, p. 51) sees him as an adjudicator who gives the human estimate of what has been said in chapters 3–31.” “The junior attorney had listened carefully to Job, as evidenced by his quoting Job’s very words. Elihu reviewed Job’s position by stating that Job had criticized God for unfair treatment, even though Job was not guilty.” Wiersbe contends that, “As you read Elihu’s speeches, you get the impression that he was not growing; he was swelling.”
“So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was aroused against Job; his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God. Also against his three friends his wrath was aroused, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job (Job 32:1-3).”
The Surprise Witness and the Divine Disclosure
This section contains two speeches spoken by the Lord to Job with each speech followed by a short response from Job. At the conclusion of His two speeches to Job the Lord addresses Eliphaz and his two friends, “and the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has (Job 42:7).”
Elihu is not mentioned. The text does not say why Elihu is passed over in the two speeches to Job or in the rebuke to Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. He is neither rebuked nor commended by name in the Divine Disclosure. The three friends are ordered to bring seven bulls and seven rams to Job, for Job to offer up as a burnt sacrifice on their behalf. It may be that since he stood with the three friends in ascribing blame to Job, that he and any other bystanders were included in the words addressed to Eliphaz, and that the offering was for the entire entourage of friends. The three friends were the most noteworthy of the friends having traveled great distances to meet with Job. But others may have been present as well, such as the wife of Job, neighbors, local dignitaries.
The Lord speaks to Job and his friends from the whirlwind. The Lord gives a string of interrogates that will humble Job and his friends. “Then Job answered the LORD and said: ‘Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth (Job 40:3-4).” Job repents because he had been self-absorbed during the time of his calamity. Job confesses, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:5-6).”
In the Divine Disclosure the Lord makes clear that He alone is the true source of wisdom and understanding. Man talks about wisdom and understanding, but it is God that created both and gave man aptitude to perceive wisdom and understanding. Divine Disclosure is the only reliable way to understand good and evil in an imperfect world and how best to live the upright in the plan of God.
The Lord addresses Eliphaz and tells him that his words and the words of his two friends have aroused the wrath of God. He said to him, “You have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” The Lord gives instruction to Eliphaz and his two friends to bring seven bulls and seven rams to Job, for Job to sacrifice to the Lord on their behalf. The Lord says to the three friends, “My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me right, as My servant Job has (42:8).”
The losses suffered by Job are restored two-fold when he prayed for his friends. Friends and family gather around to console Job. Job is given silver and gold rings by his friends and neighbors and his wealth and prestige is returned to him. He has seven sons and three daughters born to him, and his daughters are favored with great beauty. Job lived to the ripe old age of 140 years and he enjoyed four generations of his children and grandchildren.
“Throughout the book Job longed for God to speak, and the others have tried to represent God’s opinion on Job’s case. What God finally said was totally unexpected—by them or by the readers of the book. Instead of discoursing on authority, justice, and sovereignty and completely ignoring the case of Job, he blitzed the patriarch from Uz with a myriad of questions about the created order.”
Job desired throughout his ordeal that God would speak to him in Divine Disclosure. It is the silence of God that was the greater calamity for Job, “Oh, that I had one to hear me! Here is my mark. Oh, that the Almighty would answer me, That my Prosecutor had written a book! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, And bind it on me like a crown (Job 31:35-36)” The three friends of Job and Elihu himself missed the chief lesson in the calamity of Job. “Job was suffering, not because he was the worst of men, but because he was one of the best.” 
The Divine Disclosure placed the calamity of Job in perspective for Job and his friends. It moved man and his conscience-reason-wisdom to the periphery, and placed God and His Word at the center. In the final analysis, good and evil is not about man and his ability to understand the upright life in an imperfect world. It is about the Lord and the Divine Disclosure of His Eternal Person and Character, in the Divine Display of His Glory and Majesty in the history of man and the world.
“Then He (Lord) saw wisdom and declared it; He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out. And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding (Job 28:27-28).”
The calamity of Job is like the proverbial unknown object hidden under a box with students given the assignment to identify the object. The friends of Job were confident that when the box is raised it will reveal the sin of Job. Job is convinced that it will be the integrity of Job. When the box is finally raised and the calamity revealed, it is neither the sin of Job nor the integrity of Job, but the glory of God that is revealed in the calamity of Job.
When the Lord speaks directly to Job and his friends in Divine Disclosure they experience a paradigm shift in their thinking. The anthropocentric core in the human faculty of conscience-reason-wisdom is exposed and shown to be inadequate to fully measure the meaning and purpose of life in the plan of God. In the final analysis, the calamity of Job is theocentric and not anthropocentric. It is not about Man and his life, but about God and His glory. God does not exist to serve the purposes of man, but man to serve the purposes of God. Divine Disclosure is the way, the truth, and the life to knowing God and how best to live the upright life in an imperfect world where good and evil exists in the plan of God.
Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu began with the assumption that some deficiency in Job was the reason for the calamity that came upon Job and his family. They were mistaken. Job and his friends were ignorant of the purposes of God in the calamity of Job because the human mind and heart, apart from Divine Disclosure, can’t see what is under the box. Job and his friends demonstrate the inability of the mind and heart of man to resolve the calamity of Job and the underlying philosophical and ethical problem of how to live the upright life in an imperfect world where good and evil exists in the plan of God. The mechanism of conscience-reason-wisdom in men is short-sighted and inadequate to fully measure the meaning and purpose of life in the plan of God. “Then Job answered the LORD and said: ‘Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth (Job 40:3-4)…. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:5-6).”
Men still play the “be like God” game introduced by Satan to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Modern religious and philosophical thought is in the process of changing and adapting, and otherwise disallowing, the Divine Disclosure of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, to fit the meager perspective of man in his finite experience. The mind and heart of man attempts to measure the Word and Ways of God. Not much has changed since Job and his friends met together to discuss how best to live the upright life in an imperfect world where good and evil exists in the plan of God. We are still at it today. We may dress it up in postmodern sophistry, but the issue is the same. The solution is the same too, submission of the mind and heart to the Divine Disclosure in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. The intellectual crime of the age is the anthropocentric “has God indeed said” posture of postmodern philosophical, social, religious, and political thinkers. Postmodernism is really not all that modern. Like those in previous generations, men today attempt to place the Word and glory of God on the altar of sacrifice to the Mind and glory of Man. “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever.’ Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you (1 Peter 1:24-25).”
 Theologians and philosophers refer to moral and ethical aptitude in man by various terms. In this paper the term conscience-reason-wisdom will be used to designate the moral mechanism in man that enables him to think about the meaning and purpose of life, devise various religious and philosophical systems, codes of conduct, rules for life, etc.
 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New King James Version.
 Robert L. Alden, vol. 11, Job, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 26.
 The principle of divine retribution is established early in the course of human history. Adam and Eve are expelled from the garden. Cain is exiled to the life of a vagabond. The flood comes upon the whole world. Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed by fire and brimstone raining from the sky. Abraham is blessed with wealth and prosperity. The principle of divine retribution guided the human race in its quest to know good and evil and to distinguish the righteous life from the evil life.
 Duane A. Garrett, vol. 14, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 53.
 David A. Robertson and Robert Polzin and Society of Biblical Literature, vol. 7, Semeia. (Missoula, MT: Society of Biblical Literature, 1977), 100.
 Alan Pratt, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy IEP: Nihilism. Last updated: May 3, 2005. Originally published: April 23, 2001. http://www.iep.utm.edu/nihilism/.
 David L. McKenna and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, vol. 12, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 12 : Job, The Preacher’s Commentary series (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1986), 114.
 Elmer B. Smick, “Job” In , in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 4: 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988), 862.
 Smick, 999.
 John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-), Job 33:8–11.
 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Patient, An Old Testament study. (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996), 130-31.
 Alden. 367-68.
 Smick. 1031.