In my last post, I critiqued the conclusion Alain de Botton draws from the book of Job about man’s insignificance. The creation does not serve to remind man that he is small and inconsequential. It does just the opposite.
However, the book of Job does bring up significant questions.
These 42 chapters, although probably the earliest written in the Bible, poignantly capture four questions common to all men, in all societies, throughout all time. All the great world religions are attempts to answer and deal with these universal questions.
1) The question of God’s whereabouts:
“Oh that I knew where I might find Him!” –Job 23:3
2) The question of sin:
“How can a man be righteous before God?” –Job 9:2
3) The question of death and immortality:
“If a man dies, will he live again?” –Job 14:14
4) The question of suffering:
“Why does He give light to him who suffers?” –Job 3:20
“Make known to me why You contend with me.” –Job 10:2
These are the four great, universal, and perennial questions of mankind. They are ultimate and yet immediate. Perennial because they are recurring and cannot be suppressed simply by being prohibited or trivialized. Man’s own inner being demands an answer to them.
…Questions which arise not merely in borderline situations, but in the very midst of man’s personal and social life.
The answer to these four questions comes in the person and work of Christ.
They are answered, respectively, by the incarnation of Christ, the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, and the economy of God.
1) The incarnation of Christ
“And confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was manifested in the flesh.” –1 Tim. 3:15
2) The death of Christ
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” –Rom. 3:24
3) The resurrection of Christ
“Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes into Me, even if he should die, shall live.” –John 11:25
4) The economy of God
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers.” –Rom. 8:28-29
“Therefore we do not lose heart; but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us, more and more surpassingly, an eternal weight of glory.” –2 Cor. 4:16-17
“…I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse that I may gain Christ.” –Phil. 3:8