Thursday, March 14, 2013

Job 38-39 and Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans 5-7

Job 38 – Finally God speaks out of the tempest, the whirlwind:
“Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them” (38:2-3).

He is speaking to Job but really through Job to all of us: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?” (38:4) In a way, God speaks the very same arguments Elihu spoke, but the difference is He is speaking directly and personally to Job. The glories of nature were all God’s work. The sea is born out of God’s “womb” (interesting female image), clothed in clouds and given limits. Does Job know the path the leads to where the light dwells? (38:19)

“Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth? Can you shout to the clouds and make it rain? Can you make lightning appear and cause it to strike as you direct? Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind?” (38:33-36).

Job 39 – God continues: Does Job know how the animals on earth are governed – the calves, the oxen, the wild ostriches? “Does the eagle soar at your command, building his nest high, dwelling in the rock, lodging upon the fastness of a jutting rock?” (39:27).

Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans
5 – “Yet there are some who in their blindness still reject Him – or rather are rejected by Him, since in fact what they are contending for is not so much the truth about Him as their own final extinction” (102). What this means is that by denying His immortality, they are also denying their own eternal nature.

6 – Ignatius is certain that there will be a “judgment in store even for the hosts of heaven . . . if they have no faith in the blood of Christ. Let him who can, absorb this truth” (102). It is vital that we keep in mind the importance of the love we show others, especially the “captive, the hungry or the thirsty” (102).

Exactly how he leaps from the concern over other’s denial of Christ’s mortal side and his concern that therefore people will be ignoring his message of love, is not something I find easy to follow. Perhaps they simply deny any need for attention to “outward” (physical) realities.

7 – The “deniers” also “absent themselves from the Eucharist and the public prayers, because they will not admit that the Eucharist is the self-same body of our Savior Jesus Christ which suffered for our sins, and which the Father in His goodness afterwards raised up again” (102).

Because these deniers are such a threat to the underlying message Christianity is about, Ignatius urges people not to associate with them.

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