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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review: "Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job"

TITLE: Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job: How the Oldest Book in the Bible Answers Today's Scientific Questions
AUTHOR: Hugh Ross
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011, (240 pages).

This book uncovers a lot of stuff. It also covers a wide range of reasons surrounding the biblical perspective of the world. It deals with scientific discoveries. It works through the reasons to believe, and that faith is in fact very reasonable. Through Job, Ross leads the reader to engage the Bible in a whole new way on natural history, timeless questions of God's existence, the creation of the earth, suffering, angels, and many more. He makes an assertion that the book of Job is essentially a gathering of the best minds in the world, through the persons of Job, Bildad, Eliphaz, Zophar, and Elihu. He argues that the book of Job itself speaks against the 'basic tenets of naturalism and deism, evolutionalism and young-earth creationism' (54). He explains that the 'Big Bang Universe' itself needs to be held together by an Intelligent Being who makes sure that life is not 'too fast' or 'too slow' (56-57). He goes through the seven days of creation, and instead of letting Genesis defend itself, he says that Job itself complements Genesis by authenticating the first 12 chapters of Genesis. He argues for the unique place of humans in that they are the only creatures with the capacity to 'think, gain understanding and discern what's wise' (107). Man is much more than apes and animals. Much much more. Nearly six chapters are devoted to distinguishing man and animal, that while man rules over animals, the animals do provide wonderful lessons for humans. Animals can teach humans about God, about ourselves, and about relationships too! Of dinosaurs and Jurassic Park, Ross suggests that such creatures are created on the Fifth Day in Genesis, that animals are there not just for our 'survival,' but also for our 'pleasure, joy, and quality of life' (185).

Finally, and thankfully, Ross deals with the age old topic of suffering. He concludes that Job teaches us not about our suffering or our responses to suffering. It is about God's 'gracious intervention' (200). It is also about how Job's 9 steps in discerning God's redemptive plan, and Elihu's 7 steps in understanding how God redeems.

Closing Thoughts

It is nice to discover a piece of hidden treasure. It is nicer still to realize the treasure is largely undiscovered. As many scientists, philosophers, and theologians continue to dig away at Genesis, few has actually taken the time to dwell in the book of Job. Perhaps, there is a stigma of pain and suffering associated with Job. Perhaps, Job has been largely dismissed as a book of debates between God and the Devil in the heavens, and Job with his friends on earth. Perhaps, there is too much poetry in the book of Job that many living in a scientific and technological world tend to avoid. I am glad that Ross has provided a refreshing contribution to the understanding of creation and the world from the perspective of the Bible, besides Genesis. I find the subtitle of the book overly ambitious. It may lead one to think that Job has been written to answer scientific questions. Far from it. The last part of the book clarifies this by saying that the overall thrust of Job is not about suffering, or about answering scientific questions. Neither is it a text for apologetics. It is about human redemption, how God redeems the world, Job and his friends, and promises that God has consistently asserted throughout the Bible. God's grace and redemption from beginning to end. This message is the greatest treasure that Ross has dug up in this book.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

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