I had a great chat last week with Father Kevin. It’s been a while since we talked, but it felt good to share how this is all going. I mentioned the idea of writing a book someday and how I’ve noticed that at the foundation of all of this is asking questions. It’s important for us to ask questions while reading the Bible as well as questions associated with religion. And guess what…it’s also important for us to ask questions in science too. This is not to argue that science and religion are the same, but perhaps if people started to view religion with this mindset then maybe not everyone would leave. Just throwing ideas out there now.
I’m finally feeling the urge to get back to my readings. I’m sitting in a pretty cool organic coffee shop in NYC right now (it’s called Pret) doing my readings. I flew in earlier today because we have our second Sinai and Synapses meeting tomorrow. This is what I needed. I needed to get away from work and focus on science and religion stuff. I needed the opportunity to geek out on what I love to discuss. So…hooray! Let’s do this.
Job 28: Before I get into this I want to share this little nugget of information from the NRSV study bible notes:
A poem on wisdom, or conclusion of Elihu’s speeches. Although as it stands ch 28 is part of a speech of Job, it is hard to see why Job, who is focused on the question of justice, should be interested in the issue of how wisdom is to be acquired. Most scholars therefore regard the chapter as an independent poem, not spoken by any of the characters in the book of Job, which has found its way into it. Alternatively, its theme of the desirability of wisdom might be seen as most suitable in the mouth of Elihu (and its final sentence is very like 37.24, the final sentence of Elihu’s other speeches). Quite possibly, the speeches of Elihu, now in chs 32–37, originally preceded this poem in ch 28. (p. 753)
Pretty interesting stuff. Sometimes when I read the notes I think how in the world do they know this information. I really need to read up on that. On to my own thoughts.
I have to admit that the first part of this chapter really threw me off. The text refers to mining. We learn how even the precious stones and metals that are located deep within the earth are accessible to humans. I wondered what in the world mining had to do with wisdom and then I read the rest of this chapter. The text talks about how elusive wisdom is. How we can’t easily find it. How we can’t purchase it. How human work will not be able to reveal wisdom. The only way to find wisdom is to understand that wisdom comes directly from God. Wisdom dwells in God and human wisdom is found in the fear of God. Here’s the actual verse: “…and said to humankind: ‘Look, the fear of the Lord is wisdom; turning from evil is understanding’” (28:28).
Pretty deep stuff. As I read this chapter I keep thinking about how questioning can lead to wisdom. Humans question why things happen and we try to find answers to those questions. If there is a God (yes, I believe God does exist), then I think God would want us to seek out wisdom. God would want us to question things. Just like in science. Asking questions is a vital part of science. Questions drive scientific inquiry. Questions drive scientific achievements. I firmly believe that without questions, science wouldn’t be where it is today.
Here is a sidebar about wisdom on p. 815 OT in the CEB study bible. It’s pretty interesting:
Job 29: This chapter marks the beginning of Job’s tenth speech. This time the speech goes over three chapters. This chapter focuses on Job’s life prior to his current predicament. Job seemed to have it pretty good. He was admired by all and trusted by all. He had a really good life. He had honor and blessing.
Job 30: In this chapter Job focuses on his present situation, his dishonor and inner suffering. He ends by speaking directly to God followed by a lament. He explicitly says that God did all this to him. He actually makes several statements accusing God of purposefully making all of these bad things happen to him. God is the reason why he is in this current situation. There is no other reason according to Job. He ends this chapter declaring that surely God wouldn’t actually target someone in such distress.
2 Timothy 2: Paul encourages Timothy to pass on what he has learned from Paul and to embrace the suffering that comes with this. Paul stresses the importance of moral and honorable behavior when sharing the message with others. He tells Timothy to avoid false teachers.