Suffering: Are there unseen forces and other reasons God allows suffering? Part 4

This is Part 4 of 7 parts answering the question, “Are there unseen forces and other reasons God allows suffering?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 5-7 will be posted on succeeding days.

Satan Attacks so that Job would Accept False Theology

In the midst of pain, people are often willing to do anything to escape it. In Job’s case, with three friends all promoting the same ideology of “suffering because of sin,” Satan wanted Job to admit his fault of seeking after prosperity from God rather than a simple trust and worship of God for who He is. Waters writes,

If Job accepted Satan’s false theology, as presented in the dialogues, and “repented” under false pretenses, then Satan would have proved his case in the court of heaven. When Satan asked, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” he implied Job served God for “something,” that is, some reward. If Job confessed some nonexistent sin so he could return to his former prosperous and healthy status, then Satan’s premise in 1:9–10 and 2:4 would be substantiated. Also God Himself would be deemed guilty of blessing Job’s deception and falsehood and therefore would be at fault.5

Satan attacks and tempts man to sin in order to confuse and in weariness believe the lie. But Satan also deceptively attacks to accuse God of being unfair.

Satan Seeks to Spread the Lie that God is Unfair

Satan seeks to influence people to question God’s character and words. That was his ploy in the garden when he spoke with Eve, “Has God indeed said, `You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1 NKJ) Satan’s goals were to persuade Eve to doubt not only what God had said, but His very goodness! After she added to God’s command against eating the fruit that she was not even to touch it, Satan ambushed her by questioning God’s character, “You will not surely die. 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.” (Gen. 3:4-5 NKJ) What was he saying? “If God is really good, Eve, if He is fair, He would want you to eat of the fruit, because then you would be like Him!”

Just as any “good” person wants to be known for integrity and compassion, so God rejects the charge of  being considered unfair. We see this in the conversation God had with Satan after Satan’s first attack that destroyed Job’s family and business. God rebuked Satan, “And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” (Job 2:3 NKJ) While the charge was offensive to God, it did not stop His sovereign plan of history. God continued His faith provision to Job (Job 38-42). Satan’s accusations and work revealed that humanity was no more than a pawn to use in his accusations against God. Waters writes,

It is interesting that God’s charge against Satan, “You incited me against him to ruin him without any reason” (2:3b, NIV), is a horrifying, yet enlightening look into the character of Satan. Humanity means no more to the Accuser than a vehicle for cursing God.6

Satan did, and does, only care about accusing God.  And in his accusations, we should remember that this world, therefore, will not be fair to us. Waters writes,

While God is just, it is wrong to assume that the fallen world, under the rulership of Satan, is fair. The failure of traditional wisdom to answer Job’s complaint reveals that the world operates by the plan of a fallen being, and only by a personal relationship with God can fallen humanity find meaning and purpose within the injustices of the world.7

It is a lie from Satan that God is unfair. God can never be unfair, because He is just. God’s justice, along with His character of righteousness, can never allow events to be unfair in any way. And fortunately, God puts a limit on Satan’s plans and actions!

1Waters, Larry. “Reflections on Suffering From the Book of Job” Bibliotheca Sacra 154 (October – December 197): 442.

2Ibid., p. 443.

3Ibid., p. 445.

4Ibid., p. 443.

5Ibid., p. 442.

6Ibid. p. 441.

7Ibid., p. 447.

Part 5 will be posted tomorrow.

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