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The Hand of God


David J. Collins

In considering the idea of tragedy in the life of man, especially that of the Christian, it has been often asked, "If God really exists, then why does He allow such havoc?" Other queries by those of a slightly different bent ask, "If God is truly good and is supposed to be merciful, then why does He allow all of this calamity? Why does God allow all of this evil to exist in the world? Why does God allow a super being like the devil do as he so pleases?" These are the questions often asked by mankind in regards to tragedy in our world system. Surprisingly enough very few people, Christians included, have truly grasped the source or cause of conflict and tragedy in our world.

An interesting fact to note is the difference in the two canons in which calamity is viewed. In the New Testament there is talk of evil associated with an evil one. The Lord's prayer in MT. 6:13b states, "...but deliver us from evil," or as the Apostles' Creed reads "the evil one." Another example is St. John 17:15b reads, "...but to keep them from the evil one." These and other new Testament references are many times viewed as suggesting that there is a dualism within our world system, and more importantly, within the spirit realm. Often man's view of the world is an eternal battle or war between good and evil, or, as the Qumran writings state it, "between light and darkness." This idea came about through the hellenization of the Jewish people from the time of Alexander the Great's conquests to the time of the close of the Maccabean era.

The Jewish concept of evil in relation to its source was completely different as is reflected in the writings of the Old Testament. From the first book of the Jewish "beginnings," what we call Genesis, there is the concept of monotheism - the belief in one God. The book of Genesis purposely denies the existence of any other gods and triumphantly states that Yahveh is the one and only true God.

When Christians comfort one another through times of testing one Christian will often tell the Christian being tested, "remember God is allowing the devil to test you for a reason." Then the Christian giving comfort will add, "Remember the story of Job." Job however, is the point in question. A major point that speaks out in Job is continually overlooked, if not in fact, denied, and that is the answer to the question that has baffled many of the greatest minds in the history of mankind. These questions were mentioned at the outset of our discussion. There is, however, one more to be mentioned at this point - that is, "Does God cause the evil that we witness in our lives and in the lives of others?" The Old Testament scriptures give us a startling and often uncomfortable answer.

In the Old Testament canon we many times find the people of God as well as the existing peoples around them confronted with what the Old Testament scriptures awesomely refer to as "the hand of God." Theologically the technical meaning of hand (Yad) was associated with the idea of power. Scripturally divine power is expressed in a variety of ways through reference to "the hand of God." Considering this idea of divine power associated with the perplexity of the existence of evil in our world, one should take a careful look at the book of Job, especially the following verses: 1:11,12,22; 2:5,6,10,13; 30:21; 42:7. From the preceding verses it can be easily seen and is in fact stated by Job himself, who he viewed as his persecutor (30:21). Yahveh Himself confirms Job's accusations as not being false (42:7) and in turn reprimands Job's friends for their erroneous views.

One final note of importance is the change from the use of God being referred to as El Shaddai, i.e., the Mountain One, or as the Latin Vulgate translates it, the Devastator, and the Greek term Pankropater (Almighty), to the term or name Yahveh. This is significant in the fact that God is seen to deal with mankind just as He dealt with Job from different sides of His divine nature, at times with blessings and other times with judgments.

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