One Christian evolutionist (CE), in setting the stage for a discussion of the Book of Job, asks:
- Did Job really exist? Is the book of Job about the real suffering of a historical figure? Both Walton and Longman [two commentators] note that it is not possible to know for sure, and both emphasize that it does not matter.
Does it not matter? I think that it matters in a number of ways. However, more importantly, we should ask whether Job’s historicity is a concern for Scripture and its integrity!
Ezekiel treats Job as historical – just as historical as Noah and Daniel:
- Even if these three men--Noah, Daniel and Job--were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord…as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it [the city that God has decided to destroy], they could save neither son nor daughter. They would save only themselves by their righteousness. (Ezekiel 14:14, 20)
Clearly, if Job is fictitious (allegorical), then God’s warning of destruction would be compromised. This warning could then be interpreted in line with the “fictitious” Job as also fictitious – an empty warning.
James also refers to Job as an actual, historical person:
- As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11)
If Job was a fictional invention, then James is wrong. However, James has used the account of Job to prove that “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” You can’t do this with fiction or allegory. Fiction can’t prove; it merely illustrates!
In order to be consistent, if these commentators are going to question the historicity of Job, they must also question the accuracy and trustworthiness of James. Evidently, they do not take James’ or Ezekiel’s references to Job as authoritative. We therefore must wonder what it is that they do regard as supremely authoritative. In other words, what for them constitutes such weighty evidence that they would deny that Job is historical? What can be more authoritative than Scripture?
Here’s what often happens. When we believe in evolution and try to justify it in light of the Bible, we conclude that the Bible isn’t about history or science. Once we have made this compromise, we are then able to marry Darwin and the Bible without conflict. After all, if the Bible is about the spiritual world and Darwin is about the physical, there can no longer be any contradiction, because they deal with two entirely different subjects!
However, this compromise profoundly affects interpretation. The Bible no longer has to be historical. Job, Daniel and Noah no longer have to be historical, and the Bible is just an allegory.
However, allegories aren’t facts and therefore, they aren’t evidences. They are merely illustrations. Once we marry Darwin to the Bible, the miracles of the Bible no longer can constitute evidence. The fulfilled prophecies are no longer evidences but allegorical illustrations of spiritual principles. Besides, if we can’t trust what the Bible teaches about the physical world, how can we trust what it says about the spiritual! Say goodbye to apologetics and the defense of the faith.
Why then should we believe? Well, merely because it feels right to us. And how about the other religions? Don’t they feel right to their adherents? Say hello to religious pluralism, and let’s try out the god Vishnu.