If you are not aware of the character of Job as depicted in the bible, he is said to have been a righteous and sinless man who was tested by Satan. However, this story presents a dilemma for Christians, as Yahweh allows the just and righteous Job to be unjustly punished for no other apparent reason other than to satisfy his own ego. As a result of his trials, Job begins to question Yahweh, which prompts Yahweh to ask Job the question Wartick paraphrases as the "Job Answer." That is, “Job, you don’t know how I operate, but don’t you think it’s reasonable to conclude that I know what I’m doing?”
In this blog post I will show that JW Wartick's attempt to solve The Problem of Evil fails, and that even if Yahweh existed, we have no standard for knowing that Yahweh is good because we do not know how Yahweh operates. The "Problem of Evil is as follows as set out by Descartes:
- If an all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly good god exists, then evil does not.
- There is evil in the world.
- Therefore, an all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly good god does not exist.
According to Wartick:
"Namely, that the evidence for the existence of God provides a rebutting defeater for the problem of evil. If we know that God exists and is good, then the problem of evil simply cannot be coherent."
In another blog post, I addressed the issue of evidence for the existence of god, and how WL Craig's argument for the evidence of contingent beings fails. There is no evidence for the existence of gods, or goddesses for that matter. But nevertheless, let us assume that there is a god, and that that god is the Christian god, Yahweh. Note, that this would not provide us with a rebutting defeater for the problem of evil, as Wartick claims, as the fact that a god exists would not tell us whether he is all good, all knowing, and all powerful, and if so, why evil exists-- and thus, does not defeat the problem of evil. For, as Wartick said in his second statement, we must not just know that god exists, we must also know he is good!
In fact, Wartick's "Job Answer" does not solve the problem of evil, it merely presents an absurdity for Christians who claim their god is all good, all powerful, and all knowing because Wartick's "Job Answer" tells us we cannot possibly know this.
Let us assume for the sake of argument, Wartick's "Job Answer." According to the "Job Answer," which is:
"God responds, basically, by saying “Job, you don’t know how I operate, but don’t you think it’s reasonable to conclude that I know what I’m doing?” (emphasis mine)
Let me set out Wartick's argument:
P1. If we know that God exists and is good, then the problem of evil simply cannot be coherent.
P2. We know God exists, and is good.
C. Therefore, the problem of evil simply cannot be coherent.
Now, clearly P2 is false. According to the "Job Answer" we do not know whether god is good or not, because according to the "Job Answer" Yahweh himself said that we do not know how he operates, which would mean we have no basis and no standard for judging him to be "good." The answer to Wartick's question of "Isn't it reasonable to conclude that Yahweh knows what he is doing?" is that no, it is NOT reasonable, especially since we do not know how he operates! In fact, the evidence, especially in the case of Job, goes against Yahweh being reasonable and an "all-good" god, as he allowed Satan to bring misfortune upon Job unjustly, according to the Bible.
The fact that Yahweh calls himself good is neither here nor there, since we do not know how he operates. He could just be claiming to be good, when in fact he is operating as a bad sadistic monster who relishes in deceiving and hurting humans. We have many examples of people who claim to be good while all the while operating badly. For example, I once knew a man who claimed to be good, and actually thought of himself as good, and even most people around him thought of him as good, when in fact, he was a rapist who took advantage of women and abused his family. As a result, it is not reasonable to think that Yahweh is good, and knows what he is doing.
Since P2 fails, then the argument is not sound. Therefore, Wartick's "Job Answer" does not provide a powerful, Biblical, answer to the problem of evil. In fact, it provides no answer to the problem of evil at all.
On the question of Yahweh being good. According to the Bible and Christians, anger and jealousy are vices. If Yahweh is all good then he would have no vices, but the Bible tells us that Yahweh is an angry and jealous God. For a more detailed discussion and arguments on this, see Christian Ethics Exposed and Did Yahweh Create the Jews, or Did the Jews Create Yahweh
Therefore, Yahweh is not all good. Note, that if Yahweh was just good some of the time, there would be no problem of evil, as the obvious answer would be that evil happens when Yahweh is being bad. So again, since P2 fails, then the argument is not sound. Therefore, Wartick's "Job Answer" does not provide a powerful, Biblical, answer to the problem of evil. In fact, it provides no answer to the problem of evil....
Now, we can see the answer to Yahweh's statement:
“Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” Job 41:11
The answer is, Job did, and we do too. If we assume that Yahweh exists, and everything belongs to him, it would not mean that no matter what he does, it would be good. If this were the case, then, as I pointed out above, we would have no standard for calling Yahweh "good" as murder and torture would be considered good if Yahweh did it, or ordered it to be done. What Yahweh's statement might illustrate, and given the evidence, perhaps the best explanation is that his statements are the rantings of a tyrannical, megalomaniacal monster whose motto is, "ownership and might makes right," and are not those of an "all-loving, all-good" god. We have many examples where ownership and might does not make right, such as in the cases of slavery; and in cases where people "own" animals and torture them; and in cases where parents birth children, and torture and abuse them.
Therefore, Wartick's "Job Answer" does not provide a powerful, Biblical, answer to the problem of evil. In fact, it provides no answer to the problem of evil at all.