Creation: Reflections on the Book of Job

Gerhard Seghers

God tests Job, who proceeds to accuse and question God. In reply, God reveals His power and wisdom through the grandeur and wondrousness of this universe He has created and maintains in existences. We are humbled and can hold him only in the deepest of reverence. Although we cannot always see the reason behind divine providence, especially in the case of suffering, we trust that God is good and wise. We submit to His divine will, in faith that creation is justly ordered. Jesus Christ is the final answer to Job, through and in Him we come to know God as Love.

The Book of Job

Job1-1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.

One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Job 42:1  Then Job replied to the Lord:

“I know that you can do all things;
    no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.”

After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.

10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 

Creation, Sickness and Healing.

Albertinelli, Mariotto; Creation and Fall of Man; The Courtauld Gallery;

Rooted in universal creativity, we are forms of relational structure participating within a larger structure that is not only external, but intrinsic to us. As such, we are vulnerable to various forms of disorganization. As physical structure, we faced with disruptions in our material organization; these are associated with the experience of pain. We are creatures that desire and hence, are met with emotional suffering when thwarted in our attempts to find fulfillment.

The fact that we suffer comes from the reality of our being active participants in our particular life drama; it is our own personal life that is at stake. Ultimately, it is because we love that we are open to suffering, when we are separated from that which we adore.

Healing arises through an overcoming of suffering. This process may take a variety of forms. One’s former physical or emotional structure may be re-established. When this is not possible, one may develop new ways to reconnect to that which we desire. Should neither solution be possible, we see healing in the acceptance of limitation and the acquisition of an alternate object of worship. In all cases a wholeness of oneself in the world is re-established.

Spiritually speaking, the fact that we suffer allows for the possibility of a healing that brings about a new order with heightened creativity and deeper appreciation and love of all existence.


Ecclesiastes 2:

10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
    I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
    and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun.

12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom,
    and also madness and folly.
What more can the king’s successor do
    than what has already been done?
13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly,
    just as light is better than darkness.
14 The wise have eyes in their heads,
    while the fool walks in the darkness;
but I came to realize
    that the same fate overtakes them both.

15 Then I said to myself,

“The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
    What then do I gain by being wise?”
I said to myself,
    “This too is meaningless.”
16 For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered;
    the days have already come when both have been forgotten.
Like the fool, the wise too must die!

24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil.This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.


John 9:

1: As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6. Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Meditations: Sickness and Healing


Though rooted in universal creativity, structure and, ultimately, Being, we exist in relation to the universe, and That which is beyond. Because we, as structural entities, do not create the totality which we are, because we are expressions of a larger structure, we are vulnerable to various forms of disorganization. As physical structure, we face disruptions in our material organization. We are creatures who feel and desire; emotional suffering is an inevitable, intrinsic component of the human condition. And that suffering pierces the depths of our being; it is our own personal existence that is at stake.


Healing involves an overcoming of pain, a turning of the evil of suffering, into a good. This process may be accomplished in a variety of fashions. One’s former physical or emotional structure may be re-established. If this is not possible, one may develop new ways of accomplishing the same lost functions. Frequently and ultimately, suffering comes from a permanent loss, and healing then involves the acceptance of limitation and the acquisition of alternate means of self-affirmation. In all cases a wholeness of oneself in the world is re-established. Pain is a challenge to seek the transcendent. Healing creates a new order involving a heightened creativity and a deeper appreciation and love of all existence.