How could Job be perfectly just if he was human?

Question

Hi. I just wanted to ask how Job could be perfectly just if he was human. Are we to assume he was only a fictitious character used to help us understand suffering? I sort of assumed he was a real human being, and as humans are flawed, I assume he would have been, too. If I try to take a stab at it, I may say that Job is just like any sincere Jew or Christian who tries to live out his faith properly but still has sin in his life. If I’m right (and I’m not saying that I am, it’s just a guess), then the book of Job is not a story about how bad things happened to this perfectly just man, but a story of how bad things happen to “basically good, yet not sinless,” people. Here I go being picky.

Answer

Job lives an upright life. As I read it, the story gets its point not from the fact that he has never committed any sin at all, but from the fact that he hasn’t committed any hidden, unconfessed sin which would explain why such terrible things are happening to him now.

Though Job believes God will judge his complaint properly if only He hears it, he isn’t completely confident that God is listening. In the end, he learns better and repents, humbly admitting that he hadn’t known what he was talking about.

Grace and peace,

PROFESSOR THEOPHILUS

Copyright 2003 Professor Theophilus. All rights reserved.

About the Author

J. Budziszewski

Professor J. Budziszewski is the author of more than a dozen books, including How to Stay Christian in College, Ask Me Anything, Ask Me Anything 2, What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide, and The Line Through the Heart. He teaches government and philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin.