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Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job: How the…
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Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job: How the Oldest Book in the Bible…

by Hugh Ross

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Hugh Ross in his latest book "Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job" delivers as promised: "With careful consideration and exegesis, internationally known astrophysicist and Christian apologist Hugh Ross adds yet another compelling argument to the case for the veracity of the biblical commentary on the history of the universe, Earth, life, and humanity. Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job shows that the Bible is an accurate predictor of scientific discoveries and a trustworthy source of scientific information, and that the book of Scripture and the book of nature are consistent both internally and externally." (http://www.bakerbooks.com)

Far from being a dry scientific dissertation, nor a technical grammatical/exegetical treatise, Ross is surprisingly candid on his encounters while undertaking this project. Warned that in one way or another his work would deal with suffering, his familial and personal life fulfilled such a backdrop in the writing project. Yet, he states that it is not his "intention to address the theme of suffering but to focus on the scientific related content of the book of Job, especially on passages describing God's involvement in creation" (p. 7). Ross frames his personal experiences with his subject matter: "Job did not waste his suffering. He used the trauma he experienced to draw closer to God and to lean deep truths that would enlighten his friends and ultimately benefit all humanity, as well as observes in the angelic realm" (p.11). Ross does not miss and opportunity to use the events in his life with a warning not to avoid the lessons of Job.

Ross has an amazing mind to set up logical arguments. His first chapter, Answers for Today's Issues, sets the reader up to see how the issues that he is raising will inform not only Biblical but scientific and contemporary issues. He provides a hermeneutical framework from Job, looking at contextual cues for interpretation (p. 17). The explanation of nepesh (soul) and creation care (Gen. 1:28-31) informs the rest of his arguments (p. 20).

That there would be disagreement regarding the issues of Job, should not surprise because the original audience had such conflict. The debaters of Job: Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad were “likely the intellectual powerhouses of their day…” (28). Along with Elihu, who most likely recorded the book, they comprise the major characters. Interestingly, Eliphaz was named as a Temanite. Teman, Ross points out, “was famous in the ancient world for its exceptionally wise scholars” (28).

As an apologist, Ross presents the issues of Job in an environment of debate. He discusses “timeless questions” about God (Chapter 3). Ross points out answers given throughout Job about the reason for death (39-40), the shorter lifespans of humans (40-41), blessings for the wicked (43ff), and more. Regarding the topic of so-called “natural evil.”, Ross points out Job’s rejection of a “direct cause-and-effect relationship between destructive natural events and the people affected by them” and goes on to argue that scientifically, these “acts of God” are necessary for life (49). Even such destructive events like Hurricanes, are shown to have surprising benefits (51).

Moving from classic to some more modern issues (chapter 4) Ross deals with more scientific responses. He argues that God’s challenges to Job and friends reject naturalism, deism, evolutionism, and young-earth creationism (54). He shows how Job specifically points out that God continually interacts with creation, and how Scripture specifically points towards the Big Bang–with language of God “stretching out the heavens” thousands of years before any scientific evidence existed (56-58). On the topic of so called " dark matter", more than treating darkness as the “absence of light” as was the belief historically, Job points out the actual existence of darkness and its separation from light. Ross shows specifically how the information in Job links to some more modern discoveries in science (60-63), including Global Warming (63ff). If it seems like Ross addresses everything, well he does with his discussion of the "unified field theory" of physics (p.58).

Putting this discussion through the proper lens of Biblical inspiration, Ross notes that: “One basis for concluding that the Book of Job must be supernaturally inspired is the relevance of its content to the questions, challenges, and controversies of later generations, including our own. Another mark of divine inspiration is the book’s successful anticipation, or prediction, of some of humanity’s most important discoveries…” (p. 68-69). Central to Ross’ argument is the thesis that the book of Job can be used as an interpretive backdrop for the Genesis creation account. Ross argues that Job 38-39 can be read in its entirety as a creation account (72). He sees using Job 38-39 to explain the “heavens and earth” (74); when plants were created (78-79); and the issue of light before the sun (80-84). Ross argues that, contrary to most interpretations, the Genesis account does not explain that there was no sun before light, but rather that the light had been hidden by the atmosphere (82-83). Surprisingly, Ross even links this information to elements in the Belgic Confession (p. 83).

As if what Ross has discussed is not controversial enough, he now deals with topics covered in Genesis 2-11. He appears to be a "Day-age" theorist in his discussion of yom (day) representing "a long but finite time period, rather than twenty-four hours (p. 90). On the question as to the extent of the flood (92ff) he argues that the flood was localized to all of humanity. Ross argues that Job 38:39-41 coincide with creation day five, and since these verses include death before the fall, an argument for a young-earth is excluded.

Regarding the uniqueness of humans, in Chapter 7 Ross states that humans are created in the image of God (pp. 106-108), and social cognition of humans is much greater than animals (pp. 108-109). Humans have an awareness of God, which is a unique reverence for the divine (pp. 109-112), they have a compulsion to worship (pp. 112-113) and finally an awareness of the coming Judgment (pp. 114-115). An important distinction is made between the difference between asah (make) refering to God's manufacture of the physical aspects of the creation (bara) of nepesh and adam (p.123).

Chapter 8 deals with the nature of the soul and the differences between humans and animals. Fascinating was his treatment of the ten “soulish” creatures named in Job and their import for humans in Chapter 10 (p.150-165). This is contrasted with Chapter 9, on unique human motivations. Most of this material goes beyond exegetical treatment of Scripture, to contemporary animal research. Ross discusses things humans have in common with animals in Chapter 11, and the lessons that we can learn from various creatures (pp. 167-173). Ross notes that “soulish animals shine a spotlight on humanity’s capacity for both greatness and wretchedness, a most humbling view if we fully take it in” (p. 173).

Chapter 12 examines the topic of dinosaurs and Job 40-41 (pp. 175-185). Ross denies that Job provides evidence for dinosaurs living with humans and argues that the behemoth is a hippopotamus (178-180) and the leviathan a crocodile (180-183). Ross writes that “dinosaurs suited God’s plan to fill the Earth with as great an abundance and diversity of life as conditions allowed. The presence of those creatures meant that when humans arrived they would have at their disposal the best atmosphere for their needs and the richest supply of biodeposits” (pp. 184-185). Ross's treatment on these subjects are often only alluded to, such as the research on dinosaurs on p. 183. His treatment of the various era/periods (p.184) are discussions that span entire books.

Like any work on Job, "Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job" concludes with Answers to the Problem of Suffering". In brief fashion he shows the universal human condition of sin, which leads to suffering for the human race, necessitating the needs for the death of Christ (pp. 187-213). I found this section the weakest treatment of the book, perhaps due to his desire on the onset of the book to avoid this topic. What is much stronger in this section are the atheist misconception of suffering and the broader unanswered question of why any good happens. He presents evidence that Job argues for both a greater good theodicy along with a free-will defence (190ff). I found my greatest qualms with his "free-will" treatment yet his treatment at least qualified this notion that "humans who choose (by the power God provides) to surrender to God's authority in the face of ultimate temptation receive God's promise that nothing can ever again draw them away from him" p.197).

Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job will get some angry, some fascinated and many bewildered. Yet, the life experience that Hugh Ross recounts in these pages illustrate the relevance and timelessness that the topic material addresses. Ross constructs a well reasoned, yet highly controversial presentation on how the book of Job answers today's scientific and general life questions, showing how Scripture speaks today though science, nature, conscience and life experience. It deserves careful study and discussion. ( )
  Kratz | Dec 30, 2011 |
Dr. Hugh Ross, well known old-earth creationist and president of Reasons to Believe, has given us a gem of a book with "Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job (Baker Books, 2011). The subtitle of the book explains its purpose: "How the oldest book in the Bible answers today's scientific questions."

Dr. Ross is as well versed in the creation debate today as anyone, and he has devoted time and effort in combating godless, Darwinian evolution and countering the arguments of new atheists. With this book, he unpacks the myriad of ways the book of Job speaks to the question of origins and the meaning of life on earth.

Job 38 describes God's creative activity directly, and Ross focuses in on this chapter. Yet he also discusses whether leviathan was a dinosaur, and what Job has to say about the extent of the Flood. Suffering, death, unique attributes of humans, the soulish nature of animals, the order of creation-these topics and more are covered.

As Ross writes, he blends scientific insight (like just why Hurricanes are so beneficial to the climate of Earth), personal anecdotes and devotional thoughts from the book of Job in a fascinating and well-written way. The book is not so much an extended defense of Ross's scientific positions, but a manual filled with interesting tidbits that will get you thinking and encourage you to keep studying, and to mine the book of Job for treasures yourself.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by Reasons to Believe. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review. ( )
  bobhayton | Oct 4, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0801072107, Hardcover)

Arguably the oldest book in the Bible, the book of Job has a surprising amount to say about some of the newest scientific discoveries and controversies. Far from a book that is just about suffering, Job is filled with rich insight into both ancient and modern questions about

the formation of the world
the difference between animals and humans
cosmology
dinosaurs and the fossil record
how to care for creation
and more

With careful consideration and exegesis, internationally known astrophysicist and Christian apologist Hugh Ross adds yet another compelling argument to the case for the veracity of the biblical commentary on the history of the universe, Earth, life, and humanity. Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job shows that the Bible is an accurate predictor of scientific discoveries and a trustworthy source of scientific information, and that both the book of Scripture and the book of nature are consistent both internally and externally.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:06 -0400)

"Arguably the oldest book in the Bible, the book of Job has a surprising amount to say about some of the newest scientific discoveries and controversies. Far from a book that is just about suffering, Job is filled with rich insight into both ancient and modern questions about the formation of the world, the difference between animals and humans, cosmology, dinosaurs and the fossil record, how to care for creation and more. With careful consideration and exegesis, internationally known astrophysicist and Christian apologist Hugh Ross adds yet another compelling argument to the case for the veracity of the biblical commentary on the history of the universe, Earth, life, and humanity. Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job shows that the Bible is an accurate predictor of scientific discoveries and a trustworthy source of scientific information, and that both the book of Scripture and the book of nature are consistent both internally and externally" -- www.amazon.com… (more)

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