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Ask Fr. Francis: Why Would God Let the Family of Job Die in Order to Test Job?

The following is an excerpt from Fr. Francis Ching, CC answers tough questions about the Catholic faith.

Fr. Francis Ching PortraitQuestion: 

When reading the book of Jobs lately at Mass, I have this question: Why would God let family of Job die in order to test Job? Is it not God is against “killing”? Or, maybe, what makes Job’s family members more “vulnerable” to be killed than Job himself?

Fr. Francis' answer:

What is troublesome in the story, as you pointed out, is the seemingly arbitrary nature of God’s action in choosing whom to die, when to die, and how to die. We found someone who has such power of arbitrariness evil because in our experience, people cannot and do not have that kind of rights over another person, and so necessarily, anyone who has attempted to do so turned out evil. That is why totalitarianism is evil, slavery is evil, fascism is evil, etc.

But what if the person in question actually owns all life? God is the author of life. In fact, He is the essence of all life. Our life is not just His, but He Himself in essence. We owe our very life to Him.

Then whether it is evil is no longer whether it is arbitrary, because God has, and God alone has, more so than ourselves, the right to be arbitrary with our lives. In fact, in front of God, for me to say I can do whatever with my life would be wrong, would be evil, and unjust. It would be equivalent to when I have borrowed your luxury race car and say it to your face I can wreck it as I please.

No, God has more claim to my life than I have.

What it comes down to then is not whether God is arbitrary with our lives, because He is fully and justly entitled to be so. What it comes down to rather is whether we trust that God is good.

When someone has the power to be arbitrary with our lives is evil, it is absolutely evil. When someone is arbitrary but good, it can be very good.

And God is Goodness Himself.

Read the full answer here!

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