Embodying Job’s Disinterested Righteousness: A Hermeneutics of Suspicion as the Satan’s Gift to Refine Christian Motives

By Trevor B. Williams.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 2, 2015 $US5.00

Many Christians base their motives for ethics solely on heavenly rewards. While this motive often helps them live, it often results in misguided, self-centered morality. In facing that problem this paper makes observations about the book of Job’s presentation of a righteous man whose motives are challenged by God’s skeptical servant, the satan. The reader discovers that better motives for righteousness can be discovered through an examination of the satan’s question, “‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’” (1:9b). This question sends reverberations through the Joban prologue that begin a critique of retributive theology. The examination of the text is followed by a survey of narrativist virtue ethics that seeks to provide the ethical framework of a contemporary Christian reader. This framework is teleological so it has several implications for the place of rules, giving Christians the language to find freedom in their dependence on a community guided by eudaimonia. In discovering this freedom Christians find that they can pursue Job’s disinterested righteousness because virtue is its own reward. In its conclusion, this paper analyzes the reader’s insights and draws on the language provided by the satan to recover tools that help Christians avoid selfish motives.

Keywords: Disinterested, Satan, Virtue

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 6, Issue 1, March 2016, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 2, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 446.430KB)).

Trevor B. Williams

Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, USA