Job answered the Lord . . . “You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I have declared things I didn’t understand.”
Aristotle was the most revered of all the world’s philosophers. He believed that scientific experiment was beneath the dignity of a true philosopher. If something is true, you should be able to figure it out by simply thinking hard about it.
That is why, for almost 2000 years, no one contested Aristotle’s pronouncement that heavier bodies fall faster than lighter ones at a proportional rate. A ten pound cannonball, he maintained, will fall ten times faster than a one pound musket ball.
Galileo wasn’t the first person to disprove Aristotle’s notion. Simon Stevin had already refuted Aristotle by his experiment of dropping various lead balls from the church tower in Delft. They all hit the ground simultaneously.
What made Galileo’s demonstration from the Leaning Tower of Pisa so notable was that philosophy professors loyal to Aristotle witnessed the experiment. According to Aristotle, when a ten pound ball is dropped from 100 feet, it should hit the ground before a one pound ball, dropped at the same time, has fallen ten feet.
Here is the most remarkable thing about the experiment at the Leaning Tower. After Galileo’s experiment disproved Aristotle's assumption, the philosophy scholars STILL refused to believe their eyes and admit that Galileo was right!
After Job lost his health, wealth, and family, his friends stopped by to offer condolences -- as well as their theological opinions concerning why God let these things happen to Job. In the end, God silences their debate by demonstrating that all of them are simply spouting their ignorance.
The theological experts in Jesus’ day thought they had God pretty well figured out. If good things happened to you, it meant that God loved you and approved of your behavior. If, however, you got sick, or suffered from some misfortune, that meant you were sinful and God was angry with you.
The opinions of the rabbis were reasonable. But they were dead wrong.
We still do that today. Ask someone to complete this sentence: “If God loved me, then . . .” You may be surprised at how many people would say, “If God loved me, the cancer would turn out to be benign.” “If God loved me, I wouldn’t have lost my job.” “If God loved me, he wouldn’t have let my sister die in the car accident.”
We can spout opinions about God all day long. It hardly seems right that admitting our ignorance is the best way to know God. But it is the only way to know God. The only way we can learn about God is to shut up long enough for him to speak.
And, if we listen, the Word he’llspeak will be Jesus.
(text copyright 2012 by Marty Kaarre)