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Job 9:23-24

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Job 9:23-24, ‘When disaster brings sudden death, He mocks at the calamity of the innocent. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked; He covers the face of its judges—if it is not He, WHO then is it?’

In this post, I’m not commenting on Job’s evaluation of the situation, only on the fundamental question that he asks. Looking at the sorrows of the world, Job does not ask ‘What?’ or ‘Why?’ but ‘Who?’

Ultimately, reality is either personal or impersonal. There must be either a supreme and all-defining *What* at the root of all things, or a supreme and all-defining *Who*; there cannot be both, but there must be one.

If the universe is fundamentally impersonal, then all things—people, stories, relationships, experiences, longings, passions, nature—must at last resolve into an impersonal and lifeless ‘What.’ On the other hand, if the universe is fundamentally personal, then all things must have as their truest ground and defining reality a personal and living ‘Who.’ The difference between these two is incalculable….not merely on a philosophical or theological level, but on a practical, everyday level; we will perceive, plan, purpose, and pursue differently based on whether we think we live in a ‘What’ universe vs. a ‘Who’ universe.

And the point I want to make today is this:

In an impersonal universe, the final and most fundamental question that can and must be asked is ‘What?’….At the end of the day, there is nothing but a blind, senseless, heartless ‘What’ broiling at the center of all things as the only and final answer to every question.

However, in a personal universe, the great and essential question, the deepest reality and meaning into which we can probe is not ‘what,’ nor even ‘why,’ but ‘Who?’ And if that is so….the answer to our most agonizing questions is not an ‘answer’ at all, but a person….and if a person, then the ‘answer’ is known only through relationship, only through love.

To be known and to know this great Person, to be loved by and to love this great Person, to—like the Beloved Disciple—lean back on the bosom of this Person and trust the heart beating beneath us to do all things well, this—HE—is the ‘Answer.’