Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 153:611 (Jul 96) p. 366
“The Enigma of Job 1, 21a ,” Gregory Vall, Biblica 76 (1995): 325-42.
When Job suffered the loss of his livestock, servants, and all ten children, the first recorded words from his mouth were, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there” (Job 1:21a). But how could he return to his mother’s womb? Vall discusses various attempts to answer this question. Some say Job was referring to his returning to Mother Earth, whereas others suggest the word שָׁמָּה (“there”) euphemistically refers to the netherworld, and some say Job was referring to both.
Vall argues that the words “my mother’s womb” refer in the first line to Job’s human mother’s womb and refer in the second line to the earth, or death. Since all humans originate from the earth, as Adam’s descendants, at death they “return there,” that is, to dust or, in a sense, to “Mother Earth.” Vall supports this from Psalm 139:13–15 where David wrote that God wove him in his mother’s womb and also “skillfully wrought [him] in the depths of the earth,” statements that identify the earth with the womb.
By returning to the earth “naked,” Job meant, Vall suggests, that he was “anticipating the decay of his own skin and flesh in the tomb” (pp. 334-35). He was naked at birth and would be naked at death. Having come with nothing from the womb (ultimately dust), he would return with nothing to the tomb (dust). In a sense, then, “the two notions [of ‘mother’ and ‘earth’] merge and are not clearly distinguished” (p. 336). Such an acknowledgment on Job’s part should help people today to contemplate their frailty and finiteness.
Roy B. Zuck
“The Significance of the Doctrine of the Trinity for the Life of the Local Congregation,” Thomas W. Currie III, Insights 111 (1995): 33-40.
This thoughtful article by the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Kerrville, Texas, deserves to be pondered. Currie begins by describing the loneliness and triviality of the present-day therapeutic
BSac 153:611 (Jul 96) p. 367
culture, then proceeds to argue that the yearnings of such a culture have been met in the Triune God. He describes two primary implications of the doctrine of the Trinity, beginning with the idea that God is near. He is not a distant, unknown figure who has allowed people to gauge their own importance, but One who has entered into time and place on behalf of the hu...
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