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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing Look at Job, Nov. 30 2011
By 
Conrade Yap (Vancouver, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job: How the Oldest Book of the Bible Answers Today's Scientific Questions (Hardcover)
This book uncovers a lot of stuff. It also covers a wide range of reasons surrounding the biblical perspective of the world. It deals with scientific discoveries. It works through the reasons to believe, and that faith is in fact very reasonable. Through Job, Ross leads the reader to engage the Bible in a whole new way on natural history, timeless questions of God's existence, the creation of the earth, suffering, angels, and many more. He makes an assertion that the book of Job is essentially a gathering of the best minds in the world, through the persons of Job, Bildad, Eliphaz, Zophar, and Elihu. He argues that the book of Job itself speaks against the 'basic tenets of naturalism and deism, evolutionalism and young-earth creationism' (54). He explains that the 'Big Bang Universe' itself needs to be held together by an Intelligent Being who makes sure that life is not 'too fast' or 'too slow' (56-57). He goes through the seven days of creation, and instead of letting Genesis defend itself, he says that Job itself complements Genesis by authenticating the first 12 chapters of Genesis. He argues for the unique place of humans in that they are the only creatures with the capacity to 'think, gain understanding and discern what's wise' (107). Man is much more than apes and animals. Much much more. Nearly six chapters are devoted to distinguishing man and animal, that while man rules over animals, the animals do provide wonderful lessons for humans. Animals can teach humans about God, about ourselves, and about relationships too! Of dinosaurs and Jurassic Park, Ross suggests that such creatures are created on the Fifth Day in Genesis, that animals are there not just for our 'survival,' but also for our 'pleasure, joy, and quality of life' (185).

Finally, and thankfully, Ross deals with the age old topic of suffering. He concludes that Job teaches us not about our suffering or our responses to suffering. It is about God's 'gracious intervention' (200). It is also about how Job's 9 steps in discerning God's redemptive plan, and Elihu's 7 steps in understanding how God redeems.

Closing Thoughts

It is nice to discover a piece of hidden treasure. It is nicer still to realize the treasure is largely undiscovered. As many scientists, philosophers, and theologians continue to dig away at Genesis, few has actually taken the time to dwell in the book of Job. Perhaps, there is a stigma of pain and suffering associated with Job. Perhaps, Job has been largely dismissed as a book of debates between God and the Devil in the heavens, and Job with his friends on earth. Perhaps, there is too much poetry in the book of Job that many living in a scientific and technological world tend to avoid. I am glad that Ross has provided a refreshing contribution to the understanding of creation and the world from the perspective of the Bible, besides Genesis. I find the subtitle of the book overly ambitious. It may lead one to think that Job has been written to answer scientific questions. Far from it. The last part of the book clarifies this by saying that the overall thrust of Job is not about suffering, or about answering scientific questions. Neither is it a text for apologetics. It is about human redemption, how God redeems the world, Job and his friends, and promises that God has consistently asserted throughout the Bible. God's grace and redemption from beginning to end. This message is the greatest treasure that Ross has dug up in this book.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.

conrade
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delivers as promised, Dec 30 2011
By 
Matthew Kratz - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job: How the Oldest Book of the Bible Answers Today's Scientific Questions (Hardcover)
Hugh Ross in his latest book "Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job" delivers as promised: "With careful consideration and exegesis, internationally known astrophysicist and Christian apologist Hugh Ross adds yet another compelling argument to the case for the veracity of the biblical commentary on the history of the universe, Earth, life, and humanity. Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job shows that the Bible is an accurate predictor of scientific discoveries and a trustworthy source of scientific information, and that the book of Scripture and the book of nature are consistent both internally and externally." [...]

Far from being a dry scientific dissertation, nor a technical grammatical/exegetical treatise, Ross is surprisingly candid on his encounters while undertaking this project. Warned that in one way or another his work would deal with suffering, his familial and personal life fulfilled such a backdrop in the writing project. Yet, he states that it is not his "intention to address the theme of suffering but to focus on the scientific related content of the book of Job, especially on passages describing God's involvement in creation" (p. 7). Ross frames his personal experiences with his subject matter: "Job did not waste his suffering. He used the trauma he experienced to draw closer to God and to lean deep truths that would enlighten his friends and ultimately benefit all humanity, as well as observes in the angelic realm" (p.11). Ross does not miss and opportunity to use the events in his life with a warning not to avoid the lessons of Job.

Ross has an amazing mind to set up logical arguments. His first chapter, Answers for Today's Issues, sets the reader up to see how the issues that he is raising will inform not only Biblical but scientific and contemporary issues. He provides a hermeneutical framework from Job, looking at contextual cues for interpretation (p. 17). The explanation of nepesh (soul) and creation care (Gen. 1:28-31) informs the rest of his arguments (p. 20).
That there would be disagreement regarding the issues of Job, should not surprise because the original audience had such conflict. The debaters of Job: Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad were "likely the intellectual powerhouses of their day..." (28). Along with Elihu, who most likely recorded the book, they comprise the major characters. Interestingly, Eliphaz was named as a Temanite. Teman, Ross points out, "was famous in the ancient world for its exceptionally wise scholars" (28).

As an apologist, Ross presents the issues of Job in an environment of debate. He discusses "timeless questions" about God (Chapter 3). Ross points out answers given throughout Job about the reason for death (39-40), the shorter lifespans of humans (40-41), blessings for the wicked (43ff), and more. Regarding the topic of so-called "natural evil.", Ross points out Job's rejection of a "direct cause-and-effect relationship between destructive natural events and the people affected by them" and goes on to argue that scientifically, these "acts of God" are necessary for life (49). Even such destructive events like Hurricanes, are shown to have surprising benefits (51).

Moving from classic to some more modern issues (chapter 4) Ross deals with more scientific responses. He argues that God's challenges to Job and friends reject naturalism, deism, evolutionism, and young-earth creationism (54). He shows how Job specifically points out that God continually interacts with creation, and how Scripture specifically points towards the Big Bang-with language of God "stretching out the heavens" thousands of years before any scientific evidence existed (56-58). On the topic of so called " dark matter", more than treating darkness as the "absence of light" as was the belief historically, Job points out the actual existence of darkness and its separation from light. Ross shows specifically how the information in Job links to some more modern discoveries in science (60-63), including Global Warming (63ff). If it seems like Ross addresses everything, well he does with his discussion of the "unified field theory" of physics (p.58).

Putting this discussion through the proper lens of Biblical inspiration, Ross notes that: "One basis for concluding that the Book of Job must be supernaturally inspired is the relevance of its content to the questions, challenges, and controversies of later generations, including our own. Another mark of divine inspiration is the book's successful anticipation, or prediction, of some of humanity's most important discoveries..." (p. 68-69). Central to Ross' argument is the thesis that the book of Job can be used as an interpretive backdrop for the Genesis creation account. Ross argues that Job 38-39 can be read in its entirety as a creation account (72). He sees using Job 38-39 to explain the "heavens and earth" (74); when plants were created (78-79); and the issue of light before the sun (80-84). Ross argues that, contrary to most interpretations, the Genesis account does not explain that there was no sun before light, but rather that the light had been hidden by the atmosphere (82-83). Surprisingly, Ross even links this information to elements in the Belgic Confession (p. 83).

As if what Ross has discussed is not controversial enough, he now deals with topics covered in Genesis 2-11. He appears to be a "Day-age" theorist in his discussion of yom (day) representing "a long but finite time period, rather than twenty-four hours (p. 90). On the question as to the extent of the flood (92ff) he argues that the flood was localized to all of humanity. Ross argues that Job 38:39-41 coincide with creation day five, and since these verses include death before the fall, an argument for a young-earth is excluded.

Regarding the uniqueness of humans, in Chapter 7 Ross states that humans are created in the image of God (pp. 106-108), and social cognition of humans is much greater than animals (pp. 108-109). Humans have an awareness of God, which is a unique reverence for the divine (pp. 109-112), they have a compulsion to worship (pp. 112-113) and finally an awareness of the coming Judgment (pp. 114-115). An important distinction is made between the difference between asah (make) refering to God's manufacture of the physical aspects of the creation (bara) of nepesh and adam (p.123).

Chapter 8 deals with the nature of the soul and the differences between humans and animals. Fascinating was his treatment of the ten "soulish" creatures named in Job and their import for humans in Chapter 10 (p.150-165). This is contrasted with Chapter 9, on unique human motivations. Most of this material goes beyond exegetical treatment of Scripture, to contemporary animal research. Ross discusses things humans have in common with animals in Chapter 11, and the lessons that we can learn from various creatures (pp. 167-173). Ross notes that "soulish animals shine a spotlight on humanity's capacity for both greatness and wretchedness, a most humbling view if we fully take it in" (p. 173).

Chapter 12 examines the topic of dinosaurs and Job 40-41 (pp. 175-185). Ross denies that Job provides evidence for dinosaurs living with humans and argues that the behemoth is a hippopotamus (178-180) and the leviathan a crocodile (180-183). Ross writes that "dinosaurs suited God's plan to fill the Earth with as great an abundance and diversity of life as conditions allowed. The presence of those creatures meant that when humans arrived they would have at their disposal the best atmosphere for their needs and the richest supply of biodeposits" (pp. 184-185). Ross's treatment on these subjects are often only alluded to, such as the research on dinosaurs on p. 183. His treatment of the various era/periods (p.184) are discussions that span entire books.

Like any work on Job, "Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job" concludes with Answers to the Problem of Suffering". In brief fashion he shows the universal human condition of sin, which leads to suffering for the human race, necessitating the needs for the death of Christ (pp. 187-213). I found this section the weakest treatment of the book, perhaps due to his desire on the onset of the book to avoid this topic. What is much stronger in this section are the atheist misconception of suffering and the broader unanswered question of why any good happens. He presents evidence that Job argues for both a greater good theodicy along with a free-will defence (190ff). I found my greatest qualms with his "free-will" treatment yet his treatment at least qualified this notion that "humans who choose (by the power God provides) to surrender to God's authority in the face of ultimate temptation receive God's promise that nothing can ever again draw them away from him" (p.197).

Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job will get some angry, some fascinated and many bewildered. Yet, the life experience that Hugh Ross recounts in these pages illustrate the relevance and timelessness that the topic material addresses. Ross constructs a well reasoned, yet highly controversial presentation on how the book of Job answers today's scientific and general life questions, showing how Scripture speaks today though science, nature, conscience and life experience. It deserves careful study and discussion.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Interest, April 26 2014
By 
OneProudNana (Toronto, ON Canada) - See all my reviews
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This book looked interesting because I was part of a study group looking at Job as wisdom literature. It was not what I expected - a look through the book of Job in some detail - but it was interesting nevertheless. I especially liked Hugh Ross's reports of his encounters with skeptics and atheists. He goes to conferences of skeptics to present reasons for belief in a creative, caring God and he shares how some people respond to his presentations. He also deals with the parts of the book of Job that talk about creation and how those portions fit with other Biblical accounts of creation.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, Sept. 5 2013
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This review is from: Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job: How the Oldest Book of the Bible Answers Today's Scientific Questions (Hardcover)
Clear explanations and insightful view into examining the inferences that can be drawn from the book of Job with respect to science.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, Sept. 22 2014
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This review is from: Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job: How the Oldest Book of the Bible Answers Today's Scientific Questions (Hardcover)
It was a gift for my husband. He likes it.
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