“Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!” – Proverbs 30:4
What is rain? That’s a ridiculous question, right? Obviously, it’s water that comes from the sky—clouds, if you want to get technical. Okay, but why? Why does water come down from the sky? Why does it come when it does in the amount it does? You learned the water cycle in third grade, and a few times after that. But has that really cleared it up for you? How does the whole evaporation thing work? What exactly is a cloud?
Nearly half of the book of Job is Job building his case against God. In his mind, God has bought destruction on him without cause, and beyond proportion. Why can’t there be a judge between them, Job complains, an arbiter who could lay his hand on us both? (Job 9:33) Job feels he has a solid defense in the eyes of justice, but because of the power differential between him and God, he can’t possibly hope for a fair hearing.
God’s answer, which comes in the last four chapters, sounds a lot like the proverb above. There’s a reason why Job is placed among the Old Testament wisdom literature. Reconciling the problem of evil with the goodness and justice of God will lead you to mine some of the deepest mysteries of our world. If we hear and believe God’s answer to this problem, then we will have a stronger foundation of wisdom than most people ever attain.
The answer can be seen in Job’s response after God answers (Job 40:4). He puts his hand over his mouth. That’s also where Socrates started: the beginning of wisdom is knowing that you don’t know. Start pondering the balancing of galaxies, or the finer details of how exactly you can browse something called the internet on something that fits in your pocket. Can you explain those?
But that’s only scratching the surface, God tells us. As you wade deeper into these mysteries, you’re supposed to see two things: how little you know, and how much God knows. Not only could He explain everything in this world, He made it. He actually has seen the earth from end to end, and it’s still only a marble in his universe.
This is not actually a small point, or some enlivening thought experiment. If we can begin approximating the distance between us as creatures and God as the Creator, we will find that our long list of questions and doubts about God starts to look more irrelevant, even a little embarrassing. It’s a bit like criticizing an MLB pitcher from your couch, and then he offers for you to take his place on the mound next week. No, no, you say, really, you’re not doing so bad after all.