So wonders Robert Burt of Yale Law School:
Whether we approach the Bible as believers in its truth or solely with an appreciation of its literary qualities, we cannot accurately understand the text if we overlook the deep doubts and fears of the characters, including their doubts about God’s wisdom. A close reading reveals many instances when human beings withhold allegiance from God – and seemingly with good reason.
One obvious example is in the book of Job, in which God authorizes the infliction of suffering on an innocent man to prove to Satan that Job will be loyal to Him. Job responds, however, by cursing the day he was born and threatening suicide, which he imagines would somehow punish God for the injustice he is suffering. “Soon I’ll be lying in the earth,” Job says. “When you come looking for me, I’ll be gone.”
There are other notable occasions. After Abraham is held back at the last moment from fulfilling God’s command to kill Isaac, he and God never speak again. Genesis does not proclaim this fact; it simply gives no record of any further communication between them, in contrast to the constant interactions between God and Abraham before this climactic event.
Read on to see why he thinks this means that civil authorities should not necessarily be obeyed either: Should God be obeyed? Should the state?—A Commentary by Robert Burt ’64 | Yale Law School.