Does the Story of Job Imply that Satan Has Power over Nature?
Does the story of Job imply Satan has power over nature?
The book of Job has some unusual aspects. The author of the book is anonymous. There is no firm evidence regarding who wrote it or when it was written. It contains no details related to Israel’s history. Internal evidence implies the story is ancient.
Satan and his angels have been cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-15). At the same time, we know that Satan is a liar and a murderer (John 8:44) and the accuser (Revelation 12:10), and this passage in Job must be understood as conveying a significant truth about the interaction of the most powerful fallen angel with his Creator.
There is an immense qualitative difference between the power of a rebellious fallen angel and that of the God who created, sustains, and ultimately controls everything that exists. Some religions in the past—most notably Zoroastrianism—were based on dualism. In dualistic religion, there is not one God, but two—a good God and an evil God. In dualism, the evil God and the good God are nearly equally matched. Although Satan was responsible for the fire and the whirlwind, he was permitted to act only by God’s permission and in accordance with God’s plan.
A basic principle of biblical interpretation is that Scripture must be interpreted in the context of other Scripture. Just as we shouldn’t use an isolated passage to justify prayer for the dead, assert that baptism is necessary for salvation, or deny eternal security, we need to take seriously the Old Testament’s overwhelming consistency in rejecting polytheistic or dualist views of deity that would lessen God’s majesty.
Satan is portrayed as God’s agent in this event. He apparently has a limited power over nature, but apart from God’s permission and power he could do nothing. It is clear that God places a “hedge of protection” around His faithful children that Satan is powerless to violate.