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Top 100 Atheist Challenges

Job is described as “righteous” and “blameless.” Can these descriptions be taken seriously if the Bible is said to teach the universal sinfulness of mankind?

This question can be answered by way of considering a similar problem in the New Testament. How is it that the Corinthian Church, for example, can be addressed as “saints” and as “carnal” in the same letter? Such language becomes intelligible once the distinction is made between one’s status as they actually are and one’s status in the sight of God. Because the atonement of Jesus paid the debt man incurs in virtue of their sin, God rightly treats the one to whom the atonement is applied as though he were blameless (or righteous). One may suppose that this is the phenomenon one finds in the case of Job, though in this case the atonement is forward-looking rather than backward: Job can be rightly called blameless in virtue of the debt that will be paid on his behalf.