“What is a witness, anyway?” Sarah asked.
“It's a person that saw something,” David answered quickly.
“Yeah, but more than that too,” said Daddio. “A witness can be old records, shipping receipts, physical remains, video or audio recordings, teachers, you name it. If your witness is a human being, it's important to make sure they aren't changing their story for some reason. Most corrupt witnesses don't even know they are bending their stories and will mislead you with a straight face and a clear conscience.
“If you look at the guys who wrote that dinosaur book—the guys that say those dinosaurs lived 150 million years ago—I guarantee that, indirectly, they were being paid to say what they're saying. If they didn't tell you that dinosaurs lived that long ago, they would probably lose their job at whatever university hired them.”
“In the case of Job, the writer sure doesn't appear to have been paid to make those animal descriptions. The Chinese history texts, as far as I can tell, were also just the documentation of an observer.” Daddio bent over to pick up Rose and then continued.
“Another thing that makes a witness false is if they are justifying themselves.That means that they are looking for evidence to support their beliefs or actions so they can keep living and believing the way they do.”
Sarah interrupted, “Like when Seric told America she could have a cookie, so he could get one too.” Daddio nodded his head at her.
“Watch out; what I'm describing is essentially the act of trying to make yourself look good.” Sarah giggled self-consciously and everyone else bit their tongues.
“Was Job saying what he was saying to make himself look good? I doubt it, because the story was about a terrible time that Job went through and what God taught him. Most importantly, Job's text does not claim to have anything to do with dinosaurs, zoology, paleontology, or anything of that sort. Those things are incidental in his story.
“The third way to test your witness is to ask: Was it about power? Was Job saying what he was saying to get power over the other men around him? Well, that could be. Was he a powerful man? Yes, he evidently was. But the story was about him losing everything and sitting in the ashes scraping the sores of his disease with a piece of pottery. How many people would join Job's religion so that they could be like him? How many people would look at him and listen to him and decide to make Job their priest?”
“Nobody,” David said grimly. “His life turned really bad and even his friends came to criticize him. And his wife told him to curse God and die.”
“Right,” agreed Daddio. “The end of Job's book didn't tell how wonderful Job was and how much we should all be like him. It ends with God saying, Job, do you feed Behemoth? Do you know where I keep the snow? Do you birth the stars? Do you know the name of my son? Were you there when I created the foundations of the world? It ended with Job lying on his face saying I am nothing. It ended with Put-your-face-in the-dirt-and-learn-from-God.”
The kids were quiet, listening and thinking.