Can You Ever Be Good Enough for God?

   A preview of March's email-only article.

Patrick Schneider

What do you think?

Can a mortal man be right before God? Can a person be pure before his maker?

These are the questions posed not by Job, but by his friend Eliphaz in response to Job.

Every month I publish an exclusive article for my email subscribers, and this month we're asking the question: can one ever be good enough for God?

If the question sounds loaded, it is. But I think it's a critical query each of us must resolve in our own minds if we're ever to make sense of the Scriptures and of our lives.

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Here's a snippet:

Job's friend here intends to juxtapose our finite and humble existences to that of God almighty who is everlasting, pure, and perfect.

He first posed the rhetorical, "Who that was innocent ever perished?" as if insinuating Job deserved the suffering in his life.

Then he circled back and reported the words of a voice he heard, asking, "Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?" (4:17).

Connecting the dots here, Eliphaz argues that the innocent will not perish, but that no one is innocent.

Fair enough.

We've all sinned, as the apostle Paul wrote in the book of Romans.

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See you next month!

Life's Not as Fair as We Think It Should Be

Yes, the innocent do perish.

Rendy Novantino


DATA SCIENTISTS WORRY about underfitting, a phenomenon in which a formula predicts outcomes using limited inputs.

As you can imagine, this results in output errors because the underfit model fails to account for a wide enough variety of possibilities.

Underfitting, then, is essentially an oversimplification of a causal relationship based on insufficient data points. One example, spelled out by the AI wizards at DataRobot, is the correlation between sales and advertising:

An underfitted model may suggest that you can always make better sales by spending more on marketing when in fact the model fails to capture a saturation effect (at some point, sales will flatten out no matter how much more you spend on marketing).

So while it's generally true that spending more money on advertising will yield increased sales, at some point marketers will see diminishing returns on investment. The underfit model might suggest a straight line when, in reality, the model should look something more like a logarithmic function, curving upwards until flattening out at a certain point.

In a similar way we see Eliphaz, in the fourth chapter of Job, underfitting one of his proverbs; he attempts to derive a universal truth from a generally true axiom.