The main religious topic of J. B. is the theodicy paradox: Why does a presumably benevolent, omnipotent God allow evil and suffering to exist in the world he created? All religions have tried to find answers to this paradox, usually asked by a person who is suffering greatly without knowing why. Like the biblical Job, J. B. is willing to accept all his suffering without losing faith in God, if only God would show him why he deserves such punishment. However, he rejects the supercilious pseudo-explanations of the modern comforters: the priest, the Marxist, and the psychologist.
The traditional biblical answer is given when God appears to Job in a whirlwind: It is presumptuous for humans with their limited understanding to question the omniscient creator of the universe. Instead Job is asked to accept God’s will unquestioningly, and he does. J. B. responds similarly to the Distant Voice; he accepts, as he must, God’s assertion of his superior power and wisdom, but his acceptance has a tone of melancholy and resignation that irritates Zuss/God, who had clearly expected more exuberant praise. J. B., as Archibald MacLeish would have it, has not been answered, he has been silenced.
Nickles/Satan is even more infuriated by J. B.’s decision to make a fresh start in life, despite the absence of a clear answer from God with regard to the reason and justice of his sufferings. How can J. B. live his life over again, knowing that there is no justice in the world and that he might have to repeat his ordeal? Just like some theologians have answered the theodicy paradox by redefining the attributes of God, J. B. realizes that he cannot continue to base his life on the existence of divine justice, because if it exists at all, God refuses to reveal it to him. His new life will not be founded on philosophical abstractions; instead it is the love for his wife and the world around him that will replace theology and help him to put his life in order. This virtual elimination of God from daily human life is very close to the traditional Deist position of François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire, as well as to post-World War II existential philosophy.