July 09, 2020 Jason Newman

Eternity in our Hearts

Eternity in our Hearts

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

After reading my last post, my wife looked at me and said “Well, that was a depressing read!” I completely agree with her. But here is an even more depressing thought – we are only through 2 of the five thoughts of Solomon about the vanity of life. Three more to go!

In our last post, we looked at indifference and death. Solomon pointed out that the universe does not care about one living organism. And death comes to all. Rich. Poor. Intellectual. Simple. Young. Old. 

The next thing that Solomon wants us to think about is progress. Progress is a lie we tell ourselves to keep us from seeing the truth – there is nothing new under the sun. We look at technology as progress. But do cell phones and computers and microwave ovens and Facebook make our lives any better? Add anything you wish to that list. They change our lives. I will grant you that. But whatever upside is gained, there is a downside. The natural order of the universe is entropy. Disorder. Breakdown.

Solomon observed this in the famous passage in chapter 3. “For everything there is a season” A time for love, a time to hate. A time for peace, a time for war. A time to be born, a time to die. What do we gain from any progress? It ultimately slides to disorder and breakdown.

But we can look at this on a deeper level. We think that progress is good because we see it as the unfolding of Time. Time is the fundamental and inescapable feature of all our life under the sun. We experience Time in our spiritual and physical bodies – our souls are in time just as much as our bodies. But Time is not our friend.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking

Racing around to come up behind you again.

The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older,

Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Time fools us to think there is always more – but death comes anyway.

But amid all this gloom Solomon bursts forth in one piercing shaft of light. It cuts through the darkness so quickly that you may miss it. Solomon writes that God has put eternity in man’s heart. (Ecc. 3:11) What does he mean by that?

We live in Time just as the fish lives in the sea. But the fish never complains about being wet. Yet we complain about Time. We never have enough. We would like to go back and redo things. We would like to know how the future unfolds. But Time as we know it does not work like that. It marches toward one destination and one only.

Still, there is this hunger for eternity. There is a desire for…no... it more than desire for…it is a knowing… that another Land exists. In that Land of Yonder we will live a different life. One without Time. One without Death.

Christians affirm that this Land exists. We sing about it. We preach about it. We pray for it to come quickly. We also say that Death is no longer our enemy – that Death is a conquered foe. That begs the question though of why do we still live like Time and Death are the most real things in our lives? We fear tomorrow. We cannot escape the past. we fret about how and when we will die.

We have not embraced the confidence of Eternity. The true message of the Gospel is lost on us. And if it is lost on us… what hope is there for anyone outside the Faith?

Pink Floyd. Dark Side of the Moon. EMI Records, 1973. CD.