The Point of Ecclesiastes
Let us recap where we have been.
The indifference of all things. The universe as it is constructed simply does not care about you. The very laws of physics and biology that keep us alive one moment will kill us the next.
Death is certain for all. Everyone dies. What more needs to be said.
Progress is a lie. Time is deceptive. It seems to be our friend – telling us that things will be better tomorrow. But it just marches to the same tune as indifference and death. It does not care about you.
And evil. Humanity chooses to do evil – sometimes even when it is easier to do the right thing.
Solomon comes to the end of it all and asks, where is God in all of this? “When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one’s eyes see sleep, then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.” (Ecc. 8:16-17)
Why is Solomon in such despair? Solomon acknowledges God exists. But that is as far as Solomon gets. In Solomon’s mind, the logic looks something like this
1. God exists.
2. God is powerful enough to make the world
3. God is intelligent enough to design the world
4. God is creative enough to make the world full of incredible beauty
5. But we have nothing to indicate that God is good, loving, or that he cares about us.
Is it possible to believe in God and still live a life of despair? Solomon does. The question is why? The wisest man who ever lived – living in hopelessness and depression.
Solomon is not a fool – he does not deny God exists. For Solomon, God is like the moon – he exists – but he is there – not here. God is being – only Am. Solomon sees God purely through nature and that is like seeing God as his back is turned to us.
Unfortunately, I know some people who say they believe in God who may be living here as well. They are so full of despair. They see no point in life.
If you are one of those believers, do not despair. Ecclesiastes is depressing. It is supposed to lead us to despair. It is supposed to show us that Scripture is the mouth of God. It is supposed to show us that Jesus is the face of God. If Ecclesiastes just shows us a silhouette of God, then Jesus is the face that fills the dark outline.