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November 03, 2006

Solomon & why he hated life

Many Christians could probably give you a one-sentence idea of what the book of Ecclesiastes talks about. But it is worth a second look. Recently I have started to study Ecclesiastes. Briefly, here are a few things I'm noticing--and it is exciting to learn these things!
- The term 'under the sun' or similar terms are key to this book. I think this is a signal that this book is written about life on earth...from quite an earthly perspective, often.
- The Preacher (Solomon) spoke as a very depressed man. He hated life. He said life was grievous, futile, and despaired of living. Sounds like a man who might commit suicide. I had never seen his depression as something so profound.
- Solomon's depression is just a 'reverberation' of the effects of the curse upon man in Gen. 3:17-19. For example, see how Solomon's distress in Ecc. 2 is due to frustrating work and inevitable death (both results of sin). Man's God-given job is to take care of the earth, but sin has made it very hard. Not only has work become hard, but a man works only to leave all his earnings to another who will come after him. Work is hard, death is worse.
- Solomon did not kill himself because he knew that there really was meaning to this life, as the end of chapter 2. But to the one who doesn't know the Purposer of life, there is no joy or meaning to life. Do suicides surprise you? Some people out there realize what Solomon did--"work is hard, death is worse"--but they don't believe in the Creator...so what is left to do but to stop living?
Charlie Clough says that our N.A. culture is profoundly intellectually depressed. Ecclesiastes is the wisest man (excepting the God-man) in the world, with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, laying out for us why the pagan finds life so depressing...and they're the same reasons now as they were then.

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