Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The world is not enough

Some readers may well consider Ecclesiastes to be the most worldly book of the Bible. And there's a grain of truth to that. It's focused on what happens "under the sun."

Even so, there's an implicit doctrine of the afterlife. There's a doctrine of final judgment. Ecclesiastes notes the deplorable fact that in this life the wicked often elude justice while the righteous are often denied justice. A reversal of fortunes in the afterlife could be the only compensation.

However, I'd like to draw attention to a somewhat different point. Ecclesiastes encourages people to make the most of what this life has to offer. Earthly goods are good. Enjoy it while you have it. 

At the same time, no book of the Bible is more dissatisfied with what this fallen world has to offer. Throughout Ecclesiastes is an unrequited yearning for something greater, something better, than this fleeting, fallen world has to offer. In that respect, Ecclesiastes is one of the most heavenly-minded books of the Bible. This life is unfulfilling. The world is not enough. It longs for more than life "under the sun" can furnish–even at its best. In that respect, Ecclesiastes is a preparation for the Gospel.

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