At the ver beginning of Ecclesiastes, our author says that “all is vanity”.
Many today interpret this work as Solomon telling us that, without God all is vanity. However, the introduction to this book simply states that “all is vanity”, no qualifications. Indeed, when Solomon is apparently writing this book, he has already come to the conclusion he reaches at the very end; he is not in the process of coming to that conclusion. So, one would expect that hewould have started out his book with something like “all is vanity without God” instead of simply stating that “all is vanity”, period.
Interestingly, it appears that our author makes references to God (and, implicitly, a knowledge of Him) throughout this book, so, even when he says “all is vanity” or as he is “experimenting”, as it were, in life, he does not seem to be without some knowledge of God.
Perhaps our author means, even if we know ther is a God and even have some (perhaps imperfect) knowledge about Him, we must look higher than just the material aspects of life. Still, even after he has discovered this, Solomon still seems to say that “all is vanity”, pure and simple.
How do we reconcile all this? Can this book really be said to be about life being in vain without God, or, at least, without a proper understanding of His Ways?