King solomon wrote vanity of vanity all is vanity (eccles) and if the wisest person in the world came to the conclusion (and was inspired by god to write this) what is the point of life? He was basicly saying every thing in life is worthless and good for nothing. Its like nothing matters in the grand schem of things.
From Bishop Frederick Justus Knetch’s book, A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture, page 261:
By these words he [Solomon] meant to say: “All earthly possessions and joys are passing and cannot make a man really happy. Only the fear and love of God can bring happiness on earth and joy in eternity.” We should not therefore set our hearts on the good things of this earth, but should strive with all our hearts after those which are eternal.
Exactly, there is no point.
Except for “the one thing”.
Jesus told Martha, few things are needed, indeed only one.
Perfect Todd. Just perfect.
In the meditative form of scripture reading, we ought to pray and meditate when we are reading.
I guess I’m trying to say that this scripture grabs me and makes me think about how profound a statement that it is.
We shouldn’t all just ditch our possessions and wealth in the trash bin, because of this verse. In Genesis we read that what God created he judged to be good, and some of creation very good.
So, how does what we have go from good to vanity? How does creation lose that value? and how are we to override what God has said, that creation is not good?
Perhaps the answer is also at least partially back there in Genesis, as well. The sin of Adam and Eve involved alienation, at least as it is portrayed. The fruit of the tree was alienated from God’s command about how to use it (or not use it). And, it seems then that the vanity of earthly goods is already a result of a prior alienation of those goods from God.
There is a type of scripture study that is called psychological criticism, or something like that. This is where the text is analyzed from a psychological perspective. That would seem to be a good thing to apply to such a text, to look beneath the surface of the speaker – Solomon – and to discuss the psychological aspects of his conclusion and method of expression. A superficial glance seems to suggest that Solomon is bothered by this, much more than simply being a conclusion from his analysis of living.
And, there is a psychology, too, of the readers. What are they supposed to learn from this wisdom of Solomon? People then as now spend a lot of time grinding out an existence, and an accumulation of wealth would seem to be their obvious goal and something that they believed in, for various reasons. Yes, these things might have a big impact on his listerners or readers – even as someone hand-picked by God to build a Temple for worship and offering and praise of God. What does it possibly say about the proper attitude towards that sacred dwelling place of God?
Is Solomon, who might have been the Donald Trump of his day, is unhappy, then what does that bode for His chosen people?
Even as the verses were quoted above, they were formatted as poetry, as a large part of the Old Testament is. What does the wisdom and poetry suggest as the purpose of this scripture? And, beneath everything, is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
I don’t really know what I’m saying, but just that there are many threads to pull on these verses.
A large part of the book of Ecclesiasticus sings the praises of wisdom - and exhorts all men to seek it. So THAT at least is one thing in this world that is worth pursuing!
Chapter 29, also, praises those who help their neighbours - so charity is worth pursuing, and Chapter 40:17 is worth noting: “Goodness will never be cut off, and justice endures forever …” and he spends the rest of the chapter detailing all the good things humankind has to delight in.
Consider Solomon’s whole story and consider where this reflection fits. As a young man, he asked God for the wisdom to rule his people well - God was pleased with his noble request, and granted him not only wisdom beyond human ability but also the wealth that he had chosen not to request.
Later in life, Solomon fell from grace because he married many women from pagan cultures, and allowed them to practice their pagan religions within the Kingdom (this was expressly forbidden by the Law).
But Solomon still had the gift of wisdom - so he was fully aware of the emptiness of his life - that he had everything money could buy, but not the only thing that matters - a relationship with God.
No wonder he sounds so dismal!
Peter Kreeft has written a book:
Three Philosophies of Life -
Ecclesiastes: Life as Vanity
Job: Life as Suffering
Song of Songs: Life as Love.
in which he compares these.
It’'s been a long time since I read it, but as I recall he sets forth Ecclesiastes as the epitome of human philosophy. It takes the meaning of human life as far as one can without invoking God; and finds it inadequate.
Another Good Post!
Agape training 101 :
love >> Love
obedience >> Obedience
Using those simple themes makes everything much clearer !
Always start at the beggining.
I have to disagree. There are two kinds of wisdom: this world’s wisdom, and the wisdom of God, which is not from this world.
Paul says somewhere in the Bible * that His [God’s] wisdom is madness to this world. So:
God’s wisdom ≠ Satan’s [this world’s] “wisdom”
Therefore, we are pursuing His wisdom. His wisdom if from Heaven, not this world. And as a result, we are not pursuing anything from this world, but from Heaven. There is a difference between pursuing it in this world and pursuing it from this world. I will explain. We are in the world now. So if we search things that are not from this world, but from Heaven, then we are His sons. If we pursue worldly things, then we are Satan’s children, which will perish in fire. If we are in this world but pursue things that are not from this world, but Heaven, then we are His sons. If we are in this world, and pursue things from this world [e.g, gold, worldly wisdom, etc.] then we are the sons of the devil. It is impossible for us at this moment not to be in the world, but it is possible for us to pursue things not from this world. By doing so, then we give testimony that we are not from this world, but we are His sons/daughters.
By saying from this world, I say pertaining to this world. We are in this world, but we do not pertain to it, but to God, which is not from this world. This world doesn’t know Him, but we know Him, so we are not from this world. There is nothing from this world that can bring real benefit.
Of course, now that I reread your post, I realize that I misread it. In the way you expressed yourself, you are agreeing with me. What I posted would be valid if you would have said that it is worthy to pursue this world’s wisdom. I know you didn’t, but I just want to express my opinion regarding this world’s wisdom.
Solomon was right, everything from this world is vanity; it is in vane. I haven’t seen yet one thing from this world that is worth pursuing. Please tell me something that originates in this world, and it is worth fighting for.*
=jpk1313;6209005]King solomon wrote vanity of vanity all is vanity (eccles) and if the wisest person in the world came to the conclusion (and was inspired by god to write this) what is the point of life? He was basicly saying every thing in life is worthless and good for nothing. Its like nothing matters in the grand schem of things.
***The message here is clear.
Life is NOT for living; rather life is for dying. Allow me to explain.
Everything happens for a [singular] purpose.
Things happen for precise reasons.
God Created the Universe and places man in it for His ONE Precise reason.
God Created us in a precise manner, with precise Gifts, for a singular reason.
Humanity has been given a soul, a mind, an intellect and a freewill for a precise reason
The Bible tells us precisely what that reason is and it is confirmed in th Teaching of the CC.
Romans 14:11* "for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
Isaiah 43: 7, 21 “every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.” and “the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.”
God who knows all without necessarly causing it; is a God taking GREAT RISK. God creates us for a precise reason as expresed above, but permits us to mis-use, to deny God’s soverignity over us, to reject God and Good. To freely choose instead evil.
The summation of this book and its profound message, is that LIFE in fact, does have “no meaning” if we fail to recogonize why it is given to us, and confom our wills to God’s Divine Will and desire for us. For any other decision “it would have been better to not have been born at all and quite literally; Life Has No Meaning.”
The Baltimore Catechism asked early in the book.
Why Did God Cretate us?
REPLY: “To Know, Love, amd Serve Him in this Life, so that we can be happy with Him in Eternal Life.”**
"I also thought, “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath ; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” ECC 3:18-21
Why is Solomon agnostic about heaven and say that man has no advantage over the animal? Also he says animals have souls and I thought that the Church taught that animals have no souls.
Animals have souls, according to most Catholic teachers, because a soul is, by definition, a principle of life, but not immortal souls. The concept of heaven was not revealed at this point, possibly because heaven was not yet availablle to be realized before the Christ event, and all that was known was Sheol, and details were absent. Even so, we still don’t “know” that heaven exists except by faith because Truth Himself said so.
Ok I understand that heaven is a later revelation but God’s revelation to Solomon seems to allow Solomon to speak an untruth e.g . that man has no advantage over the animals when in fact man with an immortal soul does have an advantage? Also Solomon seems to be aware of the idea of heaven because he refers to the possibility of man’s spirit going to the heavens. So it sounds like some people already believed that man’s spirit went to the heavens and the animals to the dust but Solomon wasn’t convinced? I am finding it hard to get my head around all this.
How does the quote begin? “I also thought…” This is a presentation of a wise man’s best thinking, not of a teaching. We learn from this that, apart from God’s revelation, man cannot come to the whole truth, even about himself.