Light in a dark world
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
Vanity is meaninglessness. Emptiness. Apathy. Our world is full of these curses, that blight the human psyche and render us useless and hopeless. How can we live with a hopeless outlook? What kind of teachers in our collective social mindset, inflicted theses ideas on the precious people of this world, that infiltrate all our communities and social settings? Is it a true and accurate philosophy, that it is all hopeless, or are there other things to consider? This is the point of this incredible book of Ecclesiastes.
The word “vanity” is used three times here in this verse. The pointlessness of life is going to be explained in this text. We are going to examine what is meant by this word and related words. We are going to see the effect of this vanity and the outcomes of meaninglessness. It will not be pretty, as we can gather. For the way this idea is being presented here, it is a meaninglessness beyond meaninglessness. It is utter futility. Everything about life is completely pointless. The reasons we do things is of no consequence and not worth spending the time to think about what we are doing and why we do it. Apathy takes hold of the human psyche.
The fact that we die is a key element in this discourse and adds to the pointlessness of what people do in their lives. We are born, we live a life and we die. If life is too difficult, it is hard to carry on. This way of thinking has deeply infiltrated Western philosophy in recent history. Philosophers have run to the logical conclusion when we consider that this world has no God, no point and no future. It has moulded our society and many live for the “now” with physical comfort and success as the chief motivation for doing what they do. We have lost much in terms of morality and social concern for other people. This is the logical conclusion of this book and is studied for different aspects through eleven chapters.
Only in chapter twelve do we reach the most important point. The Creator is real and without Him, it is all pointless. A world without God, is a monstrous creation, and it cannot sustain the spiritual aspect of the human person. Without God we are lost.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace…”
Many in our world are just dead men walking. Their bodies are alive, but the soul is dead to God, and a kind of, hopelessness is the result. We live for self and feed the monster of self within and we get worse and worse – more and more flesh orientated and further and further away from God. It affects us as individual people and as a social group too, families, friends and the wider society. Everything is corruption without the Lord. Only the refining work of the Spirit of God can stop the rot in the the human heart and community.
We keep goodness in our minds then goodness will come out.
If we let this philosophy in to our mindset, apathy will result. That only leads to futility of purpose and fallen outcome in our lives. Many turn to other “spiritual” ideas to try to find a meaning, but unless it is “real” and “true” it will never suffice for us. People were made for God and without Him, it really is pointless. We were made of enjoy Him forever and be righteous creations that bring joy everywhere. We have come a long way from that exalted position, but there is a way back to God for those who seek it and seek God. We don’t need to walk in the dark, for the light has come and the darkness is dispelled.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it.”
Jesus, the Word is our hope in the darkness of this world, and our Light that makes us right with God and full of the hope, for the kingdom has come.