Suppose extraterrestrials were sent to Earth to figure out what we are doing here. What are we trying to accomplish? What is the meaning of all this? They blast through the cosmos, streak through our atmosphere and eventually set down… at Disney World. After carefully observing people riding hollow logs through water flumes, lining up to shake hands with a large, stuffed mouse, and listening to “It’s a Small World After All” for the umpteenth time, they might be a bit confused about the meaning of life, here on Earth. But what if they put down in Syria? At Google headquarters? Or Congress? It would be pretty tough, as an extraterrestrial, to figure it out.
But that is what we are! Where were you before you were born? Wherever it was, it wasn’t here. Did you ask to come here or just sort of show up? Why? After you began to figure out about crying, and what your hands and feet could do, eventually your questions became more sophisticated. But in large measure, your questions were essentially, “What’s going on here? Why am I here, anyway? What’s the meaning of all this?” At first, you expect your parents and teachers to give you the answers. Soon enough, it becomes apparent that they, like you, just showed up here, too. And are still looking for the answers.
There’s a great book about one man’s quest for the answers. Not just any man but a guy with all the intellectual resources, political power, and finances to give it a real go. He wrote the book, Ecclesiastes, in the Bible. The next several posts will be spent rooting around in some of his conclusions. It would be good, before we begin, for you to read through this short book to get your own feel for it. It is one of the more troubling books in the Bible, one which has had a wide variety of interpretations. You can add your own to the pile.
Spoiler alert: Our expert concludes:
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
Teaser: He doesn’t leave it there…
Check it out and then come back here in a couple days.