Thing is, the nature of love demands a universe where evil is possible because free creatures made for love must have the freedom to choose not to love but to do evil in its stead. But to avoid blame, guilt, and responsibility we must then blame God, or deny Him/Her altogether, because we don’t want to look ourselves in the face—especially since, as we are told over and over these days, humans are not fundamentally flawed in their nature. Nevertheless, as we have just observed, in all the greatest evils inflicted on the human race throughout its history, it was other humans doing the accusing and condemning, then wielding the swords, guns, and machinery of destruction one upon another, expending incalculable energy and creative imagination to find new and better ways to pile evil upon evil and body upon body in the name of vengeance, justice, or plain old avarice, power-hunger, and blood-lust.
Kohelet’s diagnosis of the boomer age (“too many dreams, aimless activities and words”) would be no different for the generations following with a whole new list for “authentically self-actualizing” themselves and their potential, and denouncing the evil establishment which perpetrates and perpetuates the current world-crisis of climate change. His prescription for “getting real” (really just staying real) is ultra-simple and ultra-relevant, then and now and through all the centuries in between: “God takes no pleasure in fools…
Solomon-Kohelet does not defend the Creator, even though he continually acknowledges Him/Her. Instead, he observes (very dispassionately, like a modern social scientist) the world as it is with all its apparently random outcomes. The “good and just” sometimes suffer evil and calamity in the same way as fools and criminals; the unjust and wicked too often seem to live easy, fat, comfortable lives while the innocent, the good, and the just suffer. He never facilely resorts to blaming God for this state of affairs, nor does he ever mention a ‘devil’, a demon, or any other supernatural entity as an instigator; such things just are. But he still has something to say as to why they are as they are, and his insights are right on target to this day.
the fundamental missing link in any hope for our quest is to find, to go back to, the only worthy and reliable starting point—the Creator and the nature of what He/She has made. And, from there, to confess, to agree, that what He/She has done, which reflects His/Her inevitable nature, is “unfathomable from beginning to end”.
Having acquired everything wealth, power, and ambition could give him, he finds it empty. Yet, as he predicted, three thousand years later we still find these pursuits to be the main goal of life for masses of folk all over the world. Granted, most people do not usually chase these goals on the same scale as Solomon (although the several hundred wealthiest people on Planet Earth today could probably directly relate to a great deal of what he said), but from the USA to China, India, and Kenya, people are still seeking “more and better” of whatever peculiar portion of Solomon’s universal lust for ever more has “turned their crank”. All modern economic theory is built on this covetousness.
The one (very important) difference with the typical post-modern seeker is that the ‘Teacher’ simply declares that there is a Creator. Yet even assuming that there is a God, the whole business of existence still seems meaningless when we get down to the nitty-gritty of what life is like for most of us. As we have seen repeatedly in this blog, multitudes today reject a Creator as a starting point, thus making their quest for meaning that much harder, perhaps even truly and finally “meaningless” and “futile” in the spirit of Solomon’s opening thrust.
This hunger, this innate predisposition for eternity which lives in the very core of our being, cannot, indeed will not, be denied. When we deny it, what is becomes horribly ugly.
the reality of our global human society and current path of social evolution is that most of our major ideas and governing practical paradigms have emerged from the West’s specific ethos rooted in Judeo-Christian-Greco-Roman soil. It may not be politically correct to admit it, and it may be debated and denied among the academic hoi-polloi, but the human ecology and landscape of the 21st century is as it is because Rome and Judeo-Christianity have made it that way.
The legend and mystique of Rome is still much with us, both “late and soon”. As the West sleepwalks its way into abandoning and losing its heritage, the ghosts of the Caesars and the Eagles haunt us still.
In Europe in the 1500s, the result of the polarization of Roman Catholic rulers facing off against the minority of those who had become supporters of Protestant views was to be what we have come to call a series of “religious wars” lasting into the mid-1600s. Imperial Rome had had many civil wars, and now its successor civilization in the West would be engulfed by a massive one centred on whether the spiritual descendant of ancient Rome, the Roman Catholic (Imperial) Church should still hold sway.