Vanities and evils
I’ve learned much of the tension we experience in life is due to the fact we - humans - and creation have goals that don’t align. While we awake with each new day attempting to chase pursuits, succeed, accomplish and progress, God’s creation is stuck in a cycle of perpetual futility. Futility can be defined as the fact of having no effect or of achieving nothing. And God’s creation has no concern for pursuits or progress. Its chief aim is to simply exist in a state that allows humanity to survive. This truth Solomon knew all too well.
The entire book of Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s personal memoir on the realities of life. The realities of living in a world that ultimately deliver no gain, no matter how much you toil.
Ecclesiastes 2:11 (ESV)
Solomon was David’s son and successor and he was blessed overabundantly. This was a man who had access to any and everything you could think of, yet at one point he found himself unsatisfied with life itself. This is akin to training your entire life to climb the tallest mountain in the world only to be disappointed once you’ve finally reached the top. Solomon recognized that in the end, no matter how wise, foolish, wealthy, poor, righteous or sinful one may be, we all have the same ending. We return to dust. This vexed him so much that he found himself hating life.
Ecclesiastes 2:15–17 (ESV)
Realize this is a king appointed by God, blessed with an incredible amount of riches and wisdom to surpass anyone ever created. How can one be so close to God, so blessed by God, and still find themselves hating life? Not only was Solomon distraught by the end game which is death, he also found himself frustrated over the lack of real control or ability to impact the world after he’s gone.
Solomon came to the realization that everything we work for could be laid to waste the moment we’re gone. He considered this a great evil (Ecclesiastes 2:21). To make matters worse there are also times when God blesses us with wealth, possessions and honor but then doesn’t give us time to enjoy them. Instead, a complete stranger gets that pleasure (Ecclesiastes 6:1–2). This is considered a grievous evil by Solomon.
I believe if we’re being honest, life in and of itself is a horrible affair. Nothing about it is fair or equally balanced. And the truth is, it should be this way. Why? Because life is cursed and that’s the point. A cursed creation can only support life in a way that is meaningless. A curse exists to render what was once purposeful to be crippled and robbed of its original glory. What’s left is a distortion of what once was. Because of the curse creation now operates in complete futility.
Curse of futility
The true beauty and purpose of all life has been met with a curse. And while we’re familiar with the ill effects of a fallen world many of us are not familiar with the story behind creation’s futility. Romans 8 paints this picture for us. It gives us clarity concerning the futility of all creation. The reality is God didn’t just curse creation because He was an angry Father. Remember, this curse was necessary so Adam and Eve could live outside of eternal life. But with that curse God subjected all of creation to a state of futility. All of creation was essentially put into an endless cycle of life which is currently bound by corruption.
These verses are critical to understanding why life is the way it is and so you need to fully grasp what Romans is telling us. When God cursed creation He did it while thinking of the future. Not just any future, but our future. Creation is currently in bondage due to corruption but also subjected in the hope that it will eventually be set free so it may obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. In short, one day creation will be set free due to our redemptive glorification. Our glorification is made possible by God Himself through Christ our Lord, our Redeemer.
In this current age not only do you and I groan over what Solomon preached but so does all of creation. Yes, even the silly trees! All that God has created - to include us - groan together. And while we groan we patiently wait for adoption as sons (children) of God. This adoption is humanity redeemed, saved through Christ alone. He is our hope! He is our Glorifier.
When God cursed creation He put it on ice for you and me. His goal has always been to give us a perfect and beautiful creation to steward. His goal has always been for us to walk with and glorify Him. His goal, which He is committed to, is to give us Eden. This perfect utopia that was lost, God is awaiting to still give it to us. God simply will not allow the sins or failure of humanity to stop Him from delivering this wonderful gift to His children. God - does - not - love - like - us! He loves better than us.
Joy in God
I want to leave you with one last note. Life is full of vanity. All that we do, ultimately we do in vain. We must accept this truth but know it is for a reason and only for a season. However, that doesn’t mean life can’t be fulfilling, purposeful or full of joy as we live it. The vanity of life should quicken our spirits to the realization that we need God in order to live a life of meaning. A lesson we are all learning the hard way due to The Fall. Without God life is utterly meaningless.
I don’t want you to be discouraged with the realities of life despite living in a fallen world. Instead, you should be hopeful and able to see life more clearly. Know that as you begin to see life for what it truly is you are not alone. There is purpose behind the vanity. Never forget our lives are precious to God and He makes no mistakes. And He is always pursuing His children.