Worldviews - Part 4

This is a six part series on worldviews by guest blogger Frank Allan.

Worldviews

The windows through which we interpret the meaning of our lives

Part 4. The Worldviews of Solomon in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes

From a practical viewpoint there are two books in the Bible, written by Solomon, that express the reality of theism in contrast to agnosticism and atheism. His Book of Proverbs gives us practical help and direction for our lives based on the fear of God. That is, God is a holy and just God who created us in His image and holds us accountable for how we live our lives. In Ecclesiastes we are given the experience and reasoning of man as he views everything “under the sun” with little reference to God or His instruction. The writer appears to be without hope, or a personal relationship with God. In the writer’s mind, God is there but he is silent. This is essentially deism which eventually descends to naturalism and nihilism.  It is not that God is not recognized but that He is not seen as giving meaning to life. The contrast in these two worldviews can be illustrated by comparing the texts of each book. In Proverbs we read, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7 ESV).  In Ecclesiastes, the futility of pursuing value in any place other than in God is described, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?”(Ecclesiastes 1:2-3 ESV) If anyone had opportunity to find significance in worldly pursuits such as secular wisdom, sexual pleasure, music, real estate and entertainment it was Solomon. He did pursue them vigorously but in each pursuit he concluded “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

It is clear from comparing these two books that there are two different worldviews in the mind of the writer. These two frameworks of thought characterize the thinking of a number of thinking people today.  There are those who reference their lives to God and the Bible and those who do not believe God is relevant to their daily life and live as if He does not exist. There are also those who go further, who do not believe God exists and that man is the measure of all things. The separation between these positions is widening in our culture. Many people raised in a Christian environment are abandoning their Christian heritage and becoming religious “nones”. These people see themselves a non-religious and certainly non-Christian. In fact, some are open to “anything but Christian.”  They do not want the Christian God on any terms. Their god may be in the closed system of their “box” but there is no god beyond the reality of the cosmos itself. Christianity, in their opinion, is yesterday’s religion. They believe that Christians are bigots whose ideas have no place in the public square. Christian thought and secular thought, in Western democracies, are at war.  This war is fought on a single front with two opposing sides – those who believe in a personal God and to whom they are accountable, against those who do not believe in God and who are not accountable to anyone or anything, other than human laws which can be challenged and changed according to popular opinion.

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