Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon, a king who appeared to “have it all”—even the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Yet, near the end of his reign (possibly around 931 BC), Solomon wrote of the hardships that resulted from his poor choices. The Hebrew word translated as “vanity” expresses the futility of seeking to be satisfied apart from God. The panorama of earthly ambitions, when pursued as ends in themselves, produces nothing but emptiness.
Have you ever asked where this “vanity” came from? Did our Lord Jesus Christ create the world in its present flawed state? Certainly not! God says of His marvelous creation in Genesis 1:31, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.”
So, where did things go wrong? Adam disobeyed God’s command, and in response God said, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17). The apostle Paul emphasized this consequence of sin when he wrote, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope” (Romans 8:20). The King James Version uses “vanity” in place of “futility,” indicating that the cycle of death, decay, and “in vainness” started with sin.
Even believers must deal with this vanity. In this fallen world, our life is balanced between two extremes. First, we acknowledge that God provides this gift of life. Ecclesiastes 2:24 tells us, “Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.” On the other hand, embracing life has limitations. Our lives are temporary—“For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
How are we to live in light of this reality? We enjoy the gifts of God, including joy in eternal salvation in Christ, the fellowship of believers, our loving family and friends, the beauty of our Lord’s created world, and every blessing that’s a part of this life. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
In the last chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon exhorts us to enjoy the gift of life, keeping our eyes and hearts focused on the Giver. He urges us to fear God, keep His commandments, and “remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
At the Institute for Creation Research, our mission is to glorify Jesus Christ by giving Him full credit as Creator. We’re grateful for your prayers and support as our ministry proclaims the truth of biblical creation to a fallen world.
Although this earth will pass away, we can rejoice in the faithfulness of our God. In Him, we have the ultimate gift of life—now and for eternity.
* Dr. Morse is Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his D.Min. from The Master’s Seminary.