The Story:In a strictly “under the sun” world what else is there to do but toil and eat? Men consume on themselves whatever they produce, and nothing is left over from their labors. Neither are men satisfied with this, for, having eternity in their hearts, they know inherently that they are made for something more permanent. If it were not so, if there were not some things that have more lasting value than others, what advantage would there be for a man to be wise rather than a fool? Yet, under the sun, men seem to know implicitly that wisdom is to be preferred to folly; however, they cannot account for this apart from reference to God. Solomon is trying to help his son think through the folly of seeking to enjoy life apart from God. He is answering the fool according to his folly, hoping that, by this method of “indirect” reasoning, he might help Rehoboam see and embrace the wisdom of God (Prov. 26.4, 5).
The Structure:Solomon’s method of argument here is to push the “under the sun” perspective to its logical conclusions. If you choose to live this way, you must be willing to think through all the implications of your choices according to all the presuppositions of your worldview. When you do this, Solomon says, life apart from God cannot make sense. When we are reasoning with people whose view of life excludes the God of Scripture, it is important that we cause them to look carefully and comprehensively at their own worldview – just as Solomon is doing here with his son. Since only life “under the heavens” can be made to make sense, all other worldviews are false, and can be shown to be unworkable. That may not ensure a conversion, but it should have the effect of raising hard questions that many people “under the sun” may never have faced.
How do unbelieving worldviews today answer such vital questions as: “Who am I?” “What kind of being am I?” Why am I here, and where am I going?” “What’s wrong with the world, and what can set it right again?”
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Are We Having Fun Yet?: Ecclesiastes 6,” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.