Solomon Against Modernity
One of the reasons why it's been so long since my last post is because I'm currently entrenched in my first year of teaching high schoolers. It's been a wonderful but busy process thus far and writing has had to take a bit of a back seat (sorry Josh!). That said, I wanted to put up a quick post about something that I've been thinking about a lot lately.
I have the opportunity to talk to my students regularly about "worldview" issues seeing that I teach high school history at a Christian school. One of the things that I confront my students with regularly is their modern assumptions about the way the world operates. Let me rephrase things a bit.
Modern man assumes a level of certainty about himself that demonstrates the height of pride and hubris of the modern world. According to the "Enlightened" philosophers, rational man is capable of knowing (with absolute certainty) pretty much anything he/she puts their mind to. For the most part, modern Christians carry this assumption. But is this anthropological assumption in line with what the Bible teaches about man.
The answer is "no." The Bible gives a very different picture of what kind of creature God has created in man.
Granted, the Bible certainly teaches that man are rational beings. In the same what that God creates and judges his creation ("it is good") so too man has the ability to pass judgement (1 Corinthians 6:3). But the Bible does NOT teach that man is (in any sense) omniscient. Rather, the Bible teaches that man is quite limited, especially in our ability to know metaphysical realities.
There is one passage in particular that has stood out to me in this regards lately. It comes from one of the most blatantly anti-modern books of the Bible, Ecclesiastes.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Many Christians naively assume that Ecclesiastes is some type of nihilism. This is far from the truth. Rather, the wisdom of Solomon in Ecclesiastes is that man is not God. Man can find out things like the water cycle and the movement of the sun in the sky. But, at the end of the day, we can give no answer as to why God made the world this way. For Solomon this is not a problem. For Solomon, the solution is humility. We must submit to the place that God put us in His creation. Modernity refuses to do this. The Modern man must be either God or meaningless matter. The Modern man ignores the wisdom of Solomon:
I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13)
Food for thought.