Deeper than the Incongruity

In Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth struggled with a perceived gap between that which he believed and imagined and that which he observed and experienced. Much of human experience seems incongruous with itself, and Qoheleth sought understanding. Qoheleth initially concluded that the incongruity meanth that life was a pursuit of futility and hopelessness. Life is the “vanity of vanities”, hevel, he claimed. Yet his final resolution of his study was that beyond this perceived hevel is the security and hope of God the Creator. The despairs of this world, its fleeting pains and pleasures, drive men closer to God.

Ecclesiastes is one of the proofs of the truth of the Bible. C.S. Lewis noted in Mere Christianity that Christianity is unique in that the Bible does not seek to answer every element of every question. The answers exist and a logical order exists for all things, but we are not necessarily privy to those answers and the Bible does not pretend that we are. This stands in contrast to the utterly human trait of seeking to explain every jot to the detrimental avoidance of the glaring truth. Ecclesiastes, and its canonicity, acknowledges our humanity and the experience thereof for what it is rather than what we would prefer it to be. In depicting our convoluted perceptions it depicts the frank reality. Our emotional extremes are tempered by the reminder that the limited shades of our experience have a time but that time is fleeting. Our understanding of God and the universe He created is not as definite as we instinctively want. Our faith must be rooted in deeper truths.

The root of the incongruity between that which is and that which should be is sin. The fall of man and, with him, creation, has set us and our world at odds with what we feel deeply in our souls to be the true order. The incongruity, the void of rightness, is what can only be fulfilled by God. Ecclesiastes, in exploring human perception of this ultimate incongruity, serves to bridge the gap between our flounderings and God’s offer of redemption.

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