Does Ecclesiastes Contradict Other Bible Passages?
Reading Ecclesiastes can be a challenge because it seems to teach things that contradict other portions of the Bible. The writer says things like, “For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 3:19 (NKJV)). The resolution to this puzzle is found by understanding the vantage point where the observer/writer is standing. And he has told us twenty-seven times – “Under the sun!” In other words many of his observations are taken from the vantage point of a man living without reference to heaven, which is above the sun. He is looking at things without the bigger picture of eternity, the Eternal God, and the immortality of the soul. Yet, in his struggle between the unbelieving worldview of “under the sun” and the believing worldview of God over all, including the sun, he finally comes to the conclusion, “Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Eccles. 12:6-7 (NKJV)). And this, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NKJV)).
The writer of Ecclesiastes comes out of the struggle of opposing worldviews as a believer. In the final analysis there is nothing in Ecclesiastes that teaches contrary to the immortality of the soul, of eternity, of God’s goodness, and of certain accountability in a final judgment. In the end he comes out with a Christian Worldview!
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